States have no power to regulate federal elections

Discussion in 'Politics' started by gekaap, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. gekaap
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    The provisions in the Constitution governing federal elections confirm the Framers' intent that States lack power to add qualifications. The Framers feared that the diverse interests of the States would undermine the National Legislature, and thus they adopted provisions intended to minimize the possibility of state interference with federal elections. For example, to prevent discrimination against federal electors, the Framers required in Art. I, §2, cl. 1, that the qualifications for federal electors be the same as those for state electors. As Madison noted, allowing States to differentiate between the qualifications for state and federal electors "would have rendered too dependent on the State governments that branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone." Similarly, in Art. I, §4, cl. 1, though giving the States the freedom to regulate the "Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections," the Framers created a safeguard against state abuse by giving Congress the power to "by Law make or alter such Regulations." The Convention debates make clear that the Framers' overriding concern was the potential for States' abuse of the power to set the "Times, Places and Manner" of elections. Madison noted that "t was impossible to foresee all the abuses that might be made of the discretionary power." Gouvernor Morris feared "that the States might make false returns and then make no provisions for new elections." When Charles Pinckney and John Rutledge moved to strike the congressional safeguard, the motion was soundly defeated. As Hamilton later noted: "Nothing can be more evident than that an exclusive power of regulating elections for the national government, in the hands of the State legislatures, would leave the existence of the Union entirely at their mercy."


    The Framers' discussion of the salary of representatives reveals similar concerns. When the issue was first raised, Madison argued that congressional compensation should be fixed in the Constitution, rather than left to state legislatures, because otherwise "it would create an improper dependence." George Mason agreed, noting that "the parsimony of the States might reduce the provision so low that . . . the question would be not who were most fit to be chosen, but who were most willing to serve."


    When the issue was later reopened, Nathaniel Gorham stated that he "wished not to refer the matter to the State Legislatures who were always paring down salaries in such a manner as to keep out of offices men most capable of executing the functions of them." Edmund Randolph agreed that "f the States were to pay the members of the Nat[ional] Legislature, a dependence would be created that would vitiate the whole System." Rufus King "urged the danger of creating a dependence on the States," and Hamilton noted that "[t]hose who pay are the masters of those who are paid." The Convention ultimately agreed to vest in Congress the power to set its own compensation.


    In light of the Framers' evident concern that States would try to undermine the National Government, they could not have intended States to have the power to set qualifications.


    The Framers were unquestionably concerned that the States would simply not hold elections for federal officers, and therefore the Framers gave Congress the power to "make or alter" state election regulations. Yet under the dissent's approach, the States could achieve exactly the same result by simply setting qualifications for federal office sufficiently high that no one could meet those qualifications. It is inconceivable that the Framers would provide a specific constitutional provision to ensure that federal elections would be held while at the same time allowing States to render those elections meaningless by simply ensuring that no candidate could be qualified for office. Given the Framers' wariness over the potential for state abuse, we must conclude that the specification of fixed qualifications in the constitutional text was intended to prescribe uniform rules that would preclude modification by either Congress or the States.


    There is further evidence of the Framers' intent in Art. 1, §5, cl. 1, which provides: "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members." That Art. I, §5 vests a federal tribunal with ultimate authority to judge a Member's qualifications is fully consistent with the understanding that those qualifications are fixed in the Federal Constitution, but not with the understanding that they can be altered by the States. If the States had the right to prescribe additional qualifications--such as property, educational, or professional qualifications--for their own representatives, state law would provide the standard for judging a candidate's eligibility.


    Federal questions are generally answered finally by federal tribunals because rights which depend on federal law should be the same everywhere and their construction should be uniform. The judging of questions concerning rights which depend on state law is not, however, normally assigned to federal tribunals. The Constitution's provision for each House to be the judge of its own qualifications thus provides further evidence that the Framers believed that the primary source of those qualifications would be federal law.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
  2. gekaap
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    Oh good, I guess everyone agrees?
     
  3. bripat9643
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    horseshit. There is no such language in the document. If you think there is, then you should have no trouble quoting it.

    ROFL! The last thing the Founding Fathers were concerned about is the states undermining the federal government. In fact, the concerns were all in the opposite direction. The were concerned about the federal government growing so strong that it overwhelmed the independence of the states.

    Unfortunately for your absurd claim, the Framers gave the federal government no such powers. Why would any state not hold elections for federal officers? How would that benefit any state doing it?

    ROFL! This "we" draws a conclusion based on nothing more than it's own biases and delusions.

    Aricle I section 5 does no such thing. It doesn't even mention any such tribunal.

    Where did you get this hokum? It's nothing but a pile of outright lies.
     
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  4. gekaap
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    gekaap BANNED

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    I did quote it. Maybe you should go read the constitution.

    This is hardly true. The AOC had proven to be a failure. The Founding Fathers recognized that a strong federal government was necessary. Under the AOC the states were too powerful and had the ability to essentially render the federal government moot. The intent in establishing a new constitution was to ensure that the states never again would have such power.

    Under the AOC it had become somewhat common for states to not send their representatives to Congress, and this prevented important business being done and crippled the federal government. You make it sound like an impossibility, but it is exactly what was happening when the framers came together for the constitutional convention, and they were determined to prevent the states from having such power ever again.

    No biases. Only necessary logical conclusions based on all information available.

    Yes it does. You should go back and read it.

    Let's just say my information and sources for interpretation are above reproach.
     
  5. Seawytch
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    Seawytch Information isnt Advocacy

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    California recently passed an Open Primary law. Any party will be able to vote in the Primary for any candidate of any party. This law does not apply to Federal Primary Elections for the President of the United States. Why?
     
  6. Charles_Main
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    Dude you are wrong and miss guided in so many ways on this one I am not even going to start. The Founders were looking for a balance between State and Federal Power. They did not want a fed so weak it was pointless, and they did not want one so strong as to render the individual states meaningless.

    Suffice to say you are right, the States can not regulate federal elections, However they are well with in their rights to regulate what you need to do to get on the ballot in their state.
     
  7. Seawytch
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    Seawytch Information isnt Advocacy

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    Are you 100% sure about that?
     
  8. paperview
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    paperview Life is Good

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    I'm thinking it's close./

    Abraham Lincoln, for example, wasn't even on the ballot in the southern states in the election of 1860.
     
  9. Seawytch
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    Seawytch Information isnt Advocacy

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    U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (93-1456), 514 U.S. 779 (1995).
     
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  10. gekaap
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    ACK! You ruined the trap! I was hoping to get more wing nuts and birthers to chime in and tell me how wrong I was and how much I don't know! LOL

    For everyone who thinks I'm crazy for what I posted, the entire OP was an excerpt from the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. Term Limits, Inc v. Thornton.
     

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