Links embedded in the headlines of both these important thought pieces stemming from Trump’s infection with the coronavirus:

Congress should act to forestall an incapacity-related crisis (Oct. 2): Congress should act, quickly and unanimously, to pass simple legislation providing for the awful chance of the death or incapacity of a presidential candidate after ballots already have been printed.

Granted, the Constitution and statutes are unclear about how to handle such a situation, and it is not self-evident that the Constitution’s provisions allow Congress to fill the void with its own prescription. Still, it should be nearly axiomatic that where the Constitution has gaps and tensions that are nearly impossible to reconcile, the national legislature is empowered to provide for major exigencies within those gaps and tensions as long as it acts clearly within the spirit of the constitutional provisions that do apply.

Of course, Congress must act according to law: No statute can take effect without a presidential signature or a supermajority override of a president’s veto. That said, here is what Congress should do, and then an explanation of why it should pass constitutional muster….

How the coronavirus shows the folly of early voting systems (Oct. 5): President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis helps make the most obviously practical argument, one of many, against widespread early voting.

One major reason for a national election day is that it allows all Americans to vote based on the exact same information and in the exact same circumstances. Having everyone vote on the same day is not only a collective and communal cultural celebration of representative democracy, a virtue in and of itself, but it also ensures that as few Americans as possible cast their votes without the benefit of late-breaking news…. What if an incumbent becomes incapacitated or even dies after millions of votes have been cast irrevocably?….


Tags: , , , ,