On Dec. 9 the news media reported that Kansas and Missouri were among the 17 states that joined Texas in a lawsuit presented to the Supreme Court challenging the presidential election in four states.
The question is WHY, and under whose authority was this done?
The background: Texas appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its challenge to election procedures in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia that Texas says differed from the requirements of those states’ statutes.
“From the brief, it looks like a fella begging for a pardon filed a PR stunt rather than a lawsuit — as all of its assertions have already been rejected by federal courts and Texas’ own solicitor general isn’t signing on,” Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse, one of the few GOP lawmakers to acknowledge Biden’s victory, said in a statement Thursday (Wichita Eagle Dec. 12, 2020).
Kansas representatives Ron Estes and Roger Marshall joined Missouri representatives Sam Graves, Blaine Leutkemeyer, Jason Smith, and Ann Wagner who signed on to the amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. They joined seventeen Republican attorneys general and 121 other members of Congress and President Trump in urging the Supreme Court to throw out millions of votes in four battleground states based on claims of fraud — claims not supported by any evidence.
Frankly, we were embarrassed to learn that our states were included in this questionable (we are being charitable here) lawsuit. It is apparent that Attorneys General Derek Schmidt (Kan.) and Eric Schmitt (MO.) were acting on their own to engage our states in the Texas lawsuit that — even to a private citizen — has questionable merit. The same can be said of our members of Congress who supported the lawsuit
There are two reasons the Texas claim is questionable: (1) The U. S. Constitution gives states the sole power to conduct elections, and (2) the Kansas and Missouri Attorneys Generals’ responsibilities are limited to their respective states. Why are they meddling with the elections in other states?
Article 1, Section 4 of the United States Constitution states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof . . . ” The same applies to all federal elections.
The Tenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution clearly provides individual states the authority to govern their own affairs: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” There is no provision for one state to govern another.
Each state’s government sets its election laws, and each of the states listed in the Texas lawsuit independently declared that their elections followed their laws and procedures and noted no irregularities despite court challenges in each of them.
The job of the state Attorney General is to serve their state — not other states. While the Kansas Attorney General’s role is not defined in detail in the Kansas Constitution, the current website outlines the job of the AG: “The Office of the Attorney General is established by the Kansas Constitution. As the state’s chief legal officer and top law enforcement official, the Attorney General performs a range of duties as prescribed by state law and legal precedents.” (https://ag.ks.gov/about-the-office)
The Kansas Attorney General’s office on Dec. 11 issued the following press release justifying Derek Schmidt’s decision: “As I said Wednesday, Kansas filed a brief in this case, as we have in others, seeking an answer to an important and potentially recurring federal constitutional question involving the role of states in federal elections. My office also received more than 15,000 calls and emails urging us to ask the Supreme Court to hear the Texas arguments. Today the Supreme Court decided not to become involved in the 2020 election, and the Court’s decision means it is time to put this election behind us.”
In other words, the brief he filed was a waste of time, and as “the state’s chief legal officer and top law enforcement official,” Mr. Schmidt, all attorneys general, and elected officials should be guided by their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, their state constitutions, and the laws in their states — not by the enticement of political opportunity.
The way we hold these elected officials accountable is through our vote.