The stage is increasingly being set for the U.S. Supreme Court to deal with whether the current electoral college method of electing a president is constitutional.

Opponents argue the "winner-take-all" system of states awarding all of their electoral votes to the state's popular vote winner, as practiced by every state except Nebraska and Maine, violates the U. S. Constitution.

Depending on how much the high court decides to get involved, it could have a huge impact on Texas and several other states.

A coalition of lawyers, started by Larry Lessig, a Harvard law professor, filed federal lawsuits in late February in four states.

Two of the states, California and Massachusetts, are reliably "Blue," or Democratic, in presidential elections. The other two – South Carolina and Texas – are solidly "Red," favoring Republicans.

The lawsuits argue that the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes "violates both the 14th Amendment’s principle of 'one person, one vote,' and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment,” Lessig wrote on the legal blog

The arguments in Texas and South Carolina also charge that the system violates the federal Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising many of the state's minority voters, who tend to favor Democrats.

The reason is the votes of those on the losing side in those solidly Red and Blue states have no impact on the national choice. Candidates for the major parties spend very little time there, instead concentrating their time and money on "swing" states that can go either way.

In the 2016 presidential election, the lawsuits said, the 14 up-for-grab states, with just 35 percent of the nation's voters, received 95 percent of the candidate appearances, and 88 percent of their campaign advertising.

The potential result of that imbalance in emphasis was underlined in 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton outpolled Republican Donald Trump by 2.84 million votes, but lost the electoral college vote, 304-227.

The previous presidential election in which the presidential winner lost the popular vote was in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush lagged behind the popular vote winner, Democrat Al Gore, by about 540,000 votes. But Bush won the electoral college vote, 271-266.

That victory came after the Gore campaign, barely outpolled in Florida, lost its challenge of the Florida recount in the Supreme Court, on a 5-4 decision.

The lead lawyer for Gore in that Florida recount was New York lawyer David Boies  – who not incidentally led the national coalition of lawyers behind the four new lawsuits.

Boies noted that the Blue and Red states in which the suits were filed were carefully chosen to emphasize to voters that “whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, conservative or liberal, it’s important to have their votes counted.”

Lessig pointed out the four states also are in four different circuit courts of appeals districts, which allows four possible paths to the Supreme Court – their ultimate goal.

The Texas case was filed in San Antonio, and went to Senior District Judge David Ezra – who previously was a district judge in Hawaii, but moved to San Antonio to help with a more-crowded docket.

And yes, Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton will defend the state's use of the winner-take-all system.

His spokesman, Marc Rylander, said, “We are confident in the lawfulness of the time-honored system Texas and 47 other states use to select the president.”

Nebraska and Maine allocate their electoral votes, one each to the winners in each of the state's congressional districts, and two to the state's popular vote winner.

Lessig said his group filed the suits partly from frustration about the slow progress of assembling a coalition of states to wire around the winner-take-all system.

“We certainly hope (the lawsuits) might shift the willingness of legislators of both parties to consider again the one simple solution to this system of inequality, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact [NPV],” Lessig wrote in

“When states representing 270 electors commit to this pledge, then their electors will be selected to vote for the winner of the national popular vote. So far, 11 states representing 165 electors have committed to the initiative," he said.

States with at least 105 more electoral votes will have to join up to reach the magic 270 needed to elect a president, Lessig said.

He called the NPV "the simplest solution to the one person, one vote problem that plagues the Electoral College. Indeed, it is the only solution, short of an amendment, that perfectly guarantees one person, one vote.”

Some legal skeptics question whether that approach is lawful. If enough states ever pledge to get the number to 270, that likely will also be tested in court.

In the meantime, we'll see where this goes with the federal courts over the next few months, or years – if anywhere.

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