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Ohio Experts Analyze Supreme Court Ruling On Faithless Electors Case

Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. [Steven Frame/Shutterstock]
Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. [Steven Frame/Shutterstock]

Here is the line-up for The Sound of Ideas for July 9, 2020.

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches into summer, public health policies have shifted to keep pace with the virus.  According to Johns-Hopkins University, the United States has now seen more than three million confirmed cases and 130,000 deaths since the pandemic began earlier this year.

Here in Ohio, an increase in both daily cases and hospitalizations has led Governor Michael DeWine to make face coverings mandatory in seven counties, including Cuyahoga County.  The health order took at 6pm on July 8.

In those seven counties, masks are now required indoors in places such as restaurants, bars, stores, and many workplaces.  Additionally, it applies outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.  The mandate includes those over the age of 10, and includes exemptions for those people with medical issues that prevent wearing a mask.

We have been talking about the medical case for masks here on The Sound of Ideas throughout the pandemic---and with face coverings now mandatory we bring back our Cleveland Clinic medical expert to answer questions about masks. 

Next, every four years, we get a refresher course in government and civics as we vote for president.  Voters do not directly elect the United States president. Instead, that formality falls to the Electoral College and its delegates.

Earlier this week the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously to uphold state laws that require Electoral College delegates to cast their ballots for the candidate they pledged to support.  Those laws impose fines or remove delegates for trying to switch candidates. Such delegates who change their support are called rogue or faithless electors. 

The high court's decision came from cases out of Washington and Colorado involving electors in the 2016 election who sought to deny Donald Trump the presidency. In writing the decision, Justice Elena Kagan said the Constitution did not give electors grounds to reverse, a state's popular vote. The parties in the case had asked the court to move the case quickly so that its decision would be completed before this November's General Election.

We discussthe court’s decision and the history and future of the Electoral College with two Ohio university professors.  

Then, we hear from the non-fiction recipient of the 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. The awards honor

writers who address racism and diversity.  Georgetown University Professor Charles King is the author of "Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century."  

Raed Dweik, MD, Chairman, Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Jonathan Entin, Professor Emeritus of Law and Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University 
Robert Alexander, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Ohio Northern University, Author, "Representation and the Electoral College"
Charles King, 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Recipient for Non-Fiction