By a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld “faithless elector” laws, which require delegates to the Electoral College to vote the way they pledged for presidential candidates. Thirty-two states have such laws. Writing for the court, Justice Elana Kagan said that Article II of the Constitution gives “the instruction to each State to appoint, in whatever way it likes, as many electors as it has.” That includes penalizing electors who violate their pledges. Had the court ruled the other way, some commentators had speculated that electors chosen by the Republican Party might not cast their votes for President Trump in the 2020 Electoral College, given mainstream Republicans’ increasing disenchantment with him. Today’s decision eliminates that possibility.
The decision is Chiafalo et al. v. Washington; it also decided a similar case, Colorado Dept. of State v. Baca.