Major ruling out of the 10th Circuit regarding Presidential Electors (Baca v Colorado Department of State)

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.

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I understand that the court ruled that the Electors meeting and voting was a federal thing and the states couldn’t invalidate an electors vote or remove them.
But, might a state 1) require a loyalty pledge and after a dis-loyal vote, punish the elector for violating the pledge.

It would seem, from my quick reading of the conclusion, that States would be absolutely barred from using loyalty pledges and punishing an elector.

I don’t like this. Why have a popular vote if the “electors” can ignore it and choose who they want?

Get rid of them.

Not going to happen. The Constitutional Amendment required would have to pass the House of Representatives by a 290-145 (or greater) margin. Won’t happen. It would have to pass the Senate by a 67 to 33 (or greater) margin. Won’t happen. It would have to be ratified by 38 States. Won’t happen.

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Excellent news.


Some of those states that would have to pass such an amendment would be voting against their own self interests and for a reduction of their influence.

Excellent news, indeed. Let’s hope it kills the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” initiative.


Silly little fantasies by libs who think they can just change the Constitution at will. :wink:


How does an appeals court ruling kill anything.

It’s not SCOTUS.

Therefore can be reversed.


I disagree. If…you’ve been appointed to vote a certain way, then either refuse the job or do it as promised? Otherwise…“we” are motivating liars.


This is indeed an interesting case.

If…a woman is here…ILLEGALLY…and gives birth…the child should NOT become an automatic citizen…PERIOD. “We” are simply rewarding illegal activity and NOTHING more. This is bad law and should be revoked…IMMEDIATELY.

By Congress, not edict.


This is a bad ruling. There is nothing that stops a political party from appointing people who will vote for their candidate regardless of what the people vote for. Why even have the facade of Election Day?


I guess that was inevitable.

I think, eventually, Americans will want to ensure a bit more accountability in selecting their executive than simply requesting that some elite comply with the will of the voters if they feel like it.

They’ve shown themselves to be worthless in their original purpose, so the least that should be done is add an amendment that forces electors to automatically vote according to the guidelines of their state, whether that be winner-take-all, proportional, or the compact idea.

If…this is what it takes to get Congress to act, I’m for it? Members of Congress have had decades to deal with illegal immigration and have NOT done it. They lied in 1986 and kicked the can of their promise down the road. Here “we” are today…and Trump is acting. I’m all for it but I also agree that it will take an act of Congress…to make it standing law.


Yes. Congress needs to validate. If Congress was functional I am set against this. Since Congress refuses to work with the executive, I am fine with spurring action by executive fiat.


The Framers were all about representation, rather than direct democracy.
The Constitution gives electors the job of being a member of the Electoral College, which then elects POTUS.

The Framers were happy with indirect selection of the senate, through state legislators, they were also happy with indirect selection of POTUS, by the College.

No work arounds.