Justice Samuel Alito agreed on Thursday to review an appeal against the ruling of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that tossed a suit alleging the state’s mail-in voting was unconstitutional.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and other plaintiffs appealed to Alito to block Pennsylvania from certifying the battleground state’s electoral votes for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to The Associated Press. The plaintiffs argue that Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting was inherently unconstitutional because it required a constitutional amendment to be authorized.
Alito set Dec. 9 as the date for state officials to respond. That date is a day after the “safe harbor deadline.” After Dec. 8, Congress cannot challenge any electors named according to state law.
As The Economist’s Supreme Court correspondent Steve Mazie noted, “Six days from now is an eternity on the electoral clock: Safe-harbor deadline (by which states must confirm results to make them ‘conclusive’) is Dec. 8, electoral college votes on Dec. 14. By the time Kelly files final brief on Dec. 10 or so, the challenge will be moot.”
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Saturday to throw out a lower court’s order preventing the state from certifying multiple contests from the Nov. 3 election. “They have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted,” Justice David Wecht wrote.
Because Pennsylvania lies within the Third Circuit, which falls under Alito’s jurisdiction, the justice has repeatedly had to rule in the contentious lawsuits alleging widespread voter fraud in the state. Three days after Election Day, he ordered ballots received after Nov. 3 to be segregated. As The Daily Wire reported:
The United States Supreme Court issued an order late on Friday evening directing that the ballots received in Pennsylvania after Election Day must be segregated from the rest of the ballots and secured — and if counted, counted separately. […]
“Until today, this Court was not informed that the guidance issued on October 28, which had an important bearing on the question whether to order special treatment of the ballots in question, had been modified,” the Order continued. “The application received today also informs the Court that neither the applicant nor the Secretary has been able to verify that all boards are complying with the Secretary’s guidance, which, it is alleged, is not legally binding on them. I am immediately referring this application to the Conference and direct that any response be filed as soon as possible but in any event no later than 2 p.m. tomorrow, November 7, 2020.”
The order comes as the Trump campaign is mounting legal cases in Pennsylvania and other states where election results are close and could determine who becomes president. President Donald Trump saw a massive lead in Pennsylvania of hundreds of thousands of votes on election night evaporate as election officials tally up vote-by-mail ballots.
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