By Robert A. Vella
Late on Tuesday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that shocked legal scholars and democracy proponents across the nation. The decision clearly asserts that electors selected by the six states within its jurisdiction (Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, end Wyoming) for the Electoral College (used in U.S. presidential elections) are free to vote any way they choose regardless of the popular vote result in their state or how their respective political parties want them to vote. Let that settle in for a moment, dear readers. As undemocratic as the Electoral College is, this ruling eviscerates the very foundation of a representative democracy – i.e. that the people elect their representatives in government under the principle of one person, one vote. If the 10th Circuit’s decision is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, then the national popular vote could become completely superfluous and presidents would be elected by just 538 individuals under no constraints whatsoever. Politicians like Donald Trump, who use bribery and intimidation tactics to acquire wealth and power, must be licking their chops right now.
It is unclear how this ruling might affect the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact movement which is attempting to circumvent the inherently undemocratic Electoral College. Here is the constitutional basis for the NPVIC from Wikipedia:
The compact would modify the way participating states implement Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires each state legislature to define a method to appoint its electors to vote in the Electoral College. The Constitution does not mandate any particular legislative scheme for selecting electors, and instead vests state legislatures with the exclusive power to choose how to allocate their states’ electors (although systems that violate the 14th Amendment, which mandates equal protection of law and prohibits racial discrimination, would be prohibited).
Meanwhile, the growing international backlash against President Trump’s raging megalomania is breaking down diplomatic relations and U.S. cooperation with foreign countries to the point where world leaders are expressing grave concern and are taking unusual steps to disengage from his increasingly isolated administration. As the president becomes more and more frustrated with political realities which contradict his insular views of himself as a leader, his demented ego is running so amok that he is now openly equating himself to a king and to a messiah.
A dangerous precedent
“This issue could be a ticking time bomb in our divided politics. It’s not hard to imagine how a single faithless elector, voting differently than his or her state did, could swing a close presidential election,” said Mark Murray, NBC News senior political editor.
It hasn’t been much of an issue in American political history because when an elector refuses to follow the results of a state’s popular vote, the state simply throws the ballot away. But Tuesday’s ruling says states cannot do that.
A total of 30 states have laws that bind electors, requiring them to cast their votes for whichever candidate won that state’s popular vote. But the laws are weak, providing only nominal penalties for what are known as “faithless electors” who fail to conform to the popular vote.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1952 that states do not violate the Constitution when they require electors to pledge that they will abide by the popular vote. But the justices have never said whether it is constitutional to enforce those pledges.
“This court decision takes power from Colorado voters and sets a dangerous precedent,” said Jena Griswold, Colorado’s secretary of state. “Our nation stands on the principle of one person, one vote. We are reviewing this decision with our attorneys, and will vigorously protect Colorado voters.”
The federal court ruling conflicts with a decision from Washington state’s Supreme Court in May, which said electors must follow the results of the popular vote. “The power of electors to vote comes from the state, and the elector has no personal right to that role,” the court said.
A deep crisis in democracy
The Group of Seven (G-7) summit is set to end without a joint communique for the first time in its 44-year history, after French President Emmanuel Macron decided to abandon the tradition citing “a very deep crisis of democracy.”
It will be the first time since meetings began in 1975 that the forum has failed to end a summit without an agreed statement, laying bare the deepening rift between heads of state from seven of the world’s largest economies.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the G-7 meeting at a news conference in Paris on Wednesday, Macron said an attempt to produce a joint communique would most likely be a “pointless” exercise.
REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland’s leader has announced that she will skip U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to her Nordic nation, opting instead to keep “prior commitments” by attending a trade union conference and meetings in Sweden.
“This is unprecedented for an Icelandic prime minister,” historian Thor Whitehead told The Associated Press. “I doubt any other Western leader would decide to address a friendly conference abroad instead of welcoming a major foreign ally.”
Trump’s megalomania is running amok
President Trump decided long ago that it would be smart politics for him to yoke his administration to Israel and to try to brand the Democratic Party as anti-Semitic.
He set about executing a pro-Israel checklist: moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the Golan Heights as part of sovereign Israel, and taking a hard line against Iran. And he promoted himself as the greatest president — a deity even — for Jewish people.
Yet Trump has become flummoxed that Jewish Americans are not in turn lining up to support his reelection, according to people familiar with his thinking, and he has lashed out in predictable fashion.
Still, Trump tweeted a quote early Wednesday from Wayne Allyn Root, a noted conspiracy theorist and conservative radio host in Nevada, who praised Trump on Newsmax and lamented that a majority of Jews vote for Democrats.
“President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America … He’s like the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God,” Trump quoted Root as saying.
Jews do not believe in a second coming.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared himself “the chosen one” as he defended his administration’s actions in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that his administration was seriously looking at ending the right of citizenship for U.S.-born children of noncitizens and people who immigrated to the United States illegally.
The Republican president had told Axios news website in October 2018 that he would end “birthright citizenship” through an executive order. Experts have said such a move would run afoul of the U.S. Constitution.
The Constitution’s 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War to ensure that black Americans had full citizenship rights, granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”
As federal indictments stack up against dozens of undocumented immigrants rounded up in workplace raids in Mississippi, no charges have been filed against employers who immigration officials believe knowingly hired them, according to online court documents.