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TN attorney general calls Van Huss' bill prohibiting U.N. election observers 'constitutionally suspect'

Hank Hayes • Mar 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Tennessee legislation prohibiting United Nations’ representatives from observing elections in the state is “constitutionally suspect,” according to a state attorney general’s opinion.

The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, calls for U.N. representatives to face a misdemeanor offense if caught watching elections at state polling locations.

But the attorney general’s office said that because of the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution, U.N. officials would be immune from prosecution under federal law.

“The federal government as part of its foreign affairs policy has decided to participate in the United Nations and has chosen to participate in reciprocal international programs regarding the observation of elections in participating countries by representatives of other participating countries,” the attorney general’s opinion said. “The Supremacy Clause precludes a state from interfering with the United States government’s exercise of its foreign affairs policy under federal law.”

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