The Founders Intent with Respect to the Electoral College

A response to Lawrence Lessig’s article, “The Constitution lets the electoral college choose the winner. They should choose Clinton.” (24 Nov 2016 Washington Post).  Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of “Republic, Lost: Version 2.0.” In 2015, he was a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary.

Lessig limited his argument on two major points:

  1. The founders intended the electoral college to be a circuit breaker, yes, but to prevent the mob mentality of a minority of states with greater population concentrations forcing ideology on the majority of states.
  1. Clinton has been subject of many investigations and scandals over the years, including being up for potential indictment during the campaign for her actions holding public office, which, if followed through during her presidency, she’d be impeached, like Nixon….effectively a disqualification.  Trump has not been indicted, nor was their any pending indictable offenses.

“it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.”

Perhaps, there should be an amendment to the constitution that disqualifies a candidate under investigation for alleged indictable crimes carried out while holding public office.  The reason being that even if they do get into office, they may be impeached anyway and, if not, they certainly hold a powerful position to actually curb investigative activities during their term or give the appearance of impropriety.  A long held principle in the law is that a judge must recuse himself to avoid the look of impropriety in the interest of justice.  Why should the executor of the law (or even legislators and administrators also) not be held to the same standard?

From Federalist 68 on the electoral college:

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E|L|P Daily Dose of Founding Perspective

Today’s founding perspective is from Thomas Jefferson on the nature of politics and government:

“Let those flatter, who fear; it is not an American art. To give praise which is not due might be well from the venal, but would ill beseem those who are asserting the rights of human nature…Open your breast, sire to liberal and expanded thought. Let not the name of George the third be a blot in the page of history…The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail. No longer persevere in sacrificing the rights of one part of the empire to the inordinate desired of another; but deal out all equal and impartial right…This is the important post in which fortune has placed you, holding the balance of great, if a well poised empire.”

(As quoted in Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power)

 

E|L|P Daily Dose of Founding Perspective

“We were under [the] conviction of the necessity of arousing our people from the lethargy into which they had fallen as to passing events.”  Thomas Jefferson on the reasoning behind the Day of Fasting and Prayer resolution of Tuesday, May 24, 1774.

Anyone up for a fasting this Tuesday, May 24, 2016?