In REPUBLICAN PARTY OF PENNSYLVANIA vs VERONICA DEGRAFFENREID, ACTING SECRETARY OF PENNSYLVANIA, ET AL. and JAKE CORMAN, ET AL. vs PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, ET AL. Justice Clarence Thomas, in dissenting from the dismissal of the cases as moot, essentially delivers an epitaph for the Supreme Court and for The Republic.

These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable.

One wonders what this Court waits for. We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us. I respectfully dissent.

Thomas provides some cover for the Court’s dereliction of duty by prefacing his analysis with an assertion unsupported except perhaps relative to some narrow claim:

That decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election.

The Duran suggests that the court not taking the cases and leaving these issues undecided will cause trouble in the future, but that argument presupposes that the goal should be to provide clear rules under which a democracy can operate. It seems more likely that confirming that the courts are closed to election challenges will cause the least trouble under the form of governance that actually exists.

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