The idea of state sovereignty is riddled with exceptions and is largely a joke these days. The federal government calls the shots, and the states obey, in the area of elections as much as in any other.
SLATE’s Eric Posner offers a stunning couple of sentences there in his assessment of the SCOTUS decision about the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. I honestly cannot imagine an American citizen writing them, let alone a law professor, but forgive my perspective as a military veteran. He’s saying: It’s not that those original words on ye olde Constitutional parchment are wrong so much as they’re old. Bill of Rights? Booo-ring! And way past their shelf life! Military recruits taking an oath to protect and defend words on paper: What a knee-slapper!
Sad thing is, Posner may be right about sad state of federalism. It’s not his fault that the idea is disrespected, but his essay is a wake-up call. But I think he should appreciate the attempt by Chief Justice John Roberts to reaffirm federalism as a core principle.
Posner’s use of “obey” was the most chilling, to me. Makes me think of a modified version Niemoeller’s “First they came …” poem.
First, they told the states to obey, but I wasn’t a state. Then, they told the cities and towns to obey, but I wasn’t even a village. Then they told the churches and corporations and associations and schools and unions to obey, but I was still a free man. Then they told me to