US Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas released a powerful dissent this week following the high court’s decision to turn down a Republican challenge to the Pennsylvania state court decision that allowed ballots three days after the 2020 presidential election.
Despite acknowledging he believed the case was not significant enough to turn the state’s electoral votes to Donald Trump, Thomas looked toward future concerns. “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.”
One wonders what the 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.
Thomas was not alone in his dissent. He was joined by Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito in his words that spoke out against the court’s decision, with Alito adding:
There is ‘reasonable expectation’ that the parties will face the same question in the future. And that the question will evade future pre-election review, just as it did in these cases. These cases call out for review, and I respectfully dissent from the Court’s decision to deny certiorari.
In a separate case, the US Supreme Court also turned down a second Pennsylvania legal case regarding changed mail-in ballot rules. Both cases emphasized illegal actions against then President Donald Trump that favored Democrats.
These cases and related activities in Pennsylvania led Trump and his supporters to continue arguing he won the state as well as the national election. Many Trump backers still believe the voting spikes in the early morning hours following the election have remained unexplained.
Other disputed states in the 2020 presidential election included Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia, among others. Trump has already declared plans for legal cases in some states.
In other states, such as Georgia, Trump and supporters have stated they will push for new conservative candidates. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp became a particular target, both following the presidential election and in the Georgia Senate runoff in January. The Senate runoff resulted in two additional Democrat Senators winning. The shift created a 50-50 split in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.
When Thomas and other conservative Supreme Court justices speak out, you know it’s time to pay attention. Voter integrity will remain a central issue in the upcoming midterm elections, presenting challenges important to the future of our democracy.