Trump v. Biden: An Opinion for a Hypothetical Case

18 Pages Posted:

See all articles by Edward B. Foley

Edward B. Foley

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: June 25, 2020


In RNC v. DNC, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important, but sharply divided, 5-4 ruling concerning the power of courts to remedy potentially outcome-determinative disenfranchisement in a major statewide election. The particular case involved Wisconsin's April 2020 election for a seat on the state's supreme court (as well as the presidential primary), but the same type of issue easily could arise in the context of the November 2020 general election. This essay imagines a hypothetical case closely related to the actual RNC v. DNC facts, but significantly different in key respects. First, the hypothetical remedy does not contain the specific flaw that caused the Court's majority to modify the actual remedy in RNC v. DNC (namely, permitting voters to cast ballots for extra days after Election Day). Second, the hypothetical remedy is issued by a state supreme court, rather than a lower federal court. To consider whether these differences would be enough to avoid a similar 5-4 split, and instead might produce greater consensus within the Court, the essay offers a hypothetical opinion to reason through the legal analysis involving the hypothetical facts. Readers are invited to consider whether the reasoning of this hypothetical opinion is sound, or whether it too is vulnerable to the kind of jurisprudential disagreement that produced the sharp divide in RNC v. DNC.

Keywords: disenfranchisement, election, voting rights, Supreme Court, SCOTUS, Fourteenth Amendment, 2020, Bush v. Gore,

Suggested Citation

Foley, Edward B., Trump v. Biden: An Opinion for a Hypothetical Case (June 25, 2020). Ohio State Law Journal Online, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Edward B. Foley (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-4288 (Phone)
614-292-2035 (Fax)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics