Editor's Pick

“Trump Attempts to Block Federal Election Obstruction Case in Washington

President Donald Trump has filed a raft of new legal challenges to a federal judge’s ruling last week that criticized his efforts to block congressional oversight of U.S. elections. In a filing submitted on Tuesday, the Justice Department argued that the ruling by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, which struck down as unconstitutional an executive order that would have effectively restricted funding to any jurisdiction that failed to adhere to strict election protocols, was overly broad and would harm the ability of states to develop and carry out their own rules and regulations concerning elections. The argument comes in response to a lawsuit brought by several states, cities and counties last month that argued the president’s executive order constituted illegal interference in local governance and violated the Constitution’s separation of powers. In her ruling, Judge Jackson wrote that Trump’s executive order “drastically” exceeded the authority vested in him by Congress and that it was “plainly unconstitutional” to restrict funding on the basis of how the funds were used. The Justice Department has argued that the judge’s ruling was overly broad and that it should not have been applied to all forms of federal funding, such as grants and reimbursements, which are key components of successful election operations. The department also suggested that the ruling could prevent state and local governments from carrying out necessary security and other measures to ensure that elections are conducted in accordance with the highest standards of accuracy and integrity. The legal challenge is the latest in a series of battles between the president and his opponents in the electoral process. Trump has consistently sought to challenge the integrity of the 2020 election and to undercut the authority of the administrative bodies overseeing it, such as the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. At the same time, he has sought to block Congress from exercising its oversight obligations, including through a federal court that issued a temporary restraining order against his November 5 executive order on election oversight and funding. That suit was brought by states, cities and counties that said the order represented an unconstitutional overreach and undermined their legal authority to supervise elections in their jurisdictions. No matter the outcome of the current legal challenge, the political fight over how to conduct elections and how to allocate funds for them will likely remain a source of contention in the coming years.

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