The Slatest

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Throws Out Last Active Legal Challenge to State’s Election Results

Trump climbs the stairs onto Marine One
President Donald Trump at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, on Friday. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court threw out an order by a lower court that prevented the state from certifying dozens of contests that were part of the Nov. 3 election. The unanimous decision by the state’s highest court effectively ended the last active legal challenge to Pennsylvania’s presidential election results. The case had been brought by Rep. Mike Kelly and other Republicans who sought to disenfranchise around 2.6 million voters, arguing every ballot cast by mail should be thrown out. Alternatively, Kelly and the other Republican plaintiffs also argued that the election results could be tossed out and the Republican-controlled legislature would pick the state’s presidential electors.

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The justices said that the lawsuit had been filed too late, months after the deadline to object to Pennsylvania’s absentee voting procedures and weeks after millions of Pennsylvanians had voted. The justices also appeared shocked that the lawsuit was calling for an entire election to be overturned when “they have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted,” as Justice David Wecht wrote in a concurring opinion. If Kelly and other Republicans really objected to the procedures put in place for voting by mail, they would have filed a legal challenge before it was used in a primary and general election rather than wait until after the results were revealed. “It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters,” Wecht wrote. “Courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear.”

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The state’s Supreme Court decision came days after a Pennsylvania appeals court judge surprised everyone by declaring that any further efforts to certify the election results needed to stop until there was a hearing on the case. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, immediately appealed the ruling saying there was no “conceivable justification” for it. More than 11 other cases to challenge the results in Pennsylvania had already been thrown out of court. And the decision by the state’s highest court came a day after a federal appeals court tossed out a case by Trump’s campaign with a scathing opinion.

The Trump campaign was not part of this case that was thrown out by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, but Jenna Ellis, the president’s legal adviser, commented on it on Twitter, saying it “has become a ridiculous political game.” Ellis has vowed to take the campaign’s case to the Supreme Court.

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