60-Second Circuit Summaries

A collection of significant and strange cases decided by the federal courts of appeals this week. Each summary delivered in a minute or less: six cases, six minutes. On the docket this week was voting rights at SCOTUS, qualified immunity, national forests, and profane T-shirts.

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O Ye, of Little Faith: Chiafalo v. Washington

Faithless no more! said the Supreme Court in Chiafalo v. Washington on Monday. The Court unanimously held that the Constitution allows a state to force its members of the Electoral College to vote according to that state’s popular vote. The case arose during the 2016 presidential election when three of Washington’s electors voted “faithlessly.” Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won Washington’s 12 electoral votes, and each of Washington’s 12 electors had pledged to cast their votes for Clinton. But when the time came, three of the twelve violated their pledges, casting their votes for Colin Powell. Washington promptly removed the three electors from their posts and find each $1,000. The electors challenged their fines, claiming that the Constitution allows them to vote however they please. The Court rejected that claim, giving us all a bit more faith in our constitutional republic.

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