Caseythoughts It's interesting to hear and read the anguished cries of many punsters and pundits, those opinion makers of all persuasions, that 'this' or 'that' occurrence or issue or personage is dividing America or threatening our democratic republic ideals. By the way, I use the term democratic republic because that's essentially what we are. Communist states that still call themselves democratic republics are liars, but when they nationalize and control the media you can misuse any words and especially concepts to fit your 'ends'. Thus, People's Democratic Republic of Korea, People's Democratic Republic of the Congo, People's Democratic Republic of China, etc.

So, back to the gnashing of teeth about what's dividing America, what's a threat, etc. The impeachment trial and the resultant acquittal (and Romney's interesting vote and reasoning) have been raising questions of America's viability and ability to survive present and future challenges. I have been watching something that hasn't garnered an awful lot of publicity but, in my humble opinion, has the potential to blow some simplistic political punditry and prognostication (disagreements du jour of the news cycle) out of the water. And it will come to a head between April and June, right in the middle of the political jousting. So far, the media seems to have missed its enormous implications.

If you think the argument about Hillary Clinton getting over two million votes more than Donald Trump but losing the election in the Electoral College is cause for a scream or two, and a resultant cry for abolishing the Constitutional requirement for indirect election of the President (read: Electoral College), try these next paragraphs for their 'impact' on America's future, beginning election night, in November 2020.

A gentleman in Colorado by the name of Michael Baca did a no-no as an appointed elector (per Constitution, Article II, paragraphs 2 and 3) after the popular election in 2016. Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote in Colorado with a majority of votes, but Baca cast his vote for John Kasich. Baca was replaced for his intransigence and he sued along with the remnants of the Kasich organization supporters.

A divided US Court of Appeals sided with Baca last year, ruling against Colorado, stating that Colorado had violated the Constitution by nullifying his vote, thus raising the constitutional question required for federal courts to address. I know, it's becoming confusing, but stick with me. The Appeals Court in this constitutional case said that while a state has the power to pick its electors, those electors have the right to vote for whom they choose.

This ruling conflicts with a Washington State Supreme Court case where a 'faithless elector' cast a vote for Colin Powell in 2016 and was fined for not casting the vote for the Washington state popular vote winner, which was Clinton.

Note: I will be referring to the original idea of the Electoral College in the next column as well as who the electors actually were envisioned to 'be', but I need to say now that it is no truism things have changed in the 200+ years since 1789, and the idea of preventing a 'rabble' from electing a Chief Executive was actually a minor issue, but more on that soon.

The case has now come to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and they are fast-tracking it as a classic case of collision of 'rights' or laws involving the Constitution as well as the ability of the court to review state laws in conflict with the federal Constitution. The arguments are set for April, so that a decision would be handed down in June, which could set up an incredible situation in the 2020 presidential election (not to mention throw the issue of how to choose electors into chaos in most of the fifty states and District of Columbia (which has three electors). There is now in existence a 'compact' signed by thirty states that could eliminate the Electoral College without a constitutional amendment, but more on that next week.

According to Brent Kendall of the Wall Street Journal, there were ten 'faithless electors' in the 2016 election, casting ballots for other than the majority winner in these states, but the Colorado and Washington cases have spawned the classic court battles which will have enormous implications for this coming presidential election. Don't you just love the quaintness and sound of the phrase 'faithless elector'? The result of whatever the Supreme Court (supposedly a 'conservative' court, although I've a feeling that it won't divide quite that easily on a case like this) decides will have deep-seated and enormous, tsunami-like effects upon our electoral system, our voting, the future of the Electoral College, our Constitutional rights and privileges, not to mention urban vs rural interests and smaller vs larger states, quite akin to the arguments put forward in Philadelphia in 1787.

There are some incredible and deep-seated arguments emanating from both ideological camps (sounds better than 'sides' don't you think?) and little known sidelights of history and national elections that are leading up to this culmination of years of controversy over the Electoral College, and I'm going to focus on those arguments, and some presidential election history tidbits which I think you'll like and remark in surprise, in the next 'Thoughts' so I can give adequate space and time to what is bound to prove to be an historic and potentially game-changing Supreme Court hearing and decision. Stay tuned for next Friday's edition, as I promise to dive into this one deeply and as best and factually as I can.