Earlier today, when Ed Morrissey jumped on the news that the Supreme Court had decided against the faithless electors in Chiafalo et al v Washington, he didn’t seem to find the unanimous ruling surprising or, presumably, objectionable. And generally speaking, when you can get all nine of the justices from both sides of the aisle to agree on anything these days, it might be a positive sign of our judiciary working as intended. Also, from a purely emotional point of view, as I’ve said here before, the ruling is something of a relief because I wouldn’t like to see an election as decided by the voters overturned by the decision(s) of one or a handful of appointed political dandies who were awarded a position as an elector in a state party beauty contest.
But with all of that said, my original misgivings about how the court wound up deciding this case remain. The one really weak aspect of the unanimous decision as written by Elena Kagen is best highlighted in this excerpt from the NBC News coverage of the decision. (Emphasis added)
Writing for the court, Justice Elena Kagan said the Constitution gives states far-reaching authority over choosing presidential electors. That includes the power to set conditions on an elector’s appointment, “that is to say, what the elector must do for the appointment to take effect.”
What’s more, she wrote, “nothing in the Constitution expressly prohibits states from taking away president electors’ voting discretion.” The ruling aligns with “the trust of a nation that here, We the People rule,” Kagan said.