This is an old post, but it’s worth a repost with all of the nonsense this week about how Hillary should be president because she won (or is winning — I think they’re still counting) the popular vote:
It would be perfectly constitutional for the electors to be chosen by throwing darts at a phone book, by elimination from a reality show, or a mass tournament of pistols at dawn, as long as the legislature so stipulated. That was the degree to which the Founders thought that the states should have leeway in determining how they determined their electors. This is a very important point to make when arguing with modern democraphiles about ending the Electoral College and electing the president by popular vote.
Not also my broader point:
Many (in fact, many too many) in government imagine that their job is to create more government. As three examples, legislators think they’re supposed to pass legislation, diplomats think that (among other things) they’re supposed to get treaties signed and ratified, and regulators think that they’re supposed to create regulations. They are encouraged in this by many fools in the press who actually consider legislation sponsored and passed into law (particularly when it has a lawmaker’s name on it) to be a figure of merit to be touted as part of his record for reelection, or election to a higher office. Legislators who have passed lots of legislation, or secretaries of state who get lots of treaties ratified are lionized in the media, while those who do neither are denigrated as “do nothings.” All this, of course, despite whether or not the legislation passed, treaty ratified, or regulation created was actually a good idea.
But in fact, those are not their jobs. Their jobs are described in the Preamble. They are: “…to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [common spelling at the time], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
Passing legislation, ratifying treaties, promulgating regulations are means to those ends but, despite the title, it is not a legislator’s job to legislate per se. It is not a diplomat’s job to ratify a treaty per se. It is not a regulator’s job to regulate per se. Those are simply tools granted them by the Constitution to carry out their true jobs, as defined above.
I’d also note that, contra the more-recent nonsense about how the Senate wasn’t “doing its job” with regard to Merrick Garland, it has no Constitutional “duty” to advise and consent. It only has the power.