Thomas Gallatin / October 6, 2020

SCOTUS Fall Term Begins With Win for Election Integrity

The Court starts strong with its voting ruling but punts on gun rights yet again.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court began its fall term, and the justices quickly got down to business by issuing a ruling in favor of preserving voting integrity. The High Court sided with the GOP in South Carolina, restoring the state’s voting law that required all absentee ballots to include a witness signature. The ruling overturns a lower court’s decision to wave the Palmetto State’s witness requirement due to COVID-19. Writing for the majority, Justice Brett Kavanaugh argued, “For many years, this Court has repeatedly emphasized that the federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election.”

Unfortunately, the Court’s decision will not apply to ballots that have already been cast or to those mailed within the next two days. Nevertheless, this is a big win for President Donald Trump and Republicans, as it legitimizes their concerns regarding voter fraud. This ruling should help Republicans slow the efforts of Democrats in exploiting the pandemic to dramatically change states’ voting rules in ways that open the door for massive fraud.

In other news, the Court will also hear two other cases — Arizona Republican Party v. Democratic National Committee and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee — involving challenges to state laws that ban the practice of ballot harvesting. Democrats ridiculously assert that laws banning ballot harvesting act only to suppress minority voting, and thus violate the Voting Rights Act.

Other cases on the SCOTUS docket are of national interest. The justices will hear another ObamaCare case over whether states can challenge the law’s minimum coverage provision. There are also three religious liberty cases, including Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, in which the issue is whether states can prohibit working with faith-based organizations that hold traditional views on marriage and sexuality since the state has deemed such views “discriminatory.”

On the other hand, the Court dropped the ball by refusing to hear certain significant cases that demand addressing.

Once again, the justices punted on another Second Amendment case. In this instance, as reported by The Washington Times, “[Nebraska] lawmakers amended criminal law to deny juveniles who are adjudicated of certain crimes the right to possess a firearm until the age of 25. The Supreme Court of Nebraska sided with the state, upholding the law despite critics arguing a juvenile should have the right to a jury trial before a judge denies Second Amendment rights.”

SCOTUS also declined to take up the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was sued by two homosexual couples for refusing to issue marriage licenses due to her religious convictions. The Sixth Circuit Appellate Court ruled against Davis, who had appealed to SCOTUS. This case directly reflects the impact of the Court’s abysmal Obergefell v. Hodges decision that effectively redefined marriage. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito once again voiced their criticism of Obergefell on Monday, pointedly noting that Davis’s case was the predictable outcome of a flawed ruling — it effectively forces those with orthodox religious beliefs opposed to the practice of homosexuality to go against their sincerely held faith and consciences. Obergefell failed to provide any room for freedom of conscience or religious commitment and as such violates Americans’ First Amendment rights.

The Court’s docket serves to highlight just how important, impactful, and needed is the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. Senate Republicans must not falter in ensuring her appointment to the bench.

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