(PoliticalLookout.com)- Not that it really matters at this point, but the Supreme Court dealt another blow to Republicans who were angered at the results of the 2020 presidential election.
On Monday, the high court decided to deny an appeal from some Republicans who were challenging a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that allowed elections officials to count ballots that were received up to as many as three days after the November 3 Election Day. The state said that accommodation was made because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lawyers who represented the Republicans in the case were arguing that the state Supreme Court exceeded the authority it has in allowing the extension. They said the court should have struck down the rule that was passed in the Pennsylvania legislature.
On the other side, Democrats argued that the state Supreme Court was acting appropriately and within its full authority. They argued the court had the right to “protect the vote” as the pandemic is going on
Three conservative justices — Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas — dissented from the decision. In his dissent, Thomas wrote:
“The Constitution gives to each state legislature authority to determine the ‘Manner’ of federal elections. Yet both before and after the 2020 election, nonlegislative officials in various States took it upon themselves to set the rules instead. As a result, we received an unusually high number of petitions and emergency applications contesting those changes.
“The petitions here present a clear example. The Pennsylvania Legislature established an unambiguous deadline for receiving mail-in ballots: 8 p.m. on election day. Dissatisfied, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended that deadline by three days.”
He later spoke of the huge problems this could cause in future elections, writing:
“We are fortunate that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to change the receipt deadline for mail-in ballots does not appear to have changed the outcome in any federal election … But we may not be so lucky in the future.”
In October 2020, the Supreme Court decided against reviewing this case on an accelerated basis, which marked the second time the high court was considering the case in Pennsylvania. Thomas specifically referred to this in his dissent, when he wrote:
“One wonders what this Court waits for. We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us. I respectfully dissent.”
While former President Donald Trump still would have fallen short of the required votes to win Pennsylvania even if the late-arriving mail-in ballots were invalidated, Thomas makes a very good point.
The Supreme Court wasn’t really ruling whether or not there was election fraud in Pennsylvania, and whether Trump should have won the 2020 election. Their decision in that case could have clearly set rules for future elections so there wasn’t another unorganized catastrophe again.
Now, the potential is there for it to happen again.