Does the Constitution Mean Anything Anymore?
By Brent Smith
January 21, 2019
This story goes back about seven months, but it’s still as relevant today as it was then, and will become more so as we get closer to the 2020 elections. It’s about a lawsuit, with a judgment that struck down a Kansas state voter I.D. law.
I recall reading about it but didn’t give it much more than a passing 'tisk-tisk' at the time. Somehow it recently resurfaced. I thought it was something new so I read it judiciously. And that’s when it hit me. As I’m a "States' Rights" guy, I don’t know why it didn’t then, but it sure struck a chord this time around.
In June 2018, Reuters reported that “A federal judge struck down a Kansas law requiring proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in a decision on Monday that could make voter registration easier in the state in the run-up to November mid-term elections. The ruling ended a two-year legal battle in which Democrats argued that such ID laws targeted voters who typically support their party, such as the young and minorities. Republican proponents of the law said it was necessary to ensure the integrity of elections.”
Yes, the Dems do have a point. What they appear to be saying is that the young and minorities are just too darn stupid and/or lazy to obtain the proper I.D. necessary to register. It sounds harsh, but how can we conclude anything else? According to the Democrat Party, their voters are just that stupid. It’s a wonder they can find their way out of bed in the morning, much less to the polls.
At the center of this Democrat firestorm was/is one of the Kansas state law’s most adamant supporters, Kris Kobach, Secretary of State for Kansas and failed candidate for Governor. If there is a political figure almost as hated by Dems as Donald Trump, it is he.
That’s enough back story.
Regarding the lawsuit, it appears to me to be complete manure. The Eleventh Amendment clearly prevents this action from being heard in a federal court, in order to protect a State’s sovereign immunity.
Now I am not a judge or lawyer, but I can read, and as far as I can see, this federal judge is ruling against a legally passed Kansas state law which means, by default, the defendant in the case must be the State of Kansas, not Kris Kobach.
The Eleventh Amendment was ratified in 1798 in order to overrule the Supreme Court’s decision that a South Carolina citizen could sue the state of Georgia for money damages. [Chisholm v. Ga., 2 U.S. 419 (1793)] This decision caused uproar amongst the states because it impinged on the sovereignty of the state, which was supposed to have been retained in the Constitution. Shortly thereafter, the amendment was passed.
The Eleventh Amendment:
But some would say that the suit was brought by two Kansas state residents, which it was, so the Amendment would not apply.
Yes, originally, the Eleventh Amendment only barred citizens of other states suing a state in a judicial branch jurisdiction, but it was extended to include residents of the same state as well through the Hans v. Louisiana case.
In other words, a state may not be sued in federal court by its own citizen(s) or a citizen(s) of another state, unless the state consents to jurisdiction. A federal court cannot even hear the case if a state is the defendant.
So, please tell me how this case could be filed in a federal district court, bypassing the Eleventh Amendment and subsequent court precedence, and allowed to proceed, much less stand – because I just don’t get it.
This appears to me to be just another case of the federal judiciary overstepping its authority.
Brent Smith, "The Common Constitutionalist," offers not just conservative commentary and analysis, but a blend of politics, history, arts, science, and humor. Whoever said conservatives aren’t funny? Yeah, I know…most people. Brent is a contributing writer for numerous online publications. When he is not burning the midnight oil writing his insightful commentaries, he is raising his two teenage sons to be patriots and Conservatives.
Visit Brent Smith's website at www.commonconstitutionalist.com