Heritage Expert Calls Out the New York Times on Voter ID


In Heritage Impact

The New York Times condemned a Kansas judge last week for upholding state requirements that voters show proof of citizenship when they register. The Times went on to call the identification requirement a means by which “to keep eligible voters from the polls.”

This is nonsense, Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans Von Spakovsky counters in National Review Online:

[T]he intent of these laws is to keep ineligible voters from the polls, like the thousands of noncitizens who are illegally registered to vote all over the country.

The Times further calls the push for voter ID a “ruse” to keep people from voting. Von Spakovsky reminds us, though, that “there is more than enough evidence by now to demonstrate that the Times is totally wrong in its judgment on election-integrity issues.”

Do you back voter ID laws?

Can Forty Congressmen Unravel Obamacare By Proving It Is Unconstitutional?


In Heritage Work

Photo: Newscom

Did you hear about the bill introduced a few years ago to provide tax credits for veterans purchasing new homes? It originated in the House of Representatives and was called H.R. 3590. Doesn’t sound familiar? Maybe that’s because after it was sent to the Senate, it was completely gutted and rewritten, save for the name — H.R. 3590. Today it is known as Obamacare.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare’s individual mandate to be a tax. And the Constitution’s Origination Clause does not allow the Senate to introduce any legislation that would raise revenue.

Heritage Foundation expert Hans van Spakovsky and Michael Flynn explain:

The Origination Clause provides: ‘All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.’ Our Founding Fathers understood that the power to tax, if abused, involved the power to destroy. They viewed the Origination Clause as a safeguard for liberty by insisting that the power to initiate new taxes should be left with the lawmakers who were most directly accountable to voters—members of the House, who are elected every two years in local districts.

Continue Reading »

Will the Supreme Court Rule in Favor of Free Political Speech?


In Heritage Impact

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week in an important case challenging campaign finance laws, which limit political speech.

Current law imposes restrictions not only on contributions to individual candidates but also on total contributions, Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky explains in Human Events: Continue Reading »

Fast and Furious: Why a Judge Rejected the Administration’s Arguments


In Heritage Work

Despite Attorney General Eric Holder’s best efforts to sweep the Fast and Furious fiasco under the rug, the case remains very much alive.

The House of Representatives is suing Attorney General Eric Holder for refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious. And when the Department of Justice asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, the judge (an Obama appointee) rejected the request.

Heritage Foundation experts Hans von Spakovsky and John Malcolm explain: Continue Reading »

‘Shutting Down’ the Federal Government ‘Would Be Neither Catastrophic Nor Unprecedented’


In Heritage Impact

Despite liberal doomsaying, if Congress fails to pass a spending bill tonight, the federal government will not truly “shut down,” The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky explains on National Review Online:

Such a lapse in funding would be neither catastrophic nor unprecedented. There have been 17 funding gaps just since 1977, ranging in duration from one to 21 days. Under applicable federal law, operations and services would continue for those essential for “the safety of human life or the protection of property” as well as those programs funded through multiyear or permanent appropriations such as Social Security.

In fact, “the danger doesn’t come from a temporary lapse in government funding,” he says. “The danger comes from implementing a shoddy, burdensome, expensive program to nationalize healthcare and refusing to reduce out-of-control spending that is hurrying our nation down the road to financial ruin.”

Do you think Congress should fund Obamacare in order to pass a budget deal?

Why Eric Holder’s Attack on Texas Voter ID Makes No Sense


In Heritage Work

Eric Holder’s Justice Department announced last week that it will file a new lawsuit against Texas. Its claim? That the state’s voter ID law “violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the voting guarantees of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments” to the Constitution.

This is just another example of Obama administration’s “mounting war against commonsense election integrity efforts,” Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky says.

Unfortunately for Holder, his claims just don’t hold up. Von Spakovsky explains that recent legal decisions would tend to support Texas’ law: Continue Reading »

Yes, Defunding Obamacare Would Stop Its Implementation


In Heritage Work

Read My Lips: No to Obamacare

Photo: Newscom

Would defunding Obamacare actually stop the health care takeover from going into effect? Yes, it would.

Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans Van Spakovsky explains that the federal Antideficiency Act “makes it illegal to spend money in excess of appropriations.” He elaborates: Continue Reading »

Heritage Expert Weighs in on Eric Holder and the Voting Rights Act on PBS’ NewsHour


In Heritage Impact

Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday he would ask a court to subject Texas voting laws to federal approval, known as preclearance, under the Voting Rights Act. A key provision of that act, which automatically subject Texas and other jurisdictions to preclearance, was struck down earlier this year by the Supreme Court.

“This case against Texas is the first step in the Justice Department’s newest crusade to, as Holder says, ‘use every tool’ at his disposal ‘to subject states to preclearance’ despite the Supreme Court’s decision,” Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky explains.

During yesterday’s NewsHour, PBS’s Judy Woodruff asked von Spakovsky his thoughts on Holder’s crusade. Watch the video below for his answer, which begins three minutes in:

Do you think the federal government should review state voting laws?

Why the Arizona Voter Registration Decision Is a Step in the Wrong Direction


In Heritage Work

Noncitizens registering and voting illegally is a real problem that compromises the integrity of our elections. Arizona is particularly affected because it has large populations of illegal immigrants, so they enacted a law requiring those registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship.

But the Supreme Court ruled yesterday against that Arizona law. Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky explains:

In a decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by six other justices…the Supreme Court said that Arizona must “accept and use” the federal mail-in voter registration form specified by the federal National Voter Registration Act (the Motor Voter law). Arizona’s requirement that proof of citizenship be submitted with the federal form is preempted.

While this was a step in the wrong direction, it was not a complete loss for supporters of honest elections. The decision was very narrowly focused and did not affect measures like Arizona’s voter ID law, which remains in force. Von Spakovsky explains a few other details the press overlooked: Continue Reading »

Why Is the IRS Targeting Conservative Groups?


In Heritage Work

On Friday the IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status. The agency claimed the practice was initiated by low-level workers and did not result from political bias.

Then over the weekend, it was revealed that the IRS targeted “groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to ‘make America a better place to live.’”

Heritage Foundation expert Hans von Spakovsky says that any explanation other than political bias would be hard to believe, because “the only relevant or substantive thing these organizations have in common is that they are all conservative politically.”

In fact, it’s fully permissible for organizations to advance conservative principles, he explains in a separate post:

Whether or not you agree with the Administration’s policies or whether you criticize the expansion of government or its excessive debt are not a consideration under the Revenue Code to qualify for tax-exempt status. Apparently, the IRS finally realized that, because according to The Washington Post, it changed its tactics in May 2012 to focus on “organizations with indicators of significant amounts of political campaign intervention.” Despite that change, dozens of conservative organizations are still waiting to receive their tax exemptions.

So why did the practice go on for so long without interference from the higher-ups? There should be a thorough investigation, von Spakovsky argues:

It’s unclear who in the IRS or elsewhere supported or condoned the wrongful conduct at issue, but it is important for the rule of law and the interests of justice that Congress aggressively pursue its oversight function to get to the bottom of this scandal and, most importantly, who instigated and authorized it.

Do you think targeting conservative groups was political?

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