Liberals back down on SCOTUS Wisconsin lead decision


“The decision of the Court on the limited question before it should not be considered as expressing an opinion on the wider question of the holding of elections or the desirability of other reforms or modifications to electoral procedures in the light of of COVID-19. This cannot be stressed enough, “said the majority opinion.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the most liberal members of the court, said in the dissent, joined by all Democrat-appointed judges, that she had no doubts about the “good faith” of her colleagues. But she said the majority opinion was strangely blind to the radical disruption the virus caused in America.

“The Court’s suggestion that the current situation is not” substantially different “from a” regular election “is perplexing,” she wrote.

The mere fact that the majority wrote to explain their decision departed from usual practice and was somewhat defensive about how their decision would be interpreted. While judges often explain their dissent from emergency suspension decisions like Monday’s, the majority of the court rarely explain their rationale.

The GOP-appointed majority rejected the assessment of the Democratic candidates in unusually brutal language, calling it “over the top” and “totally wrong”. “The rhetoric of dissent is totally out of place,” writes the majority.

The majority of the five justices also seemed keen to describe his order as echoing earlier decisions where the court did not seem to divide as strongly along ideological lines. The new ruling cites a 2014 decision that halted the implementation of a Republican-backed voter law in Wisconsin just weeks before this year’s general election. Only three of the five judges appointed by the GOP were publicly dissenting from this decision.

Conservative commentator Ed Whelan echoed the majority’s analysis, downplaying the importance of the decision and praising the judges for trying to prevent federal courts from further disrupting the electoral process.

“I do not dispute that there is a disorderly situation in Wisconsin. The question is the appropriate judicial role in resolving this disorder. An established principle prohibiting lower courts from making late changes to electoral rules reasonably governs “, Whelan wrote on Twitter.

Whelan also suggested that it is Liberal judges who are abandoning the court’s usual preference to leave electoral laws to local authorities before polling day.

“It seems to me that if the political polarities were reversed – that is, an order close to election day by a district court fundamentally changing the rules in favor of Republican plaintiffs – the decision to reverse would be 9-0 . Is there evidence to the contrary? ” He asked.

Some Democratic lawyers have seen a silver medal in the High Court decision. Marc Elias, who frequently represents national and state committees of the Democratic Party and did so in the dispute the judges ruled on Monday, made it clear that he was not a fan of their decision.

“It is a national disgrace. It could cost lives, ”Elias wrote on Twitter.

Perkins Coie’s partner, however, noted that the Supreme Court appeared to support the trial judge’s order setting aside a requirement in Wisconsin state law that ballots must be received on polling day.

“Beyond tomorrow’s elections – for which this decision is terrible – this is key attire,” wrote Elias. “The Supreme Court of the United States, perhaps [sic] unwittingly approved a message marked by the polling day standard (rather than received by). This will free thousands of voters in November. “

It is not yet known whether the Supreme Court or other courts will insist on this flexibility for future elections or even those disrupted by the current pandemic. Elias listed at least seven states where ballots must generally be received by election officials by polling day: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.


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