Supreme Court rejects Republican bid to reverse certification of Biden victory in Pennsylvania
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an effort to overturn the results of the presidential election in Pennsylvania, signaling the high court would not go along with President Trump’s unprecedented efforts to win another term despite a decisive defeat in the popular vote and Electoral College.
The lawsuit was brought by Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, who argued a 2019 state law authorizing universal mail-in voting is unconstitutional and that all ballots cast by mail in the general election in Pennsylvania should be thrown out.
“The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice [Samuel] Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” said the court’s one-sentence order, which did not suggest any dissent among the nine justices.
Kelly, along with several others, filed the lawsuit on Nov. 21 and requested Pennsylvania either reject the more than 2.5 million ballots cast by mail or allow state lawmakers to select presidential electors. Republicans control Pennsylvania’s Legislature.
The state Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the lawsuit on Nov. 28, saying the GOP had waited too long to challenge the law.
“Unsatisfied with the results of that wager, they would now flip over the table, scattering to the shadows the votes of millions of Pennsylvanians,” Justice David Wecht wrote. “It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters.”
Alito, the justice who oversees emergency matters for the court coming from Pennsylvania, had previously given election administrators until Wednesday to file their response to Kelly’s appeal.
But Alito moved up that deadline on Sunday, shifting it to Tuesday, the same day that marks the “safe harbor” deadline, which acts as a cutoff date by which states must settle any remaining election disputes and certify their results.
Kelly argued that Act 77, which enables voters to cast ballots by mail for any reason, is unconstitutional. But lawyers representing Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration have said his claims are baseless.
“After waiting over a year to challenge Act 77, and engaging in procedural gamesmanship along the way, they come to this Court with unclean hands and ask it to disenfranchise an entire state,” they wrote. “They make that request without any acknowledgment of the staggering upheaval, turmoil, and acrimony it would unleash.”
The law was passed in 2019 with widespread support from Pennsylvania Republicans, who control both chambers of the state’s Legislature.
Pennsylvania certified its election results on Nov. 24, with Biden winning by more than 80,000 votes. Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes.