23 Feb 2021
Clarence Thomas issues forceful dissent from Supreme Court decision not to hear Pennsylvania election case
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a forceful dissent from the Supreme Court’s decision to refuse hearing a Republican challenge of a Pennsylvania state court decision allowing ballots that were received up to three days after Election Day to be counted in November’s election.
“One wonders what the Court waits for. We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. 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,” Thomas wrote on Monday.
“That decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election. But that may not be the case in the future,” Thomas wrote. “These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable.”
Thomas was joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch in dissenting.
“There is ‘reasonable expectation’ that the parties will face the same question in the future,” Alito wrote in his dissent. “And that the question will evade future pre-election review, just as it did in these cases.”
“These cases call out for review, and I respectfully dissent from the Court’s decision to deny certiorari.”
The nation’s highest court on Monday also threw out a separate lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s changed mail-in ballot rules.
The court’s decisions come after former President Donald Trump and other Republicans unsuccessfully urged the Supreme Court to take up the Pennsylvania fight before and after the 2020 election.