The 6-3 right-wing majority on the Supreme Court is poised to hear the president’s appeal of any voter decision that goes against Mr. Trump, a man who has repeatedly announced that his loss could only be the result of massive voter fraud (that there has never been any evidence for).
If the margin of Trump’s loss is large enough, as one-sided as it should be, even in this zombie apocalypse we are living in, the 6-3 majority will have a difficult job finding even convoluted legal grounds to rule that he is still president. That’s why massive voting in person is so important right now.
It’s encouraging to see the record-shattering early voting across the country in the face of an uncontrolled pandemic. I felt fine waiting 52 minutes yesterday to cast my vote, (all of us wearing masks, keeping 6 feet apart and disinfecting our hands after touching anything) happy to do it, even though my vote was cast in an “anarchist jurisdiction” Trump should lose by a ton of votes.
Amy Coney Barrett bent over backwards yesterday to demonstrate her judicial impartiality, recusing herself from rushing in to break the court’s tie in an emergency Republican appeal of the Pennsylvania lawsuit decided against them by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and overturn its ruling. This case is intimately related to Trump’s federal lawsuit to limit voting in Pennsylvania, a case thoroughly disposed of by Trump appointee J. Nicholas Ranjan. Ranjan went into great legal detail when he dismissed the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee’s case to limit voting during a pandemic. He returned again and again to the baselessness of their claims, the tenuousness of the few claims that were arguably based in law or fact, and the lack of evidence for them they presented.
The Supreme Court could have overturned the lower court anyway, and possibly even Judge Ranjan scholarly and thorough record of the reasons he dismissed the case (though procedurally there won’t be time to appeal that one in the Supreme Court before the election), if Amy Coney Barrett had decided she could be impartial about it and that there was no way her action in breaking a tie in Mr. Trump’s favor would have appeared inappropriate. That the fate of this ruling was left up to the conscience and discretion of one rushed Trump lifetime appointee is worth being chilled about.
Her decision yesterday is of small importance, really. The Federalist Society majority are saving bigger fish to fry, having ordered the segregation (“separate but theoretically equal” ) of all ballots that come in after the polls close on election day. [They didn’t order that, see footnote] Samuel Alito recently reassured his fellow-travelers that the validity of these legally submitted ballots may be re-litigated after the election.
We turn in this perilous moment to the New York Times for some characteristic, though unintended, humor. As much as I respect the Times for some of their invaluable reporting, I also hate them for their sometimes absurdly prissy insistence on a “respectability” that amounts to non-reporting. Both quotes below are from this article on the Supreme Court, which I read while waiting on line to vote yesterday.
Even 20 years later, Democrats still harbor bitter memories from the court’s 2000 decision, given that it ended a hand recount that aides in the Gore campaign believed might have delivered a different result.
Hah! Of course. Only Gore aides believed a full count of the votes cast might have delivered a different result. Like a result based on the actual vote total in Florida, if the recount hadn’t been stopped by order of the Supreme Court just in time? Like an electoral result unaffected by the Roger Stone-engineered Brooks Brothers Rioters who stormed in to violently disrupt the Dade County recount? Like if there had been no interference at other polling places where suspiciously punched “hanging” and “dimpled” “chads” were mysteriously found on Gore ballots during hand recounts? Predictable bitterness by the losers, one supposes, — well, easy enough to understand. Here’s a byte for you:
After an intense recount process and the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, Bush won Florida’s electoral votes by a margin of only 537 votes out of almost six million cast and as a result became the president-elect.
300 of these 573 Florida votes against popular vote winner Al Gore, MORE THAN HALF of Bush’s margin of victory (out of about 6,000,0000 votes) we can see on the table Wikipedia provides, were cast in tiny Liberty County, Florida where Bush voters cast 1,317 votes and Gore voters 1,017.
Makes you kind of think, doesn’t it? How much easier is it to engineer this kind of 54.65% to 42.20% electoral mini landslide using the inconceivably fancy algorithms of 2020? It was done in several states Trump needed in 2016, engineering surgically precise county by county margins of well under 1%.
Not to worry, though, Bush v. Gore was a one off. The Justices who wrote the 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision  giving the presidency to future war criminal, and later painter of wonderful animal portraits, George W. Bush, were explicit. The decision would not be cited as precedent– in fact, almost no part of it has ever been cited– except once by a member of that 5-4 majority, Clarence Thomas, and the other day by Kavanaugh.
It will not be cited again, at least not until really, really needed by those who would vote 6-3 in a hypothetical Trump v. Biden. Kavanaugh has already expressed a fascistic willingness to avoid the suspicious appearance of impropriety that continuing to count millions of votes AFTER election day would surely cause. As the dim-witted, ideologically pure, unappealable lifetime political hack wrote the other day, he would manfully prevent:
“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 the election.“
Every American knows that runs scored after the eighth inning of a baseball game are never counted, it would flip the outcome of the game and cast suspicion on the entire sport of baseball!
The New York Times, with a puckish punchline:
In an odd coincidence, Justice Kavanaugh worked on the recount litigations in Florida, on the Republican side, as a young lawyer. So did Justice Barrett and Chief Justice Roberts.
Odd coincidence, indeed! As odd as the coincidence that all three were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote! Can you believe it?
The Supreme Court did not order the segregation of mail-in ballots postmarked on or before election day, but received after. It was ordered by Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. She did this so that any disputed vote total from Pennsylvania can be shown in two parts — as counted on Nov. 3, and the votes tallied afterwards. Her idea is to preserve the integrity of the votes, rather than have all results thrown out, and Republicans send a Trump slate of electors to the Electoral College as a result of this dispute. She’s hedging Pennsylvania’s (and our) bets if the Supreme Court decides to back a Republican move to have the votes thrown out in their entirety for not following the Supreme Court’s later ruling. If the vote total is thrown out, state legislatures are free to choose which candidate to throw the state’s electoral votes to.
I stand by the fact, of course, that every member of the current 6-3 right-wing majority is a tested, ideologically-driven party zealot chosen, after careful vetting, for his (and now her’s, too) unflinching willingness to do whatever their party requires. The current court’s unified hostility to voting rights is well-documented (see, for example, Shelby County v. Holder== we have a black president, proof that racism is dead and laws against racist voter suppression are no longer needed, long live the future white president!)
Ah, for happier, more bipartisan days!
That 5-4 majority was composed of the nominees of Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. The four in the minority had been nominated by three presidents: Republicans Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush, and Democrat Bill Clinton.