The “For the People Act,” the much-ballyhooed scheme by Democrats on Capitol Hill to codify the mechanisms through which voter fraud can become ubiquitous, has received plenty of blowback from the political right. Most of us have argued that H.R. 1 creates a perpetual environment that we first saw in 2020 with Covid-19 lockdowns. We argue that the rules made by legislatures, election boards, and the judiciary were unnecessary through the pandemic and therefore should definitely be unnecessary when lockdowns fully end.
But hidden in the bowels of the bill is a hideous provision that requires a “religious test” for those applying to participate in the non-partisan redistricting agency that would be formed if the bill becomes law. This is blatantly unconstitutional and should allow for an easy route for a Constitution-friendly judiciary to strike it down. According to Travis Weber at the Family Research Council:
H.R. 1 requires states to establish a nonpartisan agency in the state legislature. This nonpartisan agency will establish an independent redistricting commission to organize electoral districts.
Section 2412 establishes eligibility criteria to serve on the redistricting commission. Any individual applying to serve on the redistricting commission must provide personal information, including:
The reason or reasons the individual desires to serve on the independent redistricting commission, the individual’s qualifications, and information relevant to the ability of the individual to be fair and impartial, including, but not limited to—
(I) any involvement with, or financial support of, professional, social, political, religious, or community organizations or causes [emphasis added].
While it may appear minor, this is incredibly problematic because it suggests that religious affiliations may affect an individual’s ability to be impartial, and thereby may make them ineligible to serve on the commission. This is not only discriminatory, but also unconstitutional.
Surprisingly, this little nugget of the bill has not received the attention it is due from conservative media. Hopefully, that will change soon as this article and another by Christian Post from yesterday spread. According to Ryan Foley at Christian Post:
While the For the People Act passed the House, where legislation can pass with a simple majority, its future remains uncertain in the Senate, where legislation requires 60 votes to pass. Democrats have a narrow 50-50 majority in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.
In order for the For the People Act to overcome a filibuster, it would need to secure the support of 10 Republicans. Top Senate Democrats have threatened to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” to abolish the filibuster and enable legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority.
Because Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has reaffirmed his support for maintaining the filibuster, Democrats might find themselves unable to accumulate the votes required to abolish the filibuster and pass H.R. 1.
Article VI, Clause 3 states: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” It immediately follows a clause requiring all federal office holders to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. This clause contains the only explicit reference to religion in the original seven articles of the U.S. Constitution.
H.R. 1 clearly states that religious affiliation and membership in religious organizations and groups must be divulged to participate with the redistricting agency. This is unambiguously unconstitutional. The “For The People Act” must be stopped.