Court Battles

Justice Clarence Thomas brings up Frodo Baggins during Supreme Court oral arguments

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas invoked “Lord of the Rings” protagonist Frodo Baggins during oral arguments in a case related to the Electoral College on Wednesday.

Jason Harrow, who is representing a so-called faithless elector from Colorado who argues they should not be bound to vote for the presidential candidate who wins in their state, said during arguments that electors themselves are best positioned to make decisions.

“The elector who had promised to vote for the winning candidate could suddenly say, you now, I’m going to vote for Frodo Baggins. I really like Frodo Baggins. And you’re saying, under your system, you can’t do anything about that,” Thomas said, according to CNN.

“Your honor, I think there is something to be done, because that would be a vote for a nonperson. No matter how big a fan many people are of Frodo Baggins,” Harrow responded.

“I do think the important point is that the Framers hashed out these competing concerns,” he added. “They understood the stakes and they said among these competing hypotheticals, electors are best placed to make the ultimate selection. That hasn’t changed.”

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D), the opposing counsel in the case, also namedropped the fictional hobbit during closing rebuttal.

“My friends on the other side have failed to offer any viable theory on how to address the spectacle of a bribed elector, an elector who votes for Frodo Baggins, or one who would perpetrate a bait-and-switch on the people of the state,” said Weiser, who is defending the state’s right to replace an elector who attempted to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton after she won the state in 2016.

Earlier this month, Thomas asked questions from the bench for the first time in a year as the court hears arguments via remote video links. He has asked more questions overall in the current session than he did in the preceding decade.

Tags Clarence Thomas Faithless elector Hillary Clinton The Lord of the Rings

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