With little comment, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Texas Democratic Party’s request to reinstate a federal District Court injunction that would have expanded eligibility to qualify for voting by mail. The party’s request that the justices take up the case before the general election remains pending.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor provided the only comment from the Justices (PDF) in which she agreed with the denial but expressed intrigue into the case’s “weighty and seemingly novel questions regarding the Twenty-Sixth Amendment.” She urged the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider the merits of the case “well in advance of the November election.”

Early voting for the July 14 runoff and special elections begins Monday.

SD14 special: The Austin American-Statesman endorsed former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt (R), adding “we regret that in this race we have but one endorsement to give.” The paper said Eckhardt and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) are “clearly the best choices.” The Austin Chronicle endorsed both.

FEC Quorum: We mused when Austin attorney Trey Trainor (R) was sworn in this month as a Federal Election Commissioner that a newly found quorum might be short-lived. Republican member Caroline Hunter has resigned effective July 3, again depriving the FEC of a quorum. The agency went nearly a year without the ability to conduct official business following the departure of Matthew Petersen (R) in August 2019.

The Trump Administration announced his intent to nominate Washington, D.C. attorney Allen Dickerson, legal director for the Institute for Free Speech, to the commission as a Republican member.

Hunter, along with Commissioners Steven Walther (I) and Ellen Weintraub (D), collectively have served 31 years past their terms’ expiration dates. Hunter has served since her 2008 confirmation. Walther filled a vacancy in 2006 and was confirmed for a full term in 2008. Weintraub was confirmed in 2002. Seats last held by Lee Goodman and Ann Ravel have been vacant since February 2018 and March 2017, respectively.

Commissioners serve six-year terms, and two seats are subject to appointment every two years.

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