Actor and former California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger filed a brief with the Supreme Court in a vital upcoming election rights case that would give state legislatures the authority to overturn the will of the people under the guise of the constitutionally bogus “independent state legislature” theory.
In a 36-page amicus brief, Schwarzenegger seeks to challenge the high court’s reasoning for taking up Moore v. Harper in a test of the theory’s validity.
First, legislators draw district lines to lock in legislative incumbents so the people have no recourse at the ballot box, and then they tell us that only the state legislature, which they have now made certain the people can’t throw out in fair elections, can change the law. 2/4
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) October 26, 2022
Citing the country’s foundation under a doctrine of the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government, Schwarzenegger wrote:
“States have developed careful balances in their constitutions to allocate and constrain the exercise of legislative power under the Elections Clause in order to combat the pernicious effects of partisan gerrymanders.”
The case in question, Moore v. Harper, however, suggests that individual state legislatures have the power to decide electoral votes – regardless of how their state’s voters actually cast their ballots. Schwarzenegger believes that this is absolutely antithetical to the founding principles of the U.S. Constitution.
An Austrian immigrant, the former bodybuilder quoted founding father James Madison, tweeting, “James Madison said: “You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”
Schwarzenegger’s position is that the plaintiffs in the case, North Carolina state legislators, want to remove all the checks and balances that could impede their absolute power and that the Court shouldn’t allow them to do so.
Governor of California from 2003-2011, the longtime Republican was a vocal critic of partisan gerrymandering. This led to the successful creation of The California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
“In 2008 and 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger successfully advocated for two ballot initiatives, discussed infra, that established a non- partisan redistricting commission for California’s Legislature, Board of Equalization, and U.S. House Members. These reforms ended decades of partisan gerrymanders, to the benefit of California’s citizens and political system. Governor Schwarzenegger retains a continuing interest in the survival and success of these reforms. “Over six million Californians voted for the election reform measure. The amicus brief describes residents as “having had enough.”
To allow voters to ignore settled law and nullify legally cast votes would go against everything the founding fathers intended by separating the branches of government.
“More generally, the independent state legislature theory also would have been antithetical to the Framers’ prevailing views. The Framers well understood the necessity of retaining checks and balances on the Legislature: ‘it is against the enterprising ambition of this department, that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy, and exhaust all their precautions.’”
“The consequences of petitioners’ aggressive theory would be drastic,” Schwarzenegger added, “State legislatures would be able to draw districts that protect parties and incumbents so that the people have no realistic recourse at the ballot.
“That legislature would be unchecked by any other branch, contrary to the fundamental separation-of-powers principle on which the country was founded.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger became a U.S. citizen in 1983. The MAGA GOP can learn a thing or two about how our government is supposed to work by heeding his warnings.
Read the full brief here.