How HR 1 Affects Americans
PART 1 of a 3 part deep dive into House Resolution 1 the "For the People" Act
By Craig Richards, LNNUSA.com
Is HR 1 Constitutional?
WASHINGTON – Democratic law makers tout House Resolution 1 as sweeping change to American democracy. The bill labeled the “For the People Act” may not be for all the people.
Establishing Constitutional Authority
Under the “Findings Of General Constitutional Authority” section of HR 1, Congress “finds” that the Constitution grants “explicit and broad authority to protect the right to vote.” In addition Congress claims the right to set the time, place, and manner of congressional elections based on Article I, section 4, clause 1 of the United States Constitution.
Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but Congress may at any time make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of chusing (choosing) Senators.
While the Constitution does allow for Congress to make this finding in terms of Congressional Elections, it explicitly denies Congress constitutional authority to prescribe legislation for individual State elections or Senate elections. Therefore any Act passed by Congress cannot legally restrict or alter any State’s process in such elections.
In this section Congress also “finds” that all states are incapable of self-governing themselves specifically in terms of election. The Constitution does not deny or even address the right of Congress to determine their superiority in judgement over 50 other legislative bodies. It does, however, support individual State rights to self-govern, clearly defining constitutional authority in this area. The United Constitution does not authorize the Federal Government to legislate individual state voting law except in the area of Congressional races, (Article I, Section 4, Clause 1).
Article I: Section 8 of the Constitution specifically defines the Federal Government’s authority. Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 allows for authority for Congress to legislate Congressional races. The Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution further limits Congress stating, “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.”
According to the United States Constitution even if the federal government passes HR 1, to govern federal elections, those laws will also affect overall state procedures in state and local elections – a direct violation of the Constitution.
Congress makes subjective interpretation of Article 1, Section 4 of the US Constitution in finding Congressional Authority in mandating States congressional districts. The Article gives Congress the power to enact laws governing the time, place, and manner of elections for Members of the House of Representatives also citing the fourteen amendment to enact laws enforcing section 2 which states that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges of immunities of citizens of the United States”. However, the fourteen amendment also states that States can not do so without due process of law. By its definition, the Constitution’s fourteen amendment clearly assigns constitutional authority to the judicial branch. Even this would require citizens enacting due process against the State in matters of districting.
The tenth amendment to the Constitution further limits Congress in this area. First, the amendment only allows Congress the power to legislate the “manner” in which the election itself is held. Secondly, the ability to redistrict is not prohibited to the States by the Constitution, therefore, it is reserved to the States, “or the people.” Thirdly, the constitution clearly defines a judicial, not federal legislative recourse for citizens’ rights that are abridged. The Congressional “finding” as to individual States congressional redistricting amounts to apparent unconstitutional unauthorized preemptive congressional overreach.
Craig Richards is CEO of LNN USA and can be reached at