Boies, Lessig & Weld challenge the Electoral College system

Any time David Boies does anything, I think it’s worth our attention. He’s not always on the same side I would be, but he is one of the attorneys at the forefront of challenging a lot of what is wrong in this country, on the basis that it conflicts with the framework of the Constitution.

Boies is part of a group suing two blue states (California, Massachusetts) & two red ones (Texas, South Carolina) in a bid to change the Electoral College system. Not a moment too soon. From Roll Call:

They argue the winner-take-all format of the Electoral College disenfranchises numerous voters and that it violates the principle of “one person, one vote.” Boies said the Electoral College system leads to candidates only campaigning to certain groups of voters and ignoring others. “You shouldn’t have voters going to the polls knowing their votes don’t count,” Boies said to Judge Patti B. Saris. “That’s why political candidates don’t come here to campaign the same way they go to Ohio or Florida or other so-called battleground states.”

Hillary Clinton took New Jersey in 2016 over Donald Trump 55-41%. Our 14 electoral college votes went to Clinton/Kaine. Of course, our state is just as blue as MA or CA (though probably not as progressive). But what we really are is a Democratic Party ATM, cozy with party machines, and the center-right. And as long as that continues, I don’t know that we’re as ripe as states like those to help lead change. But I digress –

The other two eyebrow-raisers involved? Bill Weld, past Republican Massachusetts governor last seen as Libertarian VP candidate in 2016, and Lawrence Lessig, constitutional scholar and a man so interesting that The West Wing built an episode around his real-life exploits (got Netflix? It’s The Wake Up Call, Season 6).

On the other side? Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, a Dem, is defending the state on behalf of Secretary of the Commonwealth (read Secy of State) William Galvin and Gov. Charlie Baker, who is a Republican.

Just a few things in case you don’t know the name David Boies:

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Comment (1)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    Was the character that was played by Christopher Lloyd in that West Wing episode based on Lessig? I never connected those dots before.

    Our state’s ripeness for change or lack thereof has nothing to do with the Electoral College or our state’s role as a Democratic establishment ATM. It has everything to do with our community’s ability and willingness to organize and play the game and win it by the screwed up rules that have been set up in this state.

    The fact that Murphy received less than 50% of the vote in 2017 and that as many people voted for a candidate as unqualified and unserious as Lisa McCormick as they did tells me that that our state is more than ripe enough for change if we are willing to make that change happen.

    That said, I have no problem with doing away with the Electoral College. I just don’t think that it should be used as a crutch to explain why our state’s politics are as screwed up as they are.


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