Texas didn’t have the right to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin over their election rules and laws. Meaning the case was over and done.
No dissents were issued.
The Supreme Court has long been opaque to the American public. It doesn’t allow television cameras. Recording devices are banned in courtroom. Opinions and orders are issued on its website with little explanation for non-experts and experts alike.
Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, here’s what you need to know about Friday’s action:
What was Texas seeking?
How was Texas allowed to sue?
In the end, it wasn’t.
It would have taken five of the justices to vote to hear the case. None agreed.
“The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution. Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot.”
So what was the Alito and Thomas statement about?
The two conservative justices have taken a more expansive view of original jurisdiction, leaning toward the idea that the court is obligated to look at these disputes. That doesn’t mean holding oral arguments or a trial or such, but it means something beyond simply closing the courthouse door.
Alito wrote, and Thomas agreed, that the court didn’t have a choice to shut the door on Texas.
Friday, they repeated that logic.
“Statement of Justice Alito, with whom Justice Thomas joins: In my view, we do not have discretion to deny the filing of a bill of complaint in a case that falls within our original jurisdiction. See Arizona v. California, 589 U. S. ___ (Feb. 24, 2020) (Thomas, J., dissenting). I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief, and I express no view on any other issue.”
Isn’t that a dissent?
Because it’s not listed as one. Court orders and opinions will clearly and definitive say when a justice dissents.
Why does this matter? They disagreed.
Speaking with one voice to stop it was important.
“Even Justice Thomas and Alito, who might otherwise have been sympathetic to these challenges, went out of their way to express that they would grant no relief on the merits,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas Law School professor. “From a legal perspective, the fat lady has sung.”
Is there a simpler way of saying all this?
“From a wise friend: So, just so I understand what the Alito/Thomas blurb is about, SCOTUS is effectively saying ‘get the eff off my lawn’ while Alito/Thomas are like ‘you’re welcome to ring the doorbell but no way are we opening the door to you weirdos?’ EXACTLY”
CNN’s Ariane de Vogue and Joan Biskupic contributed to this report.