AZ Attorney General Brnovich to US AG Garland: Read the Constitution

In a speech on June 11, 2021 US Attorney Merrick General rattled the cage of states continuing to review anomalies from the 2020 presidential election, in particular addressing Arizona and the ongoing audit of Maricopa County (the Phoenix area).  According to Garland:

“The Civil Rights Division has already sent a letter expressing its concern that one of those audits may violate provisions of the Civil Rights Act that require election officials to safeguard federal election records. … The division also expressed concern that the audit may violate a provision of the Voting Rights Act that bars intimidation of voters.”

The second “concern” regarding “intimidation of voters” also has no basis in law.  Voters cast their ballots over seven months ago.  It is defies logic and common sense to suggest that an audit taking place seven months after an election can possibly intimidate a voter regarding a ballot that was cast in the past.  The letter of the DOJ was written in some fantasy world in which the AZ Senate is an election official and ballot auditors can time travel and intimidate people into altering past conduct.  The US Attorney General delivered the message of the letter with a straight face.
A reasonable evaluation of Garland’s action would read it as his own attempt to intimidate the State of Arizona into abandoning the audit. If that was his goal, it backfired.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was “not amused”.  Brnovich responded with a letter of his own, explaining to Garland the Constitution’s limitations on the federal government and the sovereignty of Arizona in this area. The Brnovich letter cites the 10th Amendment and Articles I and II of the Constitution.  Here’s the letter with Brnovich giving Garland the basics of law school with analysis to follow.
Constitution Citations by the Arizona Attorney General

“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.”

US 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…”
US Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 : 
“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.”
Garland and DOJ Made Up Law, Brnovich Shares Plain Language of the Constitution
The US Attorney General and his Justice Department made up law as apparently they wished it to exist and created a world where time travel was possible.  The Arizona Attorney General did something all too rare in today’s political discourse, he pointed to the plain language of the Constituiton. That language says:
  • If the Constitution does not give a power to the federal government it does not have it
  • The Constitution gives States power to regulate elections.
  • The Constitution gives States plenary power to appoint presidential electors.

There is something of note in AG Brnovich’s letter. He refers to state sovereignty and does not commit the common error of using the phrase “state’s rights”.  States do not have rights, only the powers and sovereignty granted to the states by citizens through the vehicle of state constitutions.  Only people have rights.

Garland is wrong on the law and Brnovich is correct in asserting the federal government has no authority to interfere in the Arizona audit.


For Further Reading