McPherson v. Blacker

McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1 (1892), was a United States Supreme Court case decided on October 17, 1892. The case concerned a law passed in Michigan which divided the state into separate congressional districts and awarded each of the state's electoral votes to the winner of each district. The suit was filed by several of these electors, including William McPherson, against Robert R. Blacker, the Secretary of State of Michigan. It was the first Supreme Court case to consider whether certain methods of states' appointments of their electors were constitutional.[2] The Court, in a majority opinion authored by Chief Justice Melville Fuller,[3] upheld Michigan's law, and more generally gave state legislatures "plenary" power over how they appointed their electors.[1] The Court held that Article Two of the United States Constitution also constrains the ability of each state to limit the ability of its state legislators to decide how to appoint their electors.[4][5]

The ability of states to determine the selection and apportionment of their electors was later reaffirmed in another Supreme Court case, Bush v. Gore (2000).[3] McPherson was also cited in Bush v. Gore by both George W. Bush[6] and by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in his concurring opinion.[7]