On Monday, February 22nd, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the legality of the 2020 presidential election in Pennsylvania in the matter of Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Degraffenreid.
Although the Court had refused to hear challenges to the legality and integrity of the election prior to the certification of the results on January 6th, six of the nine justices determined that the challenges before that Court on Monday had been rendered moot (no longer relevant) as the election had already been decided.
In an unusually scathing dissent to the Court’s ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas criticized his fellow justices and echoed the concerns of many voters:
“The Constitution gives to each state legislature authority to determine the “Manner” of federal elections. Yet both before and after the 2020 election, nonlegislative officials in various States took it upon themselves to set the rules instead. As a result, we received an unusually high number of petitions and emergency applications contesting those changes. The petitions [in this case] present a clear example. The Pennsylvania Legislature established an unambiguous deadline for receiving mail-in ballots: 8 p.m. on election day. Dissatisfied, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended that deadline by three days. The court also ordered officials to count ballots received by the new deadline even if there was no evidence—such as a postmark—that the ballots were mailed by election day….The refusal [of the Supreme Court to take this case] is inexplicable.
[E]lections enable self-governance only when they include processes that gives citizens (including the losing candidates and their supporters) confidence in the fairness of the election…Unclear rules threaten to undermine this system. They sow confusion and ultimately dampen confidence in the integrity and fairness of elections.
By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us. I respectfully dissent.”