House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused the Supreme Court’s conservative justices of putting lives in danger for the sake of political power.
The Democrat said that jurists on the high court acted like “party hacks” by refusing to extend absentee ballot deadlines in Wisconsin’s primary this month, the Washington Examiner reported. The primary was held in person, in spite of the coronavirus.
Pelosi: Justices akin to “party hacks”
On the eve of the election, the Supreme Court reversed a decision by an appeals court allowing a one-week extension to postmark absentee ballots. The decision was split along party lines, with the five conservatives arguing that the extension “fundamentally alters the nature of the election,” CNBC reported.
The ruling coincided with a decision by the Wisconsin state Supreme Court that rejected a push to postpone the election, which was held on April 7. The spectacle of voters lining up to cast their ballots in person outraged many Democrats, who said the election was an example of political engineering by power-hungry Republicans.
Pelosi echoed that rhetoric on Sunday, according to the Examiner, pointedly accusing the five conservatives on the Supreme Court of acting more like politicians than impartial judges.
“What happened in Wisconsin was unconscionable on the part of the United States Supreme Court,” Pelosi said. “They turned themselves into party hacks. Party hacks. The court had said the election had to take place on that day, the court — the lower court — also said, though, there should be a consideration for more time, etc., for getting and counting absentee ballots. The Supreme Court even reversed that.”
She continued, “They stuck with…that you have to do the election that day, but no accommodation. And why? Because they had a political purpose. Disgraceful.”
Voting controversy rages on
Despite Pelosi’s charged rhetoric, the court’s conservatives didn’t make the decision lightly. They took issue with a perceived overreach by the courts in an election, the majority explained.
“This Court has repeatedly emphasized that lower federal courts should ordinarily not alter the election rules on the eve of an election,” the opinion read.
Democrats have generally argued that a refusal to expand voting options during the coronavirus pandemic is tantamount to disenfranchisement — that failure to do so forces voters to choose between their rights and their health. According to the Washington Post, the court’s arch liberal, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, echoed the Democrats’ reasoning in her dissent, saying she feared “massive disenfranchisement.” (No word yet from Pelosi on whether this constitutes partisanship.)
Controversy over voting during the pandemic has continued to brew, with Democrats including Pelosi and Joe Biden supporting a push to vote by mail, if necessary, in primaries as well as in November. President Donald Trump has said that voting by mail will likely result in massive fraud, inuring overwhelmingly to the advantage of Democrats, Politico reported.
Pelosi, for her part, has promised to lobby for voting by mail in the next round of coronavirus relief legislation, according to NBC News.