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The people who choose the President

43 minutes

At the end of its 2020 term, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on what might seem like an obscure question in Constitutional law, but could have huge ramifications in elections this November and beyond. We dive into the ruling on "faithless electors" in this episode from The Democracy Group podcast network.

Democracy Works podcast host and producer Jenna Spinelle leads a discussion with:

  • Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, founder of Equal Citizens, and host of  the podcast Another Way by Lawrence Lessig. Lessig and Equal Citizens Executive Director Jason Harrow argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the electors in Washington and Colorado.
  • Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One and one of the nation’s foremost experts on Congress and ethics in politics. Issue One was part of an amicus brief filed by the Campaign Legal Center on behalf of the states.
  • Michael Baranowski, associate professor of political science at Northern Kentucky University and host of The Politics Guys, a bipartisan American politics and policy podcast. Baranowski is an expert on political institutions and discusses the practical implications of the Supreme Court's decision with Lessig in the second half of the episode.

The first half of the episode focuses on the Supreme Court's decisions in Chafalo v. Washington and Baca v. Colorado. Lessig and McGehee explain what led them to get involved in the cases and have a spirited discussion about the role special interests could play in the Electoral College.

Then, Lessig and Baranowski discuss the Supreme Court's opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan, and how to make the Electoral College more democratic though measures like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

A huge thank you to The Democracy Group Network Manager Katie DeFiore for editing this episode!

Note: Severe thunderstorms hit Washington, D.C. when we recorded this episode on July 22, 2020 and Meredith McGehee lost power halfway through. We were not able to get her back on the line before the end of the recording session. We apologize and are grateful for the time she was able to join us!

Additional Information

Equal Citizens

Issue One

The Democracy Group podcast network

The Politics Guys podcast

More episodes from Democracy Works

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