Washington, DC – Today, attorneys at Equal Citizens petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case about controlling the votes of presidential electors cases in order to resolve a conflict between courts in Washington and Colorado. If the Supreme Court accepts the case, it would issue a decision by the summer of 2020, well before the presidential election.
Attorney Jason Harrow of Equal Citizens added, “With this petition, we are asking the Supreme Court to resolve a critical question that has gone strangely unanswered for two centuries: who are presidential electors, and can state officials force them to vote for certain presidential candidates? With courts around the country split on the answer, the Supreme Court should step in and resolve this question so that everyone knows the rules of the road for 2020 and beyond.”
The presidential electors are represented by Harvard Law Professor and Equal Citizens Founder Lawrence Lessig, his colleague at Equal Citizens Jason Harrow, and his colleagues, Sumeer Singla, Daniel Brown and Hunter Abell at Williams Kastner, and Jonah Harrison of Arête Law in Seattle.
In May, the Washington Supreme Court upheld unprecedented fines on three presidential electors who did not vote for Clinton or Trump. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver issued a landmark opinion disagreeing and confirming that presidential electors have the constitutional right to vote for whoever they please, and cannot be bound to vote for the state’s popular vote winner. That court closely analyzed the Constitution’s text and canvassed centuries of history and concluded that “the Constitution provides presidential electors with discretion in casting their votes for President and Vice President.”
The Washington electors are asking the Supreme Court to review this conflict. The split makes review of this unresolved question by the U.S. Supreme Court very likely.