December 10, 2020
The Supreme Court has declined a bid by a Republican member of Congress and other GOP activists to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, Politico reports.
In a one-sentence order on Tuesday afternoon, December 8, the justices rebuffed the emergency request from Representative Mike Kelly (R-Pennyslvania) and two other House candidates to decertify the results of last month’s election in the Keystone State.
According to the New York Post, the suit argued that a 2019 Pennsylvania state law authorizing mail-in ballots was unconstitutional—meaning that Pennsylvania’s 2.5 million postal votes should be tossed.
In a one-sentence order, the High Court responded: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.”
Critics said the request for the Supreme Court to take up the case was ill-founded because the justices do not typically step in to enforce state law provisions. They also faulted Kelly for waiting more than a year—and until after the hard-fought election was complete—to raise the legal challenge.
“Granting an injunction would sow chaos and confusion across the Nation while inflaming baseless concerns about electoral impropriety and ensnaring the Judiciary in partisan strife,” lawyers representing Pennsylvania wrote in a brief early Tuesday opposing Kelly’s request. “This case reaches the Court against the backdrop of unfounded claims—which have been repeatedly rejected by state and federal courts—that wrongly impugn the integrity of the democratic process and aim to cast doubt on the legitimacy of its outcome.”
Kelly’s last-ditch maneuver at the high court drew little attention until Sunday, when Justice Samuel Alito unexpectedly accelerated the state’s deadline to respond to the emergency application from Wednesday to 9 a.m. (ET) on Tuesday. That prompted speculation among some conservatives that Alito or other Republican-appointed justices were planning to grant Kelly relief before Tuesday’s milestone Safe Harbor day to name presidential electors.
Not so. However, media attention to the Safe-Harbor milestone prompted the Trump campaign to issue a public statement earlier Tuesday arguing that the date is of little consequence.
“The ‘Safe Harbor Deadline’ is a statutory timeline that generally denotes the last day for states to certify election results,” Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said. “However, it is not unprecedented for election contests to last well beyond December 8.”
Research contact: @politico