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  • Fed Forced Felon Voting: Another Leftist Assault on the Constitution

    There seems to be an almost constant effort by some members of Congress to act unconstitutionally and to push through legislation that is beyond the enumerated powers given to Congress in Article I of the Constitution.

    On Tuesday, I testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties about H.R. 3335, the Democracy Restoration Act. This bill, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), would force states to immediately restore the voting rights of convicted felons in federal elections the moment they are out of prison – even if they are on parole or probation or have not completed any of the other requirements of their sentence such as paying restitution to the victims of their crimes or the fines and civil penalties imposed on them.

    But the Fourteenth Amendment specifically gives states the ability to abridge the right to vote “for participation in rebellion, or other crime.” The Constitution also provides in Article I, Sec. 2 and in the Seventeenth Amendment that voters for members of Congress “shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” So Congress is trying to overturn constitutional authority explicitly conferred on the states twice through legislation. This is just as unconstitutional as the attempt to give the District of Columbia a voting member of Congress or to force individual Americans to buy a health insurance policy.

    Many states automatically restore the right to vote once a felon has completed his prison term. Others such as Virginia require an individual application that gives the state the ability to determine whether a felon has paid his debt to society and shown that he can be trusted to exercise the rights of full citizenship. Under this law, a terrorist like Sulayman al-Faris (i.e., John Walker Lindh) would be able to vote as soon as he is released from federal prison – so he will be able to participate in choosing the representatives of the government he wanted to help destroy.

    What is particularly revealing about this bill is that it does not say anything about the other civil rights that a felon loses such as the right to own a gun or serve on a jury or in some states, to work as a public employee. Apparently, the sponsors trust felons enough to vote but not enough to own a gun or work as a teacher or a police officer. That is an interesting comment given that the “Findings” in the bill claim that such state felon laws “serve no compelling State interest.” I guess this legislation would serve one compelling interest for the sponsors – it might get them votes they need to win in close elections.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Fed Forced Felon Voting: Another Leftist Assault on the Constitution

    1. Mrs. Lori Etzel says:

      What prohibits "We the People" from bringing up those who "deem" passing the health care bill (any form of); on grounds of TREASON.

      Knowing the oaths of office each one took…

      Waiting to hear from you,

      Respectfully,

      Mrs. Lori Etzel

    2. texas says:

      No felon should have voting rights nor child support nor SSI…which they do get.

      Why?

    3. Bert Lucero, Albuque says:

      Are not people incarcerated because they decided that the law they violated did not apply to them? So why do they want the law allowing them to vote (or any other law for that matter) to favor them. They choose to be deviant…, let them also be subject to the consequences. No special privilages.

    4. Jonathon Montgomery, says:

      Let me start by saying that I am conservative and a very long time supporter of the Constitution, a document that I can say that I truly love and support. I am also very analytical person, and have given a considerable amount of in consideration of this very issue.

      Our founders, and those who participated in each of the Amendments, were all generally insightful and forward thinking. However, they were still not perfect, as we are also not perfect today. In most cases they seemed to have an uncanny ability to predict what assaults might befall the Constitution, but they could never have anticipated some of the things that are happening today. Because of this the Constitution was always intended to be a living document that might be changed from time to time, and would certainly be interpreted differently as the United States grew and developed as a great nation.

      Today we have a series of great dilemmas where the Constitution, and the intended effects, have become very muddied. We now have more laws on the books than our forefathers could have ever anticipated, affecting more and more people. In fact, I estimate that a majority, in fact such a majority that I should say nearly all, of United States citizens have committed a serious crime at some point in their life. Now most may have never been convicted and may be generally law abiding citizens, but we must consider the net effect of such a body of law.

      Keeping an open mind I also realize those who have been convicted of a crime are the very persons that are most affected by the laws that we create. So it might stand to reason that the rights of these individuals might need to be protected by allowing them to have a small say in who actually represents them in our government. I understand these words might be very controversial, especially on this website, so let me lend just a bit more clarification. I do believe there is a compelling reason to limit or suspend the rights of any person who has become subject to prosecution, during the term of his or her sentence. So if the citizen is incarcerated, on probation or parole, has not properly paid restitution, etc. we might consider limiting some of their rights, including the right to vote. But, once the debt to society and all victims has been paid we should have no compelling interest to continue punishing that person.

      I base my opinions on the overall intent of the Constitution, it's authors and on the words of an even greater document, The Declaration of Independence. So great are the words in this other great document that it was the founding document of this great nation. We often lose sight of the very words contained within The Declaration of Independence, and the reason our forefathers sought independence.

      As I look at our current body of law along with the attitudes and behaviors of our elected officials and leaders I wonder if we have not actually fallen into the same type of state that Great Britain had fallen into where there were no basic freedoms. Great consideration should be given any time an individual’s, or groups, basic rights are limited or even taken completely away.

    5. Gary Vincent "F says:

      Of course this was coming, Obamasiah predicted it. The Constitution is about "negative rights". Say what?

      Negative to tyranny maybe.. eh?

      I am a member of Icaucus at http://www.ourcaucus.com. I don't know if any are familiar with this organization. This is a dynamic group that vetts all candidates before caucus. Some candidates willingly submit to this process of 80 questions and interview. Then the membership within that candidate's district will vote according to the what they've analyzed to endorse or not.

      Many Tea Party and other grassroots groups use this organization as a guide. What is unusual is that this group focus's their questions on Constitutional perceptionsof the candidates, not "social justice" questions like abortion. This to me is refreshing. http://www.ourcaucus.com offers a 7 segment video course to let you know what their sole goal is.

      Education is power..

      What ever the issue raised on these pages, they can be resolved with a re-educated citizenry. Thank you so much for being such a source.

      God Bless You and God Bless America

      Gary Vincent "Father" O'Malley

    6. Pingback: Newest Threat from the Left: Reenfranchising Felons - The Republican Lawyer Blog

    7. Harvey Lange, Alabam says:

      This appears to be another example of our elected officials doing what they think their constituents want instead of listening to what their constituents are telling them. I would be interested in seeing if there is any movement towards collecting valid signatures for petitions to conduct recall elections in any of the 50 states. If we believe strongly enough that our elected officials are no longer listening to us, then do we really have to wait for November?

    8. Diane Forrest, Kentu says:

      The real message to take away from this: felons vote Democrat.

    9. Martha, Colorado says:

      Oh wow! Felons voting! How rediculous.

    10. Donald Wright, San J says:

      The Left has recently found itself unable to meet its election quotas by employing its usual means: resurrecting Democrats to vote; buying votes; voting multiple times; and busing Welfare Queens, ACORN employees (but that's redundant), and illegal aliens from polling place to polling place–while simultaneously claiming that Bush prevented minorities from reaching the voting booths. Now the Left wants to spring open the prisons to obtain additional votes from a class of people with whom they are peculiarly in sync. Birds of a feather?

    11. Rob says:

      Better yet, restrict Voting privilages to military personell only. If your not willing to fight for your country, you forfiet you voting privilages

    12. Dave Burden -Arizona says:

      Felons voting … hmmmm.

      Illegals getting amnesty and a pathway to vote …. hmmmm

      Criminals and traitors running our government … hmmmm

      I'm seeing a theme here …

    13. Karin, PA says:

      in response to: Jonathon Montgomery, Utah on March 17th, 2010 at 11:00am said. The Constitution is not a 'living document' and should not be altered to reflect the times. If you are truly a conservative and believe in the constitution then I don't think you would believe that. The US Constitution and Bill of Rights are just as valid today as they were 200 years ago. It is the notion that it should be treating as a living document that is the exact reason for the 'muddiness' or murkiness you are alluding to. It is up to us to fight for our way of life and our Constitution – as it was written. To me it is very clear. If we allow the Federal Government to usurp the powers that were specifically given to the States, then all of our rights will shortly follow by being taken away. The power structure within this country was designed to be First to the individuals, Second to the States, Third to the Federal Govt. What is happening is just the opposite and moving even more towards a Global strucure with the power/rights being granted First to the world leaders, Second to the Federal Gov't, Third to the States and finally to the People.

    14. Guillermo, Arizona says:

      if a person makes a foolish mistake or error in judgement or just plain commits a criminal act and pays the price society demands in full, with restitution, give them another chance. if they re-offend, deny them for life. err on the side of mercy; allow them the opportunity to reestablish themselves into the community; to demonstrate their desire to build a life. there should be restrictions as to positions of trust related to their offense, but otherwise we must help them return to normalcy in the brotherhood of our nation. as to dave burden's comment above, after the assault on our constitution by the patriot act, and the awarding of no-bid contracts to haliburton, perhaps criminals and traitors have long run our gov't, but attempting to extend health insurance coverage to the "least of these thy brethren" isn't criminal, it's charitable, and someone described charity to me as "the pure love of christ."

    15. Pingback: New Threat From the Left: Felons Vote « Chicagobluesgirl’s Blog

    16. t.jenkins22 says:

      As a conservative, I have to agree with Jonathon Montgomery. Removal of rights is what is at stake here, and the US Constitution is a guarantor of individual rights, not to be abridged by the Federal Government.

      If an individual State chooses to abridge a citizen's rights, it must be within the guidelines of what the Constitution allows. Notice that all ten Bill of Rights and the subsequent amendments (with the exception of the prohibition amendment which was later repealed by another amendment) specifically protect some type of individual freedom. None specify a limitation of some right or freedom.

      The right to vote is fundamental to all US citizens. If someone has paid their debt to society and remains law-abiding, then it is wrong to deny him his citizenship, with all of its rights and responsibilities for the rest of his life.

    17. Micki-Tamarac, FL says:

      I believe most of them are already in the Congress and Senate. They are the ones breaking the laws and getting amnesty. Taxes etc. Birds of a feather is right.

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