Tuesday 3 November 2020
Even though a Texas Judge ruled that Republicans who sought to throw out 127,000 ballots cast in drive-thru locations in Harris County, Texas did not have standing, Harris County decided to close down most of its drive-thru voting locations overnight. Why? The judge in the case, Andrew Hanen, found it necessary to go beyond the legal issues and advance his own political agenda in his opinion. Hanen wrote that he wouldn’t vote in these drive-thru voting locations, legal or not.
So, this is where we are in this country. The court now does not even have to rule against the forces of democracy for a county to voluntarily close down entirely legal voting options.
The County Clerk admits that Republicans are pursuing a strategy of trying to keep Americans from voting, and defends the decision as one which will protect votes. But, in closing down the voting locations what he does, in the long run, is to encourage Repubicans to do exactly what they have done in this case, i.e., bring a completely baseless lawsuit that clearly has no legitimate basis and use it as intimidation to suppress voting.
It is not the first time Hanen has used his judicial opinions to go beyond the legal issue at hand and pursue his ideological agenda. He is in fact notorious for doing so. These are the kinds of judges McConnell and the Republicans have stacked the courts with.
Make no mistake, when Republicans claim that they oppose “activist judges” they are lying. They support “activist judges” and are appointing them at record levels.
There are Democrats in the Senate who are complicit in this packing of the courts with right-wing activists. And, voluntary capitulation is a characteristic of a country descending into authoritarianism.