A Harvard University law professor contends that there are at least 20 Republican members of the Electoral College who are willing to vote against Donald Trump in an attempt to prevent him from becoming President of the United States.
Professor Larry Lessig has been offering legal support to electors on their right to “vote their conscience,” reports the Independent. He says the U.S. Constitution allows the electors to “exercise their independent and nonpartisan judgement about who to vote for.”
The Electoral College takes place five weeks after the election. Its 538 electors -- one for each congressional district, plus two for the senate seats -- cast their ballots on Dec. 19. They are counted on Jan. 6, at which time the election results become official.
However, about half the states do not bind their electors to the winning candidate, enabling so-called “faithless electors” to vote for someone else if they choose.
So far only one Republican elector, Chris Suprun of Texas, has publicly declared his intention to be a faithless elector, saying he will not vote for Trump because he is unqualified to be president.
But Lessig believes Suprun is far from alone. “Surveying the three groups that are supporting Republican electors, we believe there are 20 right now -- some tell me the number is higher than that, it should be more like 30 -- but I feel confident in saying there’s at least 20,” he said in a Dec. 13 interview with MSNBC.
If that number ultimately comes close to the 37 electoral votes needed to prevent Trump from reaching the required 270, “there will be a very interesting dynamic,” the professor added.
Lessig argues that the founding fathers intended for the Electoral College to be “the emergency break on the process of selecting a president.” While electors have an “ethical, moral obligation” to vote with their state, they can abandon that obligation if there’s “an overriding moral reason not to vote that way.”
One such reason would be the “failure of a candidate to live up to the qualifications,” he said. “And that's exactly the issue raised by this election, the Electoral College was made for this election precisely.”
Regarding this election, Lessig cites “the threat of foreign involvement in our election, or a candidate who refuses to live up to the foreign bribery (Emoluments) clause by disassociating himself or divesting himself from assets that could be affected by foreign governments.”