“Trump-era grievances could get second life at Supreme Court”

John Kruzel for The Hill:


The Supreme Court’s most conservative justices are signaling an interest in issues closely associated with former President Trump, from rules on social media platforms to how elections are governed. 

Justice Clarence Thomas this week opined on how Twitter might be more strictly regulated after it banned Trump from its platform and predicted the court would soon be called upon to address Big Tech’s “highly concentrated control” of speech.

He and fellow conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch also recently made clear their hope to address whether state officials and courts have the power to make changes to election rules after a number of states relaxed voting restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Court watchers say these signals can be read as an open call for lawsuits that would tee up the legal issues for the 6-3 conservative majority court to decide….

But at least a third of the justices — Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch — are eager to confront the issue head on and are likely to give the conservative arguments at least a warm reception. They dissented forcefully when the court in February declined to take up pro-Trump election lawsuits that could have teed up the independent state legislature issue for a Supreme Court ruling.

Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California Irvine, said the fact that three or more justices believe in a “strong version” of the independent state legislature doctrine sends a clear signal to would-be litigants to raise the claim in future lawsuits.

“Sooner or later, the Supreme Court is going to have to weigh in on the issue,” he said. “I only hope it is in a case that is not of national prominence, like a presidential election.”

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