Non-citizens voting in California: Judge says no, even in left-wing state

Sometimes, common sense can prevail – even in far-out California. Last week, California Superior Court Judge Richard B. Ulmer Jr. ruled that only U.S. citizens have the right to vote. In this, he echoed an earlier ruling by the New York Supreme Court.

This January, the New York City Council passed an ordinance that would have allowed 800,000 non-citizens to vote in its municipal elections. The ordinance clearly violated New York’s state constitution and its election laws. There’s no special carveout for NYC in these prohibitions. Fortunately for the citizens of the Big Apple, a New York court struck down this ill-advised ordinance in June.

On its face, the city ordinance would have applied only to “lawful permanent residents” and aliens authorized to work in the United States. But since NYC’s “sanctuary city” policies bar city officials from differentiating between legal and illegal aliens, this limitation would have been difficult to enforce, if not meaningless, in practice. 

To demonstrate just how bizarre this ordinance was, it would have allowed foreign reporters for Communist propaganda outlets like Russia’s Pravda and Red China’s People’s Daily stationed in New York City to vote in local elections.

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Yet, New York City wasn’t the first large, “progressive” municipality to pioneer noncitizen voting. That dubious distinction belongs to San Francisco.

Six years ago, that city’s voters approved an ordinance that, as the San Francisco Chronicle explains, “allows noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants and legal residents, to vote for school board candidates if they are a parent or guardian of a school-aged child and are not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.” The ordinance took effect in 2018 and was slated to expire this year. But last November, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors extended the ordinance indefinitely.

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Fortunately, Judge Ulmer recognized that letting noncitizens – even illegal aliens – vote was, itself, a lawless action. He noted that California’s “transcendent law” (i.e., the state constitution), “reserves the vote to a ‘United States citizen,’ contrary to [the] San Francisco ordinance …” and concluded that the city’s effort “to give the California Constitution a different meaning is unavailing.”

To prove the absurdity of the city’s position, the judge pointed out that by the ordinance’s illogic, children under 18 and residents of other states could vote in California elections, which the California Constitution clearly prohibits.

In addition to being unconstitutional, efforts to let non-citizens vote is bad policy. Aliens who remain legally bound by, and beholden to, the governments of their native lands should not be allowed to shape and mold our educational, law enforcement, and other policies potentially to the detriment of our country.

That is especially true in the education context, where efforts to indoctrinate young children with harmful ideologies have been well documented. Lawmakers such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have put forward common-sense proposals to encourage schools to drop the indoctrination and focus instead on educating our children. These proposals have met with massive blowback and mischaracterization from activists on the left. Yet, it is in this very sensitive area of educational policy and school board elections that San Francisco specifically proposed allowing aliens to vote and shape policy.

At least for now, the rule of law has prevailed in California and New York City. Judges there have recognized that the efforts of municipal officials to allow non-citizens to vote effectively disenfranchises their own citizens and violates their respective state constitutions.

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Hans von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

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Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act includes another lavish EV subsidy for the rich and famous

Of all the ridiculous provisions in the Democrats’ absurdly named Inflation Reduction Act, perhaps the most amazing is the lavish subsidy it provides for the rich and famous. The bill expands upon already deep federal subsidies for Americans who purchase electric vehicles. 

There are myriad reasons why this is a bad idea. But with Arizona Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema finally falling in line with the rest of her far left party, this looks to be a done deal. And a very bad one for the average American.

First of all, as many have pointed out, the electricity that runs these futuristic vehicles doesn’t just flow freely from the sky, as envisioned by Nicola Tesla whose name is now synonymous with electric vehicles. Rather these supposedly green status symbols on our roads are powered by the grid. And what powers the grid? In many cases the very fossil fuels meant to be phased out.

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Adding to this is the fact that a mandate in the bill requires that the rare minerals needed for the batteries may not come from Russia or China. The only problem is that American auto manufacturers say that without those sources, they simply can’t meet demand. So the already months long waiting lists for many EV’s may only get worse.

It also isn’t clear that this measure will actually lower prices, in fact, manufacturers may simply use the subsidy to create nicer products at the same bottom line cost for their mostly well off consumers.

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But perhaps the biggest flaw of the bill and the one that will stick in the craw of middle class Americans most pointedly is that average price of a new EV is over $54,000, with many much more expensive. Even used EVs, which get a smaller subsidy in the legislation, don’t come cheap.

For the average American this a luxury item, even with Uncle Sam kicking in $7,500 dollars if all requirements are met, it’s a reach these days. It’s like giving everyone a thousand dollar gift card to the Rolex store, great, but where do we get the other 9 grand?

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There are also regional disparities to consider, California for example has over 550,000 electric cars, which dwarves Texas which has a mere 130,000 and New York with a paltry 62,000. This makes the Golden State a much easier place to drive electric, in part because California Democrats intentionally increased gas prices to create an incentive which resulted in an enormous amount of charging stations, and a culture surrounding the vehicles. 

They call this policy a win, but with Californians fleeing the state for less progressive and expensive confines, is this really a path the entire country should be going down? And more broadly, is this even the best way to encourage the growth of the electric vehicle industry? 

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In the last decade, owing to free market competition with gas guzzlers, EVs have become more competitive, the best way to encourage that is to allow that fair competition to continue, not for the federal government to put its thumb on the scale. 

This is not the first time that Democrats under President Joe Biden have sought to give working class cash over to their economic betters. Their desire to forgive student loans for the college educated is another such inverse wealth transfer, and they wonder why they are bleeding blue collar voters like a sacrificial goat.

The bottom line is that top-down attempts to manipulate the American economy so as to achieve environmental or social goals are always a failure. Americans will broadly adopt EVs when they reach a point of equality or superiority in the marketplace. 

The actions of people like California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to inflict pain at the pump to prime this change is hurting people. And now with this subsidy for the wealthy, the Democrats, once again, are aiming to make the problem worse. 

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Biden’s risk-averse foreign policy is risky business for Americans

President Joe Biden’s foreign policy is a toxic mix of ideas from both extremes of the political spectrum. 

On the one hand, Biden and company have embraced the Obama era policy of maximum restraint. The idea is that the less the U.S. engages in foreign affairs, the fewer problems it will have to deal with. 

The problem with maximum restraint is that it can let a manageable foreign problem fester and grow into a tremendous problem. It’s like when a homeowner keeps putting off fixing a leaky roof; one day the ceiling will collapse. 

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Maximum restraint can also lead to precipitous withdrawal from foreign engagements. This too can be disastrous. For example, Obama precipitously withdrew from Iraq, and ISIS promptly filled the vacuum. Biden did the same in Afghanistan, and we now know that Al Qaeda has already reestablished a foothold there.

The reality is: Whenever America walks away, our adversaries happily fill in. Just look at what happened at our southern border. As soon as Biden reversed all of Trump’s border security measures, the cartels started lining up people to come across. 

On the other hand, Biden is often over-eager to engage on the world stage, turning American interests over to globalist management. The idea is that we can make the world safer, more equitable and more just if we follow the wisdom of global elites and govern according to international agreements on everything from climate policy and tax policy to labor policy and the treatment of women. 

The problem with this is that it can sacrifice our national interests — and our sovereignty — abiding by international compacts that our enemies ignore, and our friends find preposterous. For example, the Chinese have zero intent of following the U.S. into the abyss of “net zero” green energy policy. To keep their economy growing, they are building coal plants right and left. 

Yet, Biden persists in thinking that he and other leaders of developed nations can establish global “norms” by pledging to follow the dictates of Davos. This is like the little kid sitting in a grocery cart who thinks he is steering down the aisle. 

By following these impulses to 1) do nothing and 2) tell everyone else what to do, Biden believes he is reducing risk and making a better world. In reality, what he has is a schizophrenic foreign policy that has increased global risk and left our friends and allies dazed and confused.

The most recent victim of this approach was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Her trip to Taiwan was important. And the stakes were high. China is America’s No. 1 threat, and Taiwan is the most serious issue that divides us. One would think every step the president would take would be serious, deliberate and proactive, because that is how serious people deal with serious risks. Not Joe. 

His first instinct was to try to make the problem go away. So, he asked Pelosi to cancel the visit. This would have been a big slap in the face to Taiwan and a huge loss of face for the U.S. 

When Pelosi refused, Biden then called Chinese President Xi Jinping and, after meekly reassuring him that the U.S. still clings to the “One China Policy.” asked him to back down from his regime’s saber-rattling rhetoric opposing the trip. Again, no effect.

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Indeed, throughout the crisis, Biden came across — to China, to Taiwan, to Pelosi and the rest of the world — as little more than a do-nothing Bystander-in-Chief. (Though, in fairness, he did tweet afterward.) 

Once Pelosi left, China ramped-up its “wolf warrior” diplomacy ringing Taiwan with live fire drills. The administration response was mostly finger-waving at the Chinese, tut-tutting that they were not following the international norms as approved by our globalist overlords in Davos. Beijing must still be laughing.

But this is no laughing matter. Just ask Ukraine. When Putin threatened to invade, Biden tried the mix of do nothing, threatening with a handful of sanctions, and finger-waving about international norms. Rather than being deterred, Russia started a war that has harmed our economy and lowered our national security. 

When will U.S. foreign policy get better instead of worse? The answer is: When the administration starts dealing with risks, rather than ignoring them. 

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