"The late, great Professor Ed Banfield of Harvard University thought that Michael Uhlmann's essay on the Electoral College should be required reading in every American Government class. I agree."
—Harry V. Jaffa
From the preface:
The Electoral College may be the least understood, and yet most reviled, institution in American politics. The purpose of this book, therefore, is to explain the Electoral College, so that from better understanding my come greater appreciation for its merits.
The Claremont Institute would be involved in this debate if for no other reason than abolishing the Electoral College would involve amending the Constitution—something we always approach cautiously. But we have other connections with this constitutional device as well. In 1970, a young graduate student studying under Professor Harry V. Jaffa (the intellectual founder of the Claremont Institute) was also working as the minority counsel to the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. A proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College had recently passed the House of Representatives and was bidding fair to pass in the Senate as well. The Judiciary Committee issued a report recommending passage of the amendment. Included in that report was the dissenting view of the Republican members. The minority view was largely prepared by that young staffer. Through the depth, insight and range of its arguments, it may have been the single most effective force leading to the amendment's ultimate defeat in the Senate.
That dissent is the centerpiece of this publication. Thirty years later, the young staffer, Michael M. Uhlmann, is now a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and one of the Institute's contributing scholars. To revise and extend his remarks, so to speak, in the wake of the 2000 election controversy in Florida he has written an article on the same subject for a recent edition of the Claremont Review of Books. We include that article here as well.
In addition, we have another connection to the recent imbroglio. While deliberating over their actual and potential role in selecting Florida's electors, the state legislature formed a Select Joint Committee on the 2000 Presidential Election and heard expert testimony on the complicated federal law governing such controversies. One of the key witnesses called was Dr. John C. Eastman, a professor of law at Chapman University and director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. We include here a transcript of Dr. Eastman's testimony, as well as an appendix with the relevant portions of the statute, U.S. Code Title 3, Sections 5, 6 and 15.
—Glenn Ellmers, Director of Research
Claremont, California, March 2001
This booklet is one of many such reports the Claremont Institute publishes on American politics and constitutionalism. To purchase copies ($9.95) please call (909) 621-6825.