Trump’s New Conservative Court Signals Election Intervention

Trump’s late-night confirmation of ultra-conservative justice Amy Coney Barrett all but guarantees the institutionalization of voter suppression from a Supreme Court that is now more conservative than at anytime since 1930.

“States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election.” writes Kavanaugh yesterday in his Democratic National Committee vs. Wisconsin State Legislature majority opinion overturning a Wisconsin judge mandate to count Wisconsin absentee ballots postmarked by election day and received by election officials up to six days later. Kavanaugh’s sentence is as illustrative as it is shocking.

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“…there are no results to ‘flip’ until all valid votes are counted.” counters Kagan, correctly, in her dissent for the minority.

Kavanaugh Promotes Conspiracy

And so Kavanaugh telegraphs the belief of conservative justices that absentee ballots are less legitimate than others. Somehow, there is an election result prior to the conclusion of absentee ballot tabulation. And that (ill defined) result could “flip” when absentee ballots are fully counted.

Sound familiar? It should. Kavanaugh is parroting Trump’s vote by mail conspiracy theory. And Trump is trashing vote by mail, which he, his family and many in his administration utilize. This because he erroneously believes that Democrats benefit more from voting by mail than do Republicans.

That, and he knows he is losing an election. And when Republicans lose an election, Republicans try to win back that election in court.

Kavanaugh, yesterday, stated in his out loud voice that Trump has a court receptive to his argument which is all but certain to arrive there if next week’s election is anything other than a landslide.

(Kavanaugh talks repeatedly about time in his opinion, arguing that making a change to election procedures so close (in time) to an election is unfair to voters. The justice conveniently neglects, however, to reference the reason for U.S. District Judge William Conley decision to extend the time for accepting absentee ballots – that being the Trump administration’s publicly admitted sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service in order to delay (in time) the delivery of absentee ballots to and from voters.)

Donald Trump and Supreme Court justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh Trump's conservative court
Chief Justice John Roberts loses his court’s center.

Kavanaugh and Bush v Gore

It’s rich that Kavanaugh argues that it is the state legislature, not the court, that has exclusive authority over election procedures. Kavanaugh argued exactly the opposite as a member of Bush’s team in Bush v Gore. In that case the Supreme Court established precedence to override state legislatures in matters of elections when it stopped Florida’s vote recount mandated by state law. Kavanaugh and his conservative court colleagues will quote this precedent in cases before the court this fall.

“Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” wrote the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2013 as the Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Shelby County v. Holder began the Court’s abdication of voter protection. Last night’s late-night swearing-in of Amy Coney Barrett ensures the Supreme Court will be no place of refuge for those seeking protection of voting rights.

But voters join a long list of peoples – women seeking reproductive healthcare, gays, blacks, anyone seeking affordable healthcare or to put more succinctly, anyone not a rich white man or a corporation – that, starting last night, will sleep less soundly for decades.

Donald Trump Trump's conservative court

Read The Strange Case of the Ballot Marking Device here.

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