The U.S. Supreme Court handed North Carolina Democrats a win on Wednesday when it upheld a settlement allowing mail-in ballots to be counted up to 9 days following the election, according to Breitbart.
In the decision, five of eight justices denied a Republican-led request to overturn a settlement that had been reached by the state and a coalition of pro-Democrat organizations.
NC Ballots can be counted for 9 extra days
In addition to counting ballots postmarked by Election Day, the agreement also mandated the establishment of special ballot “drop-off” stations and allowed voters to “cure” deficiencies in ballots after they had already been submitted.
Newly-confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the ruling because she had not had time to review the case, a court spokesperson said.
Fellow Trump-appointee Neil Gorsuch voiced his disagreement in a sharply worded dissent co-authored by Justice Samuel Alito.
Specifically, Gorsuch took issue with how the ruling allowed a law passed by state representatives to be circumvented by an unelected agency. “Despite the General Assembly’s considered judgment about the appropriate response to COVID, other state actors–including the State Board of Elections–recently chose to issue their own additional and supplemental set of amendments to state election laws,” he wrote.
The associate justice then went on to contrast this latest decision with how a similar election-related case from Wisconsin was decided.
Settlement does “damage to faith in the written Constitution”
“That last part should sound familiar,” Gorsuch continued. “Just days ago, this Court rejected a similar effort to rewrite a state legislature’s election deadlines.”
He then went on to outline why he felt that outcome was the correct one before stating, “I believe we should stay the Board’s action here.”
Gorsuch contended that the North Carolina case was in some ways “even more egregious, given that a state court and the Board worked together to override a carefully tailored legislative response to COVID.”
He noted, “The parties before us all acknowledge that, under the Federal Constitution, only the state ‘Legislature’ and ‘Congress’ may prescribe ‘[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections.’”
Gorsuch concluded that “efforts like these offend not only offend the Elections Clause’s textual commitment of responsibility for election lawmaking to state and federal legislators, they do damage to faith in the written Constitution as law, to the power of the people to oversee their own government, and to the authority of legislatures.”