Above is link to the Opinion of the Court in MICHEAL BACA; POLLY BACA; ROBERT NEMANICH, Plaintiffs - Appellants, v. COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Defendant - Appellee.
This appeal was heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, by United States Circuit Judges Mary Beck Briscoe, Jerome Holmes and Carolyn B. McHugh. McHugh wrote for the majority, joined by Holmes, Briscoe dissented.
The District Judge trying the case in the District of Colorado had dismissed the case as moot. The 10th Circuit partially reversed that judgement, stating that while it is obviously too late to do anything regarding the 2016 elections, that the Plaintiffs were still entitled to a declaratory judgement. Judge Briscoe, in dissent, would have sustained the District Court’s decision in its entirety, dismissing the case for mootness.
The impact of this decision cannot be overstated, though, at the moment, is only binding on District Courts and States within the 10th Circuit.
Presidential Electors, once duly appointed, cannot be bound to vote in any way, but are complete free agents to vote for whomever they please, for whatever reason they please. States cannot bind them by law and cannot punish them for voting as they please.
Most notably, this essentially completely undermines the National Interstate Popular Vote Compact, making it impossible to take effect. The Compact essentially dies with this decision.
The Presidential Elector in this case had hoped to deny Trump the election, by allying with other Electors to deny Trump a majority in the Electoral College. Colorado removed him and replaced him with another elector. The above court ruling now prevents Colorado and other States in the 10th Circuit from doing so and may encourage District Courts in other Circuits to take a similar action.
Probably a 100% certainty that Colorado files a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court in this case. The court’s textualist underpinnings, however, would seem to favor Baca.
The majority opinion runs 114 pages, the dissent is 7 pages.
I agree with the Opinion of the 10th Circuit. I think issuing a declaratory judgement in this instance was proper and I believe that plain text of the Constitution and long standing precedent favor complete free will for Presidential Electors.
I also believe this ruling will kick efforts to pass a Constitutional Amendment to abolish the Electoral College into high gear, but I believe both passage of such an Amendment in Congress and ratification by the States is an extreme long-shot.