Federal judge shoots down “Hamilton Electors” on injunction

posted at 9:21 am on December 13, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

“Part of me thinks this is really a political stunt to prevent Mr. Trump from being president,” federal judge Wiley Daniel remarked during a hearing on a motion by rogue electors to overturn state law binding them to the choice of the voters. Upon further reflection, Judge Daniel ruled that it’s entirely a political stunt to overturn the results of this particular election. No dice, Daniel ruled:

A federal judge on Monday rejected an attempt by two Colorado electors to unbind their votes in the Electoral College, saying the effort designed to impede Donald Trump’s path to the White House is “a political stunt.”

U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel denied a request for a preliminary injunction to nullify a state law that requires presidential electors to vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote. To do otherwise, Daniel said in his ruling from the bench, “would undermine the electoral process.”

However, the “Hamilton Electors” say they’re not quite done. They will appeal Daniel’s ruling in order to get a judicial precedent that will free all members of the Electoral College to vote for whomever they please:

If the Colorado electors had been successful, it could have signaled that similar laws in more than two dozen other states could also be overturned, freeing a large number of electors to defect from Trump. Jason Wesoky, who represents the two electors, said he may seek an emergency appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals — the only chance his clients would have of blocking the Colorado law before they have to cast their votes.

Should the Colorado electors be freed, some of them hoped to persuade enough of their counterparts elsewhere to unite behind a Republican alternative like Mitt Romney. So far only one Republican elector has announced he won’t vote for Trump. The president-elect won 306 electors last month to Clinton’s 232.

It’s worth noting that Colorado voted for Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, so these electors aren’t taking anything away from the man who won the Electoral College vote on Election Night. Only one Trump elector has publicly stated that he plans to become a “faithless elector” on December 19th. Politico reports that the GOP has an active whip operation to keep track of the status of its other electors, and they see no evidence of any other faithless electors on the horizon:

Two RNC sources familiar with the effort said the committee — with the assistance of state Republican parties and the Trump campaign — has been in touch with most of the GOP electors multiple times, and has concluded that only one is a risk to cast a vote against Trump on Dec. 19, when the Electoral College meets. …

“The state Republican parties in the states that went for Trump are heavily invested in this process,” said one of the RNC sources. “It’s a matter of personal pride for a state party chairman and a state party to ensure that all the electors that their people elected vote, and vote in the manner in which they’re supposed to.”

State party leaders, the RNC sources said, are in frequent communication with electors through phone calls and letters. They have identified multiple points of contact for the GOP electors and also monitor their social media, all to guard against the prospect of electors voting for someone other than Trump.

Right now, it appears that Hillary Clinton will lose more electors than will Donald Trump, which would be the most 2016 thing ever. Given that elector slates are chosen by state parties and electors selected for their loyalty, don’t expect more than a handful of changes in either direction.


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