By Duncan Smith
The U.S. Constitution makes it very clear that state legislatures are responsible for enacting voting laws, rules, and procedures.
Not secretaries of state. Not state courts. Not federal courts.
State legislatures. They determine the “times, places, and manner” of how and when and where voting will take place.
And while the federal Congress has a role too, it’s clear that secretaries of state, governors, and state and federal courts…do not.
So when state courts and officials in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and a few others changed voting rules ahead of the November election — changing the “times, places, and manner” citizens were to vote because of coronavirus (while shopping at major retailers was still ‘safe’) — per the Constitution, they were not authorized to make those changes.
As such, Republicans in sued state officials over changes they made to voting without the legislature having passed bills to authorize those changes.
It seems pretty open-and-shut to us. But not so to enough Supreme Court justices to take the case and then appropriately rule that state officials violated the Constitution when they issued those changes last fall.
The Hill reports:
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a series of challenges by Pennsylvania Republicans to the state's expansive mail voting policy.
The development marked long-deferred action on the pro-Trump litigation that was filed in the heat of the 2020 election and had sought to upend President Biden's victory in the key battleground state.
Three of the court's more conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — dissented from the court's denial of review in a pair of cases, though the justices made clear they had no desire to disturb the election result.
First and last, Pennsylvania Republicans were not trying to ‘take away Biden’s victory.’ They were trying to reassert the state legislature’s sole authority to make (and change) voting laws — the “times, places, and manner” in which citizens vote. And only three of nine Supreme Court justices understood that (and by the way, where the hell was Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Mr. Constitution Trump and Republicans fought their asses off to get on the court? It only takes four justices to agree to a case for the full court to hear it).
Perhaps the most profound constitutionalist on the high court, Justice Thomas, noted this very eloquently.
'These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle,' Thomas wrote. 'The refusal to do so is inexplicable.'
Yes, inexplicable alright. And permanently damaging to our Constitution.
Here’s something else that’s ‘inexplicable,’ per The Hill:
Biden won three of every four mail-in ballots cast in the state, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer analysis of Pennsylvania Department of State data, and his victory prompted a number of unsuccessful pro-Trump legal challenges to state voting rules.
Now tell us the refusal to hear this case was a great idea.
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