The Courts and Elections

Well, here we are again, and everyone’s hair is on fire because next Tuesday is comin’ up fast, folks. Should be fun.

Of course, part of the reason people’s hair is on fire is because of the brand spankin’ new SCOTUS justice, Amy Barrett. Because everyone (well, especially those odd, subhuman creatures known as the Twitter Blue Checks) just KNOW what is actually impossible to know — — that she is there to ignore the law completely and vote, should she get the chance, for a Trump Second Term.

(removes tongue from cheek)

Putting the nonsensicality of that above paragraph aside, let’s investigate, shall we, exactly what the Justices MAY have to rule on regarding the election, based on what they have ALREADY ruled on. Because they’re already ruling up a storm. :-)

There have been three rulings on matters in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania regarding extensions to the timetables outlined in state laws regarding when mail in ballots can be accepted and when they have to be counted by. Through these cases, it is pretty clear where the battle lines are being drawn:

The CONSERVATIVE justices are putting existing state law in the pre-eminent position. In other words, they are voting that the existing state law, which outlines the dates by which these ballots must be counted by, must be abided by, even if that means that valid votes end up in the circular file.

The LIBERAL justices flip that reasoning on its head, stating that state and federal judges have the right to extend those deadlines to insure that no voters are disenfranchised, state law be damned.

These positions also have counterarguments:

The counterargument to the Conservative position, of course, is that votes are sacrosanct, and considering the extenuating circumstances of COVID, a few extra days won’t hurt anyone.

OTOH, the counterargument to the Liberal position is that the Courts do not have the right to change the laws voted upon by the representatives of the people, and if Courts DO change the laws…..well, the end of that path lies authoritarianism.

To me, the liberal argument makes more sense……but the counterargument to the liberal argument is extremely powerful. Once you go there, it’s easier to go there again, and again, and again.

So, there you have it. One court faction is going to say “follow the fracking law”, while the other one is going to say “well, we should be a little flexible, considering the circumstance.”

I don’t think there’s much doubt where Barrett will be on that equation.

But, the important point here is that the legal question here is not about Trump. It’s not about any individual politician, nor any political party. And if Barrett should provide the deciding vote in this debate, it won’t be because of any allegiance to Trump; it will be because of her already well-articulated allegiance to textualism.

That all said, attacks on our legal system from the Blue Check Mob and their followers are rampant right now.

Now, I don’t know who Jonathan Ladd is, and I bear him no ill will. But the Court is not going to “order Pennsylvania not to count people’s mailed-in ballots.” The Court MIGHT tell Pennsylvania to “follow your own damn law” (which has the same result) but the two perspectives are extremely different, since one is an attack on the integrity of Court, while the other one has basis in fact and law.

And again:

I’m sure Tom is a nice guy, but here he is implying that a judge who orders a state to follow their own law must have a voter suppression motive….and that “follow your own law” would be an activist position. :-)

Evidently up is down and down is up. And, keeping with the “down is up” theme:

(Counterreminder: You might consider voting for the party that believes in the rule of law, rather than just tossing it out the window when it becomes inconvenient. Just a thought.)

So, to conclude:

Just because the Court rules in a way with which you disagree does not mean the Court either (a) lacks integrity, or (b) is beholden to a political party. The Law is a complex beast where reasonable people often disagree in their interpretation, and both interpretations are worthy of respect. This is one of those matters.

The lefty Blue Checks clearly believe that the Court ought to throw out the law of the people and insure all votes are counted, but that doesn’t mean that, from a legal perspective, they are right. Nor does it mean that the Court is partisan or compromised, and the fact that the vast majority of the Court’s decisions are decided 7–2, 8–1, and 9–0 proves that point quantitatively.

Further, it’s worth mentioning that there is really no firm evidence, much less proof, that the votes which *may* be discarded in some states lean Democrat. True, one would think that the inclination to vote by mail would be strongest in urban, blue-leaning areas, but that’s speculation, not evidence.

At any rate, the Court, in these cases, is being asked to rule on a matter of law, not a matter of philosophy. Should Biden win, I expect he will move to tone down incendiary rhetoric in several areas, and one of those areas will be this irresponsible disparagement of the Court, which is our most respected national institution next to the military.

So, may as well put the fire in our hair out from now.

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.