High Court Rejects Bid to Overturn Pennsylvania Results

Lehigh County workers count ballots in Allentown, Pa., on Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

WASHINGTON (CN) — Handing another loss to allies of President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court on Tuesday denied Pennsylvania Republicans’ request to overturn certification of the state’s general election results.

GOP Congressman Mike Kelly filed a petition with the high court last week arguing the justices should block Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s certification of results because the state’s mail-in voting system violates laws outlining election procedure and responsibilities.

Kelly’s petition also argued the Pennsylvania General Assembly went beyond its constitutional authority by allowing no-excuse absentee voting.

But the court disagreed with Kelly, dismissing the application for injunctive relief referred to Justice Samuel Alito on Tuesday without comment or dissent.   

The decision falls on the so-called safe harbor deadline — a date by which states must certify their presidential election results. Only Wisconsin has failed to meet that deadline, with outstanding legal challenges still dragging into next week.

The Supreme Court’s order also comes hours after Pennsylvania officials submitted a brief rebutting Kelly’s claims, arguing the lawmaker and those joining his case could not justify asking the high court to throw out all Pennsylvania votes.

“They do not explain how a remedy premised on massive disenfranchisement would accord with the due process clause, which requires the counting of votes cast in reasonable reliance on existing elation rules as implemented and described by state officials,” the brief states. “Nor do they seek to square their position with the separation of powers, the 12th Amendment, or basic principles of federalism — all of which foreclose the injunctive relief that petitioners seek here.”

State officials also argued that mass disenfranchisement of voters across an entire state is of greater concern than Kelly’s procedural squabbles. Granting the injunction would have sowed chaos and confusion across the nation, they claimed, while “inflaming baseless concerns about electoral impropriety and ensnaring the judiciary in partisan strife.”

“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,” the brief states.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wrote in a tweet after the court’s ruling that a decision in favor of Kelly would have thrown out the votes of 2.5 million residents. He also quipped that Americans won’t get to hear argument in the case, which Senator Ted Cruz offered to deliver on behalf of Republicans.

“I guess we’ll just have to imagine how that would have gone,” he wrote.

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