John Livingston News

Golf and the Supreme Court

As a golfer, I have developed a deep reverence for not only the rules of the game, but also a respect for the underlying ethics and principles that serve as the foundation for all forms of competition—from the US Open and the Masters to a crew game with skins game side bets on Friday morning at the Riverside Club. This is important as I try to explain to my progressive friends why it is appropriate for the Supreme Court to intervene in the US Presidential Election.

As a Conservative with a deep respect for Constitution and its underlying principles, I believe that as in all elections the Constitution and subsequent Supreme Court Rulings have held that it is the States alone that are responsible for the administration and the assurance of the integrity of all elections. “All elections are local” and the people don’t actually vote for the President—they vote for Electors who are themselves citizens of the State and they then vote for President. This year I actually voted for a slate of 4 electors led by our Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin. This occurs in every State. None of us vote for Presidential candidates, we vote for electors. The US Supreme Court has always made sure that the States run elections and the Federal Government shouldn’t interfere. Some States like Maine and Nebraska assign electoral votes by Congressional District, but most States follow a “winner take all” rule so if a Presidential candidate wins the popular vote in the State by one vote, they get all the Electoral votes.

In competitive golf, there is the idea that you are playing your match not only against the course and the golfers in your group but also against the “field”—everybody playing in the competition. So if I am playing in a foursome in the club championship and one of my fellow competitors has a 2 foot putt I don’t give it to him. Not because I’m being officious or because I don’t like my fellow competitor, but because I have an ethical obligation to “protect the field”—there may be other players not playing in my group who would be affected by that 2 ft. putt. I have an obligation to follow the rule to protect the field. In many tournaments, there are over 100 people in the field and you are only playing with 3 other people in your group. This obligation to the field is not only to protect the score and the final outcome, but by so doing you are establishing a principle that will be followed by future golfers as they continue the tradition of fair competition. In a true competition as soon as one participant decides not to play by the rules—the whole competition is compromised, not just your foursome. And future competitions are affected.

The Presidential Election is unique because it is our only National Election. My one vote in Idaho is marked against all votes cast in every State. If one vote in Philadelphia is fraudulent then it cancels my vote in Idaho. Yes, elections should be run by the States, but the Supreme Court of the United States has an obligation to protect the sanctity and value of my vote—everybody’s individual vote. An illegal vote dilutes the political value of every individual legal vote. The Supreme Court has an obligation to “protect the field” in the Presidential election. When issues of “vote harvesting” and third person collection of ballots—third parties are being paid by the DNC to collect ballots and submit them to local Boards of Election. Isn’t there a basic chain of custody issue involved when individual ballots are collected by non-government third parties? Who is actually filling out the ballot—the elector or the third party? Delaying the counting of mail in ballots only facilitates fraud as a target or a floor is set on the number needed to be made up in order to insure victory for a specific candidate.

I voted absentee my entire Navy career, many times while out of country. In order to do so, I had to ask for the ballot, my status as a citizen of my State along with my local address and military circumstances were confirmed and I was qualified to receive a ballot. None of this has happened in the “mail in states” of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and 20 others. Legal ballots should all be counted. Ballots that cannot be qualified or that are handled by “third-party agents” should be disqualified.

If only uncompromised ballots had been counted President Trump would have been easily elected.

My vote in Idaho is being devalued. The Supreme Court has an obligation to “protect the field”. If they don’t faction (political parties) will game the system. James Madison argued in Federalist 10 —”The Violence of Faction”:

Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.

He further argued regarding the role of government—the courts.

“It would make more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice their vicious acts by which elections are often carried”

My vote in Idaho is joined by every other citizen’s vote in every other State. This makes the issue a Federal issue. The Supreme Court has an obligation to “protect the field” and to protect my vote.

The tragedy of giving this “two foot putt” to the Democrats today, is that the whole game to be played out in the future by our children and grandchildren will be a very different game.

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