The highest court scrapped the Wisconsin state DNC’s appeal of pushing late mail-in ballots to still be counted even after six days of arrival after the polls have closed on election day.
SCOTUS has been short of one justice since RBG’s passing, yet managed to decide on a 5-3 vote on the case of Democratic National Committee v. Wisconsin State Legislature.
The Democratic National Committee of Wisconsin aggressively pushed for the counting of late mail-in ballots but denied by the supreme court. DNC was joined by Voting rights groups, and League of women Voters arguing that the pandemic caused delay for ballots to arrive.
The four conservative justices were joined by Chief Justice John Roberts in the 5-3 vote.
According to NBC News, the previous lower court ruling will then hold and late mail-in ballots won’t be accepted.
One of American constitutional laws’ foundational principles states that SCOTUS can overrule the federal law, yet the state’s highest court has the final say on state law.
The US government’s system has an implicit division of power, with the federal government and the states having “dual sovereignty.” Both of which have their distinct power to craft, enforce and decide their own law.
As a result, the SCOTUS is asked to hear cases from the lower court. While the supreme justices sometimes allows the state court to decide on laws specific to their residents, the supreme can interject when state laws violate the constitutional rights of the citizens.
The SCOTUS’ recent ruling which is different to a Pennsylvania case where they allowed counting of late ballots may seem confusing to some. The decision may be different but just because the highest court left the decision to the state court.
Pennsylvania state court allowed the late counting of mail-in ballots while Wisconsin state court denied it.
In each of the cases, the supreme court refused to overrule the decision of the state court.