This lawsuit was filed in May 2020 by The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter-registration group, and several Georgia voters, including two Black women who are at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19 because of their age and chronic health issues. They argued that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic “is not limited to Georgians’ health; it also poses a serious threat to their right to vote.” And although they acknowledged that the decision by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to send out absentee-ballot applications to over two million voters was “laudable,” it was not enough. They asked U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross to block the state from enforcing several election laws and practices relating to absentee ballots in the upcoming November election.
In an order on Aug. 31, Ross rejected the challengers’ request with respect to several laws – for example, the state’s ban on “ballot harvesting,” which is the practice of collecting and returning other voters’ absentee ballots, and a challenge to the state’s failure to provide prepaid postage for absentee ballots. But stressing that the “risk of disenfranchisement is great” under the current system, Ross barred the state from enforcing its law requiring all absentee ballots to be received by the time the polls close on Election Day. Instead, she ordered the state to accept and count any valid absentee ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and arrive within three business days after Election Day.
Raffensperger and state election officials went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, asking that court to put Ross’ order on hold while they appeal. The 11th Circuit granted that motion, allowing the state to enforce its Election Day deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots while the state appeals – a ruling that, if allowed to stand, would likely mean that the deadline will be in place for the upcoming November election.
In a 24-page decision, Judge Britt Grant explained that “Georgia’s decades-old absentee-ballot deadline is both reasonable and non-discretionary, while its interests in maintaining that deadline (especially now that absentee voting has already begun) are at least as ‘important’ . . . and likely compelling.” Moreover, Grant added, the Supreme Court’s orders in emergency appeals arising from elections this year have “consistently pointed” in one direction – “allowing the States to run their own elections.” The power of federal courts is established by the Constitution, Grant concluded, and “COVID-19 has not put any gloss on the Constitution’s demand that States – not federal courts – are in charge of setting” election rules.
|Date||Proceedings and Orders|
|May 8, 2020||Complaint filed by The New Georgia Project, et al., in district court|
|August 31, 2020||Preliminary injunction issued by district court, extending ballot deadline|
|September 4, 2020||Application for stay of district court ruling filed in district court by Brad Raffensperger, secretary of state of Georgia, et al.|
|September 16, 2020||Denial of application for stay issued by district court|
|September 18, 2020||Application for stay of district court ruling filed in 11th Circuit by Raffensperger, et al.|
|October 2, 2020||Motion for stay granted by 11th Circuit|
|October 6, 2020||ORDER: Appellants' brief is due on or before Nov. 12, 2020, with the appendix due seven days from the filing of the brief.|
The Supreme Court got rid of several cases this morning -- in one fell swoop. Read @AHoweBlogger's latest coverage of the emoluments cases, spiritual advisers at Texas executions, Texas abortion policies, COVID restrictions, and NY political corruption.
Justices vacate rulings on Trump and emoluments - SCOTUSblog
The Supreme Court on Monday morning released orders from the justices’ private conference on Friday, Jan. 22. The justices once again did not ac...
In this morning's orders list, SCOTUS took no action on pending cert petitions involving:
- Mississippi's near-ban on abortions after 15 weeks,
- a Trump rule banning Title X clinics from providing abortion referrals,
- the Trump administration's "public charge" immigration rule.
No real opinions today. The Supreme Court dismissed cert as "improvidently granted" in Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc.—a case about arbitration agreements.
That's all for today, folks.
The Supreme Court does not add any cases to its docket. It sends the Trump emoluments case back to the lower court with instructions to dismiss as moot.
Here is the orders list. https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/012521zor_3f14.pdf
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