☕ Cover: Washington D.C.
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: A guard in Scotland went viral for protecting a dog waiting outside a store from the rain.
📰 TOP STORY
Keep the Faith: On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld state laws requiring those chosen for the Electoral College to back the popular winner in their state’s presidential race. In plain English, this ruling means that states can fine or remove “faithless electors” who refuse to cast their votes for the presidential candidate they were pledged to support. The vote was unanimous. Remember, “a faithless elector is an individual in the Electoral College who decides not to vote for their own registered party’s candidate,” according to Study.com. “Faithless electors may act alone, or join with other electors with each committing to casting their votes for a particular candidate outside their party.” In 2016, a group of Democratic electors voted for moderate Republicans instead of Hillary Clinton in an unsuccessful effort to convince Republican electors to vote for somebody besides President Trump. Both Democrats and Republicans feared that if the Supreme Court did not issue a ruling on the faithless electors issue, a close election in 2020 could see just a handful of electors move to sway the result. The arguments from each side below are republished from our initial post about faithless electors in May, however, the final section is updated to include commentary from the Supreme Court’s latest ruling:
Proponents of unbinding electors from their state’s results argued that the Constitution gives them the right to vote as they choose. Michael Baca, Polly Baca, and Robert W. Nemanich were presidential electors in the 2016 election. They did not vote for their pledged candidate (Hillary Clinton), and they were at the center of the Supreme Court case. In a Washington Post opinion piece, they wrote: “We are here to say conclusively: We are not robots. We are human beings. We should be allowed the ‘vote’ the Framers of our Constitution gave us, one based on our honor and discretion.” They challenged their respective states’ punitive actions against them on the basis that the 20th Amendment of the Constitution, which allows them the discretion to make their own choice. They believe their federal rights, which are guaranteed by the Constitution, are being stifled by the laws of their states, which mandate them to vote for the pledged candidate. For what it’s worth, Micheal Baca of Colorado tried to cast his presidential ballot for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican even though Democrat Hillary Clinton won the state’s popular vote over Donald Trump.
Critics of “faithless electors” believe the Constitution leaves the selection and regulation of electors to the state. Unlike those in favor of electors being allowed to vote freely, opponents do not believe the Constitution inherently provides presidential electors with the ability to choose whomever they please. In their view, it is not unconstitutional for a state to compel an electors’ pledge. “In the absence of a constitutional restriction on states’ authority, federalism ought to carry the day,” The Editorial Board at the Wall Street Journal argued. They continue, “If there had been a consensus around Electoral College independence, it would have been protected in the Constitution.” Critics also emphasized that in their creation of the Electoral College, the framers of the Constitution did not consider political parties as they presently exist. In addition, some detractors expressed a fear of “rogue electors” attempting to undermine and subvert the results of an election.
Flag This: Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the court’s opinion, said, “The Constitution’s text and the nation’s history both support allowing a state to enforce an elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee — and the state voters’ choice — for President.” Justice Samuel Alito added that if the popular vote is close, the possibility of “changing just a few votes” [in the Electoral College] would rationally “prompt the losing party … to launch a massive campaign to try to influence electors, and there would be a long period of uncertainty about who the next president was going to be.” Similarly, Justice Brett Kavanaugh alluded to what he called “the chaos principle of judging, which suggests that if it’s a close call … we shouldn’t facilitate or create chaos.” It’s interesting to note that Monday’s ruling does not completely bar the possibility that there could be faithless electors in the future. The Supreme court ruled that states can require their electors to vote for the popular winner, not that they must.
🦅 US NEWS
Court Orders Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down
“A court has ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down, delivering a victory for tribes that have opposed it,” Rachel Frazin reports for The Hill. Background: “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has sued over the controversial pipeline, which crosses native lands and has drawn protesters from across the country. The 1,200-mile project carries oil from North Dakota to Illinois.” Flashback: “President Trump directed a permit for the pipeline to be issued during his first week in office, reversing an Obama administration decision to deny the permit.”
- Flag This: “The Monday decision follows the recently announced cancellation of the separate Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would have carried natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina.” Keep reading.
Trump administration reveals thousands of small business aid recipients
“The Trump administration on Monday revealed the names of more than 650,000 employers that secured billions of dollars in small business aid designed to avert mass layoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Zachary Warmbrodt reports for POLITICO. Why it matters: “The release marked the biggest disclosure yet of the record amount of bailout funds authorized by Congress during the coronavirus outbreak. It has huge consequences for lawmakers as negotiations begin on the next economic relief package, including additional support for businesses. Lawmakers say they want to target aid at hard-hit employers, but they’ve had little visibility into where the first wave of money went.”
- Flag This: “The release of data for loans larger than $150,000 divulges just a minority of the program’s total borrowers — more than 80 percent of the loans were below that threshold — but it marked a significant step forward in transparency after the administration for months resisted requests by lawmakers and news organizations to share the recipients of the funds.” Here are the notable recipients.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
“China and India began pulling back troops from the site of a deadly border clash, as Beijing opened another front in the region’s territorial disputes with a new claim in nearby Bhutan,” Sha Hua and Rajesh Roy report for the Wall Street Journal. Why it matters: “The troop movements came two days after an Indian newspaper reported a brewing conflict between Beijing and Bhutan over a wildlife sanctuary involving what the Bhutanese government and experts said is a new territorial claim.”
- Flag This: “Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been pursuing an increasingly aggressive approach to asserting territorial claims along the country’s periphery. The resulting tensions have raised expectations that India could draw closer to the U.S. and other Asian countries for help in fending off Beijing’s pressure.”
UK imposes sanctions against human rights abusers
“The UK is imposing sanctions on 49 people and organizations behind the most ‘notorious’ human rights abuses of recent years,” the BBC reported Monday. “Individuals implicated in the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 will have their UK assets frozen and banned from entering the country. And Saudi Arabian officials involved in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are also being targeted.” Why it matters: “The UK’s new sanctions’ regime is significant. It marks the first time Britain has had its own independent scheme focused entirely on tackling human rights abuses. Until now, it has almost always had to act in concert with the EU. The government wants the UK to be seen as a leading defender of international rules and human rights. These sanctions are a central part of that policy.”
- Flag This: “One key test will be whether it can get support from other countries. The United States and Canada have similar schemes, the EU is working on its own version. Sanctions are always more powerful if imposed collectively.” Keep reading.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Uber agrees to buy food-delivery service Postmates
Uber agreed to buy Postmates, the fourth-largest U.S. delivery food service, for $2.65 billion in stock. Uber had attempted to acquire GrubHub last month but talks failed. Uber’s deal for Postmates will likely draw less regulatory scrutiny than an acquisition of GrubHub. Keep reading.
President Donald Trump calls out Bubba Wallace, NASCAR in tweet
President Donald Trump called out driver Bubba Wallace on Monday, alleging that a noose found in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway last month was a hoax and questioning NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag from the sport. Keep reading.
WhatsApp to pause processing law-enforcement requests for user data in Hong Kong
Facebook WhatsApp messaging service said on Monday it had “paused” processing law enforcement requests for user data in Hong Kong. Why it matters: Hong Kong residents are worried that the Chinese government could scan messages or posts that they deem to be in violation of the new national security law, cracking down on pro-democracy protesters. Keep reading.
📢 PRESENTED BY KEYSMART
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
US President Donald Trump has ordered the creation of a “National Garden of American Heroes” to defend what he calls “our great national story” against those who vandalize statues. Do you support Trump’s National Heroes Garden? Plus, here is who will be memorialized according to the executive order.
These Are the Most Secluded Hikes in the US: In wildlife management areas, hikers can glimpse animals in their natural, pristine habitat while getting off the beaten path. Outside · 5 min
Millions of Americans believe they are allergic to modern life: 50 million Americans are living with a mysterious sickness called environmental illness (EI). New York Post · 3 min