Supreme Court rejects Democrats’ appeal to expand mail-in voting in Texas

Texas Democrats suffered a Supreme Court-sized defeat on Friday.

The justices on the High Court rejected an application from the Texas Democratic Party that could have had the effect of allowing all residents to vote by mail this November, the Washington Examiner reports.

The case

This legal battle got underway after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), back in May, placed restrictions on who will and will not be allowed to vote by mail this November. Voting by mail is an approach that is probably going to play a big role during the upcoming voting season, as there are still concerns about spreading the coronavirus at the polls.

Texas Democrats, however, were not happy with Abbott’s restrictions, and so they challenged them in court.

At first they were successful. U.S. District Judge Fred Biery ruled that all Texans can vote by mail, saying, “For those who have recently awakened from a Rip Van Winkle sleep, the entire world is mostly without immunity and fearfully disabled.”

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court, however, disagreed with Biery’s ruling. In a sensible decision, the panel of judges thought it best to leave this matter up to Texas officials.

Request denied

It was then that Texas Democrats attempted to bring the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately for them, the justices decided not to get involved.

“The application to vacate stay presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” court documents read.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an Obama appointee and a well-known liberal, added her own remark to the decision.

“This application raises weighty but seemingly novel questions regarding the Twenty-Sixth Amendment,” she wrote. “I do not disagree with the decision to refrain from addressing them for the first time here, in the context of an emergency application to vacate a stay of an injunction. But I hope that the Court of Appeals will consider the merits of the legal issues in this case well in advance of the November election.”

Moving onward

Texas Democrats denounced the Supreme Court’s decision. Gilberto Hinojosa, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, expressed his “disappointment” that the justices did not “provide needed relief and clarity for voters.”

Now, the voting season will proceed with Abbott’s restrictions on mail-in voting in place.

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