Biden’s get-out-the-vote executive order challenged, heading to Supreme Court: 'Target welfare populations'


A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of President Biden’s voting access executive order will soon make its way to the Supreme Court in what some experts are calling “the most important legal issue” heading into the November elections.

A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers sued Biden and several federal agencies over Executive Order 14019 on “promoting access to voting,” which the president issued in March 2021.

The 27 GOP lawmakers, members of the state Freedom Caucus, argued that the order is essentially an executive get-out-the-vote effort targeting key demographics to benefit the president’s political party and own re-election, which they argue is unconstitutional with Congress having never enacted a law that grants such an action from the Oval Office.

Last month, a judge dismissed the case, finding that legislators lacked standing to bring the suit. But the group’s attorney says they will appeal to the Supreme Court. 

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The Supreme Court (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin/File)

“We think it’s really important for President Biden to be held accountable,” Erick Kaardal, attorney for the lawmakers, told Fox News Digital in an interview. 

“For him to violate such a big law when all the little people have to follow the laws, even little laws … it’s clear President Biden has issued an executive order without congressional enactments to get himself re-elected. It’s ridiculous,” Kaardal said. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, issued a statement saying the ruling was a “resounding defeat” for the Republicans’ “frivolous” lawsuit.

“In 2020, I defeated Donald Trump and his conspiracy theorist allies in court more than 40 times to defend Pennsylvanians’ votes and protect access to the ballot box,” Shapiro said, adding that “we’ve done it again by getting their frivolous effort to stop automatic voter registration in our commonwealth dismissed.”

Executive Order 14019 states that “executive departments and agencies should partner with State, local, Tribal, and territorial election officials to protect and promote the exercise of the right to vote, eliminate discrimination and other barriers to voting, and expand access to voter registration and accurate election information.”

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voting booth

Pennsylvania lawmakers sued President Biden over his Executive Order 14019 on “promoting access to voting.” (Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images/File)

Kaardal argued in legal filings that the executive order in turn – among other things – directed the Department of Health and Human Services to facilitate voter registrations; the Department of Housing and Urban Development to instruct more than 3,000 public housing authorities to facilitate registration drives in those units; the Department of Education to push state schools to register students; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue letters to state agencies that administer SNAP and WIC programs, instructing them to carry out voter-registration activities with federal funds.

The complaint also alleges that the executive order was “largely drafted by a third party, nongovernmental organization,” pointing to the left-leaning policy organization, Dēmos, which boasts of having “moved progressive issues from the movement to the mainstream.”

“The executive action taken by the President nullifies the votes of the individual legislators, violates the Electors Clause, violates the Elections Clause, and deprives the legislators of their particular rights,” the court document says.

The Elections Clause states that the “times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.” 

Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), which filed an amicus brief in the case, said that “it’s no wonder Team Biden is using their authority and resources to target welfare populations with a federally funded get-out-the-vote effort.” 

“If they are allowed to fully execute their plan, it could swing the election outcome,” he said. 

The Opportunity Solutions Project, the advocacy arm of FGA, found through their study published in February 2023 that Democrats gain a 30-point average among welfare recipients.

“[D]emocrats see a massive advantage among voters enrolled in welfare programs like food stamps and Medicaid. In fact, Democrats see their margins increase by more than 30 points among voters enrolled in welfare compared to low-income voters who have never been on welfare,” the study says.

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Biden, Trump

President Biden and former President Trump (Getty Images/File)

“To date, all of the federal agencies FGA has identified as taking active steps to carry out EO 14019 have one thing in common: They provide government welfare benefits and other services to groups of voters the vast majority of which have historically voted Democrat,” the groups friend-of-the-court brief states.

“[T]hrough this sweeping Order, the President commanded every executive agency of the federal government – with the narrow exception of independent agencies – to perform voter registration and mobilization activities regardless of whether those agencies are authorized to do so under federal law, and to carry out this Order in coordination with third-party groups ‘approved’ by the current administration,” FGA says in its friend-of-the-court brief.

“Even worse, this effort is being carried out in a secretive fashion despite loud and repeated calls for transparency from dozens of members of Congress, State Attorneys General, and Secretaries of State,” the brief states.

Currently, the FGA is fighting a lawsuit against the Department of Justice over FOIA-requested documents on how the agency is implementing the executive order.

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“This is, by far, the most important legal issue in the country heading into November. The outcome of this case, and similar cases, will decide how heavy the Biden administration’s thumb will push on the electoral scales,” said Bragdon.

Kaardal said he hopes the Supreme Court will weigh in ahead of the case moving forward in lower courts because he believes his clients have “the obvious winner” on the merits and that existing precedent at the high court will determine that his clients have standing.

He also said that according to what’s known as the Purcell doctrine, named after a 2006 election case, the Supreme Court said that courts should not change election rules too close to the election. Kaardal wants to petition the high court in the coming days to have the issue temporarily resolved by stopping the executive order while the case proceeds in lower courts.

The DOJ, arguing the case on behalf of the Biden administration, did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.



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