I took an oath to our nation and the Constitution when I volunteered for the Marines and when I was first sworn in to represent Collin County in Congress in 2019. On Sunday, I took this oath again as a returning member of the House of Representatives for the 117th Congress.
As a constitutional conservative, I have always considered our founding document to be my North Star when deliberating public policy. Our founding fathers intentionally created a republic separating the national and state governments, known as federalism. This principle prevents the federal government from gaining too much control and protects the people from a powerful, centralized government.
In accordance with the Constitution, I will vote to accept the electoral votes certified by every state.
The 117th Congress began with a constitutional debate unlike any in recent history. I know good friends and respected conservatives, all loyal to the Constitution and our Republic, who interpret the matter on both sides. However, in forming my decision, I carefully examined the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the Electoral Count Act, which define the Electoral College process. These texts clearly grant the power to appoint electors to the respective states without needing approval from the federal government. Consistent with the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, power not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution rests with the respective states.
This view, shared by stalwart conservatives like Senators Mike Lee, Tom Cotton, and many conservatives in the House, including my Texas classmate, Congressman Chip Roy, is further supported by historical precedent.
The founders emphatically objected to a parliamentary system, in which the legislative body selects the executive. This view was so ardently held, the Constitution explicitly prohibits members of Congress from serving as electors.
By objecting to electors, Congress would essentially establish veto power over a state’s electoral votes, mutating the process to elect our president into an ad hoc parliamentary hybrid. With such precedent, members of Congress could object for any reason, further distorting the Constitution to fit the political whim of the moment. For example, this precedent could allow Congress to object to Texas’ electoral votes because our state added an extra week of early voting during the COVID-19 pandemic without legislative approval. More cynically, liberal members of Congress who oppose Texas’ voter ID laws could move to throw out our electors. It only takes a few iterations until our Republic becomes a Parliamentary government.
The Constitution directs Congress to defer to the judgment of the states. Importantly, at the time of the vote, not a single state legislature formally, or informally, called on Congress to object to their electors. Notably, five of the six states in question are led by Republican legislative majorities.
Like so many Texans, I am disappointed in the 2020 presidential election, both in the outcome and for the manner in which it was conducted in some jurisdictions across the country.
My decision against objecting to state electors runs counter to my immediate political objectives. I campaigned and personally contacted thousands of voters in Collin County in support of President Donald Trump and our Republican ticket. Quite frankly, like many Texans, I am anxious for the future of our country.
Despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi commanding the smallest majority in over two decades, the socialist wing of the Democrat Party has already effectively taken over the agenda within the House of Representatives. As we await final election results from Georgia, it appears Senate Democrats may take the majority, and a self-declared socialist would likely chair the Senate Budget Committee. President-elect Joe Biden shows little willingness to stand up to the radical left, and instead, signals he will join their efforts to raise taxes, strip Americans of their freedoms, and transfer even more power from the people to a centralized big-government state.
As a Marine, I fought to defend our freedom abroad. Here at home, fair elections form the core of our democracy and both political parties should seek a credible and trustworthy election process. With the adoption of mass unsolicited mail voting, the abolishment of several election security safeguards, dismissal of vote irregularities, and a laissez-faire attitude toward voter fraud, millions of Americans have lost confidence in our election process. The American people deserve to have their questions answered.
For my part, I will continue to fight to protect our liberty from those who wish to transform America into a socialist nation. We stand at a critical crossroads and our actions now, and in the coming years, will influence the future of our nation. I embrace this reality and the challenges ahead and I will work to overcome these obstacles with the Constitution guiding my path.
Van Taylor represents the Third Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives.