On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas unleashed on his fellow Supreme Court justices after they voted against taking up cases relating to ballot-integrity measures for the 2020 election and future elections.
“This is not a prescription for confidence,” Thomas said in his dissent on Monday, noting that “changing the rules in the middle of the game is bad enough.”
“That decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election. But that may not be the case in the future,” Thomas wrote. “These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable.”
Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch also dissented.
“If state officials have the authority they have claimed, we need to make it clear. If not, we need to put an end to this practice now before the consequences become catastrophic,” Thomas added.
“We are fortunate that many of the cases we have seen alleged only improper rule changes, not fraud,” Thomas went on to say. “But that observation provides only small comfort. An election free from strong evidence of systemic fraud is not alone sufficient for election confidence. Also important is the assurance that fraud will not go undetected.”
Conservative reporter Jack Posobiec tweeted on the matter:
Dan McLaughlin with the National Review also took issue with the Supreme Court’s decision. Check out what he had to say:
Few things are worse for public confidence in elections than having the rules changed in the middle of the game (or after it). An epidemic of late-in-the-day changes to the rules was particularly corrosive in 2020. Courts are ill-equipped to referee those changes when partisan tempers are running hot. The Supreme Court just threw away its last opportunity to remedy that problem before the next election cycle.
The supreme court has taken a knee… let me explain why it is so evident:
In a 6-3 ruling today the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to grant writ to hear the Pennsylvania election challenge cases [pdf here – begin page 25]. While the majority of media will likely celebrate this decision; and while the court has refused to hear the case(s) based on their position the issues are “moot”; there appears to be an underlying motive not being discussed.
It only takes four justices to agree to hear a case and grant a writ of certiorari. In October 2020 the issues with the Pennsylvania court overruling the Pennsylvania legislature was of such importance four justices agreed to block the lower court order. However, four months later the majority claim the arguments within the case are “moot”; & the election is over.
In essence the Robert’s Court is saying they will allow any/all methods and manipulations of election law within states, and only look to the state outcome. This is very troublesome.
Why would Justice Kavanaugh reverse his position? In October the state action to supersede the Pennsylvania legislature was a hazard. In February it is moot.
While it is never a good idea to look into the background of the court for motives, one cannot easily dismiss that Roberts, Kavanaugh and Barrett may have voted against the writ because they were concerned such a decision would cause the senate to start a process of “packing the court.” Retaining the current number of justices within the court is more likely if the justices avoid triggering the consequences from the previous threat.
Justices’ Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch remained consistent with their earlier decisions to hear the cases and settle the disputes. Barrett never weighed in on the October injunction, but Kavanaugh has completely reversed his position with his denial of the writ.
Succinct encapsulation from Justice Thomas:
Here’s the embed of the decision. The PA case starts at page #25.