The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a series of cases related to the 2020 presidential election, including disputes in Pennsylvania that divided judges even before the ballot.
The cases that the judges rejected the election cases were presented by Donald Trump and his allies in five states where Joe Biden wins: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In addition to two Pennsylvania lawsuits, the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the cases was expected, but it ends with months of judicial stalemate.
The court had already made equal decisions in these same cases and in January dismissed complaints that its decisions were being speeded up, suggesting that the judges were not interested in considering them.
Some of the judges, however, have strong views on the Court’s decision not to hear two Pennsylvania cases that were particularly controversial in this electorally decisive state.
The cases involve an appeal against a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that imposed the counting of stumps by mail that had arrived within three days after the election.
Three of the nine judges said they would accept the case, which, however, would not change the outcome of the ballot. Judge Clarence Thomas called the case an “ideal opportunity” to resolve an important question about whether congressmen or state courts have the last word on how federal elections are held. And he found it “confusing” and “inexplicable” that his colleagues declined to appreciate it.
“We failed to resolve this dispute before the election and thus provide clear rules. Now, we have again failed to give clear rules for future elections. By doing nothing, we are inviting further confusion and erosion of voter confidence,” he wrote.
Thomas cited the expansion of postal voting as another reason for accepting the case, saying that “fraud is more frequent with postal votes”. Trump made several considerations about the existence of massive fraud and the very expanded use of postal voting due to the new coronavirus pandemic, but the courts found no evidence to support such claims.
Pennsylvania congressmen, for their part, changed state electoral laws in response to the pandemic, but kept the November 3 deadline for receiving postal votes,
Democrats have challenged in court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has cited the pandemic and delays in the Postal Service to extend the deadline by which those votes could be received.
Republicans had asked the Federal Supreme Court to suspend this decision to extend the term. But in October, after Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and before Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed for her seat, the judges split, four against four, which kept the three-day extension to receive the votes.
In practice, however, I doubt the continuation of the process, these bulletins arrived after the day of the vote, were separated and never counted. The State said, however, that there are less than 10,000 ballots received during these three days.
This number of votes would not have changed the outcome of the presidential election in the state, since Joe Biden had 80,000 more votes than Donald Trump.
In addition to Thomas, there were two other judges who agreed with the Republicans’ claim to appreciate the case, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.
As is normal, neither Brett Kavanaugh nor Barrett, each of whom could have provided the fourth vote necessary for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court, wrote to explain his position to reject accepting the case.
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