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Election Day used to mean Election Day, but these days Election Day appears to mean whatever state officials — particularly Democrat ones — claim it to be, thanks in part to Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh.
Take the officials on the North Carolina State Board of Elections, who last month effectively changed the state’s Election Day by allowing county board officials to collect ballots up until Nov. 12, so long as they’re “postmarked” by Election Day.
Following the ruling, state Republicans and President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter and return the cutoff back to the original date that’d been chosen, Nov. 6, but the court rejected the request.
“The justices, by a 5-3 vote Wednesday, refused to disturb a decision by the State Board of Elections to lengthen the period from three to nine days because of the coronavirus pandemic, pushing back the deadline to Nov. 12. The board’s decision was part of a legal settlement with a union-affiliated group,” the Associated Press confirmed.
Only Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas voted with Republicans. Ostensibly conservative Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh sided against them.
Newly minted Judge Amy Coney Barrett meanwhile abstained from voting on the matter altogether “because of the need for a prompt resolution and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings,” according to court spokesperson Kathy Arberg.
In a separate ruling Wednesday, the high court again sided against Republicans Pennsylvania for the second time in just two weeks by refusing to fast-track a challenge to a similar measure implemented by PA state officials.
“In the Pennsylvania case, the ruling left in place a decision by the state Supreme Court, based on the state constitution. It extended by three days the period for counting absentee ballots posted by Election Day,” NPR reported.
“Last week the Supreme Court upheld the state court decision by a tie vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s three liberals, and later explaining that state courts are free to interpret their own state constitutions in voting cases.”
This week Republican officials tried again to undo the extension and asked the justices to fast-track its decision, but thanks once more to Roberts, Kavanaugh and the court’s three bona-fide liberal justices, the effort failed. As a result, for the time being, mail-in voters in PA have til Nov. 6 for their ballots to arrive.
Barrett also refused to participate in this case, a move that drew backlash from some conservatives who felt like she’d stabbed President Donald Trump in the back.
Disappointing. @RealDonaldTrump, the Senate, and millions of Americans move heaven and earth to quickly get Justice Barrett onto the Supreme Court and she declines to participate in two major emergency election integrity cases (NC and Pennsylvania)?
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) October 29, 2020
— Bob Gawler (@CitadelBob) October 29, 2020
Amy Coney Barrett really spit in Trump’s face after he nominated her, huh?
— LeftyCrypto🌹 (@LeftyCrypto) October 29, 2020
But others countered by noting that she was literally JUST sworn in.
Both cases had had their written arguments presented and discussed by Tuesday, when she was actually sworn in. She probably didn’t even have access to all internal systems, and she was supposed to present her opinion by Wed.? That would be gravely irresponsible.
— Rorate Caeli (@RorateCaeli) October 29, 2020
Perhaps she had good reasons for declining? She just got sworn in.
— Renee31211811 (@Renee31211811) October 29, 2020
No. Smart. She doesn’t jump right in and give left ammo to start screaming. SCOTUS only denied a stay, leaving open decision on merits. She’ll be there in two weeks when the late ballots are challenged (if they make a difference), and they all get thrown out.
— DesertWu (@adriantucson) October 29, 2020
The latter user had a point about the high court having “only denied a stay” in Pennsylvania.
According to Fox News, “The court’s refusal to issue a fast-track decision does not mean it won’t rule in the case. The petition asking for the court’s review remains before the justices.”
“Therefore, the move sets up a scenario where the U.S. Supreme Court could step in to overturn the ballot extension, which was issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a ruling that essentially changed state election law, and void votes after they have been cast in a state that has the potential to decide the presidential election,” Fox noted Thursday.
So there’s still a chance in PA, though even if Barrett does eventually involve herself in the case and ultimately choose to side with Republicans, it won’t make a difference unless Roberts and Kavanaugh choose to side with them as well.
Despite the setbacks in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, there’s some good news. On the same day that Barrett was confirmed, Roberts and Kavanaugh joined their fellow conservative justices in refusing to reinstate a lower court order in Wisconsin that called for mailed ballots to be counted up til Nov. 9th.
— William M Kornblum (@wmkornblum66) October 28, 2020
It’s not clear why Roberts and Kavanaugh’s decision in the Wisconsin case differ so sharply from their decisions in the NC and PA cases.
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