Ruth Bader Ginsburg slams Supreme Court decision on Wisconsin voting
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg decried a decision made by the Supreme Courtâs majority blocking an extension with conservatory to the absentee ballot deadline in Wisconsin, where the governor unsuccessfully attempted to postpone in-person voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a lower courtâs extension of the ballot deadline in the 5-4 decision, just hours after Wisconsinâs state Supreme Court turn off Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wis. ) last-minute executive perintah postponing voting in Tuesdayâs contests.
In her dissent, Ginsburg, who was joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor, wrote that the ruling âwill result in massive disenfranchisement.â
âThe question here is whether tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens can vote safely in the midst of a pandemic. Under the District Courtâs order, they would be able to do so. Even if they receive their absentee ballot in the days immediately following election day, they could return it,â RBG wrote.
âWith the majorityâs stay in place, that will not be possible. Either they will have to brave the polls, endangering their own and othersâ safety. Or they will lose their right to vote, through no fault of their own. That is a matter of utmost importanceâto the constitutional rights of Wisconsinâs citizens, the integrity of the Stateâs election process, and in this most extraordinary time, the health of the Nation.â
Ginsburg continued on to say she wasnât doubting âthe good faithâ of her colleagues on the bench, but that the majority opinion was not grasping the way in which significantly the pandemic had altered everyday life nationwide.
âThe Courtâs suggestion that the current situation is not âsubstantially differentâ from âan ordinary
electionâ boggles the mind, â? the feminist icon wrote.
âNow, under this Courtâs order, tens of thousands of absentee voters, unlikely to receive their ballots in time to cast them, will be left quite literally without a vote.â
In an unusual move, the Supreme Courtâs majority opinion was not listed with any justice as the author and included a disclaimer early in the text that read that the Court was only upholding the longstanding opposition to last minute orders by federal judges that threw election processes into chaos.
They added that this Court was not making an endorsement of any specific electoral practices to adopt in the wake of coronavirus, nor were they ruling out potential changes being made to those practices in the future.
âThe Courtâs decision on the narrow question before the Court should not be viewed as expressing an opinion on the broader question of whether to hold the election, or whether other reforms or modifications in election procedures in light of COVIDâ19 are appropriate. That point cannot be stressed enough,â the majority opinion read.