Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a Supreme Court ruling on voting.
Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that voting deadlines in key battleground states are allowed extended periods for receiving mail in ballots in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
The supreme Court also declined to disturb decisions that allow Pennsylvania officials to receive ballots cast by Election Day and received within three days, and a ruling by North Carolina’s elections board that set a grace period of nine days.
Republican Party and GOP legislators had opposed the extensions, and President Trump has railed on the campaign trail about the mail in vote.
The court in the past few days has confronted deadline extensions for mail in ballots in three states. It did not allow an extension in Wisconsin championed by Democrats. The seemingly contradictory decisions appeared based on a difference noted by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., that the court should be reluctant to approve changes imposed by federal judges, as in Wisconsin, but view those imposed by state courts or agencies differently, as was the case in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Three conservative justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch objected in both cases.
Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch indicated that they might want to revisit the case after the election, and even hinted at the idea that the votes received after Election Day ultimately might not be counted. The three penned a statement criticizing the ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in calling for three extra days to receive mail in ballots because of the crush of requests brought on by fears of the coronavirus pandemic, writing that it was probably unconstitutional.
“There is a strong likelihood that the State Supreme Court decision violates the Federal Constitution,” wrote Alito.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to grant the extra time is based on a “Free and Equal Elections Clause” in the commonwealth’s constitution. According to the majority, that provision requires elections to be “conducted in a manner which guarantees, to the greatest degree possible, a voter’s right to equal participation in the electoral process,” and affords courts “broad authority to craft meaningful remedies when required.”
The justices who voted not to accept the Republican request did not explain their reasoning. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who earlier this month had voted with the other three conservatives to grant a Republican request to stop the deadline extension in Pennsylvania, did not join Alito’s statement.
On Octobet 19, the Supreme Court’s 4-to-4 vote left the Pennsylvania court’s ruling in place. But Republicans renewed their request when it became clear that Barrett, Trump’s third appointee to the court, would be confirmed in time to make a last ditch effort.