Biden executive order to boost Democratic voter turnout faces Supreme Court challenge

 April 26, 2024

Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania are asking the Supreme Court to let them challenge a sweeping executive order from President Biden that could tip the scales of the 2024 election. 

Executive Order 14019 seeks to lower "barriers to voting" through controversial partnerships with state, local, and tribal groups.

The actions covered by the order would include organized voter registration efforts targeting people in federal public housing and welfare programs, said Erick Kaardal, the lawyer for the challengers.

Biden's election EO challenged

The dispute is part of a wider battle about who gets to decide the rules of elections - an increasingly contentious issue as the nation grows ever more divided.

The Pennsylvania lawmakers say Biden is clearly stepping on the authority of state legislatures over elections as outlined in the Constitution.

"Each individual legislator has a right to protect ‘their constitutional duty to craft the rules governing federal elections,’" the petition states.

"Members of the executive branch should not be permitted to strip state legislators of their Constitutional rights — representative rights of the people."

The lawsuit cites the Elections Clause, which says the "times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof," unless Congress overrides.

The lawmakers also point to the Electors Clause, which says that "each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors."

High stakes

Biden's order directs federal agencies to "protect and promote the exercise of the right to vote, eliminate discrimination and other barriers to voting, and expand access to voter registration and accurate election information."

While Biden frames this as an innocent effort to make voting easier, many see a cynical campaign to boost Democratic turnout using federal power.

For example, the order directs the Department of Housing to organize voter registration drives in 3,000 public housing units. The order pushes the Department of Education to do the same at state schools, which of course are populated with young liberals.

The challengers argue Congress never authorized Biden to do any of this, but a lower court judge found the individual legislators lacked standing "to bring a challenge to an action that allegedly injured the legislature as a whole.”

The petitioners are asking for standing to challenge Biden's order, which they have blasted as an illegal power grab to tip the scales in Pennsylvania, a crucial swing state.

"The outcome of this case could determine who holds the White House," Stewart Whitson, senior director of federal affairs at the Foundation for Government Accountability, told Fox News Digital.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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