President Donald Trump scored a major legal victory this week when the Supreme Court ruled against extending the deadline for counting ballots in Wisconsin, CNBC reported.
At issue was a demand from the Democratic National Committee that absentee ballots continue to be counted even if they arrive up to six days after Election Day.
Wisconsin is a highly contested swing state that may be essential for the president to secure a victory in November.
Roberts changes his tune
The DNC initially found success after federal District Court Judge William Conley ruled that an extension should be granted because of difficulties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Conley’s ruling was blocked by 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this month, a move that the Supreme Court affirmed, the Associated Press reported.
The Monday decision broke down along ideological lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court’s four conservative members against its liberal wing. Curiously, Roberts had earlier sided with his left-wing colleagues in a similar case coming from Pennsylvania’s state court, a discrepancy that he attempted to justify in his opinion.
“Different bodies of law and different precedents govern these two situations and require, in these particular circumstances, that we allow the modification of election rules in Pennsylvania but not Wisconsin,” CNBC quoted Roberts’ opinion as saying.
Justice Elena Kagan in her dissent focused on the claim that not moving the deadline will “disenfranchise citizens by depriving them of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.”
“Because the Court refuses to reinstate the district court’s injunction, Wisconsin will throw out thousands of timely requested and timely cast mail ballots,” she wrote.
Trump-appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch, however, argued that despite the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, lawmakers are the ones who should be deciding the rules and regulations surrounding voting.
“Legislators can be held accountable by the people for the rules they write or fail to write; typically, judges cannot,” Gorsuch contended.
He added, “Legislatures make policy and bring to bear the collective wisdom of the whole people when they do, while courts dispense the judgment of only a single person or a handful.”