August 21, 2022

John Eastman may be in legal peril over his “fake electors” scheme but his plan to steal the election from the voters has a new lease on life with Republican legislatures.

The Republican argument that the U.S. is a republic, not a democracy, is part of yet another GOP assault on democracy. Constitutional expert and Yale professor Akhil Reed Amar talked with Ali Velshi on Saturday about this somewhat under-the-radar Republican legal tactic.

Amar dismissed any argument that the U.S. is either a republic or a democracy. “It is both,” he said, because while we are a republic, “the democratic principle is carried into every part of the government.” He explained that while the Constitution gives state legislatures a lot of power, they aren’t really independent because they “are creatures of state constitutions” which are democratically adopted, amended and enforced by elected state justices.

For starters, the GOP claim is a branding tactic to delegitimize Democrats as well as voters, Amar said.

But it’s far worse than that.

States like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin all have Democratic presidential electorates but Republican legislatures, Amar pointed out. “What is going on is a carefully laid plan, in 2024, to actually start to take power away from the voters in the presidential election and relocate them to the Republican state legislature,” Amar continued.

“You are going to hear a lot more about this independent state legislature idea,” Amar warned. “Stay tuned. It will be the [2024] version of John Eastman’s efforts.” He also said that the Supreme Court will be hearing an important case on this subject in the coming term. “Our audience doesn’t know about it yet, but they need to.”

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