The Supreme Court had its say on the matter during the always-eventful last week of the term. To repeat a contention often made in these columns, the High Court has evolved into an essentially political institution, robed in the judiciary’s apolitical veneer. Given that we are a deeply divided nation, that the late-term cases are usually the most controversial, and that the four left-leaning justices — those appointed by Democratic presidents Clinton and Obama — tend to vote as a bloc in these cliffhanger rulings, one doesn’t expect many 9–0 decisions when the calendar reaches late June (let alone July).
Yet there it was on Monday: Chiafalo v. Washington. At issue was the question of “faithless electors.” Specifically, may a state enforce the pledge it compels electors to make to vote for the presidential candidate who wins the state’s popular vote? The Court’s holding that states have the power to do so was unanimous. Significantly, though, the Court was not of one mind about why.
The case is worth our attention because of what’s been going on under the radar.