Making sense of Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Degraffenreid
On Monday, the Supreme Court decided Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Degraffenreid (formerly Boockvar) and Corman v. Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Both of these cases raised the same issue: can entities other than the state legislature (such as the state courts) modify the rules governing federal elections. The Court issued a one paragraph per curiam opinion that resolved both petitions.
The motions of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. for leave to intervene as petitioner are dismissed as moot. The motions of Thomas J. Randolph, et al. for leave to intervene as respondents are dismissed as moot. The motion of Hon- est Elections Project for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae in No. 20–542 is granted. The motion of White House Watch Fund, et al. for leave to file a brief as amici curiae in No. 20–574 is granted. The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied.
Justice Thomas dissented from the denial of certiorari. Justice Alito wrote a separate dissent from denial of certiorari, which was joined by Justice Gorsuch.
Counting the votes here is tricky.
First, let’s count the votes in the motion to intervene. We know a majority of the Court voted to deny Donald Trump’s motion to intervene because that motion was moot. At this point, Trump’s presidential campaign is over. There is no interest on which he could intervene. The denial here is unsurprising. But a majority of the Court did not state that the Republican Party of Pennsylvania’s petition was moot. The Court does not explain why cert was denied. The motion
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