Supreme Court rejects Trump allys push to overturn Biden win in Pennsylvania – CNBC

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a medal ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, December 3, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned back an effort by Republicans to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.

The top court rejected a petition from Trump ally U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, who argued that virtually all of the state’s mail-in ballots were unlawful.

The move closes off one of President Donald Trump’s last remaining paths to overturning the results of the 2020 election in court, even as some far-fetched legal cases remain in the works.

The decision was announced in an order with no noted dissents, as is typical for cases that are handled on an emergency basis.

The entirety of the court’s order read, “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice [Samuel] Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.”

Trump has refused to concede to Biden, though the Democratic former vice president is projected to win 306 votes in the Electoral College, 36 more than the 270 he needed for victory.

Trump had suggested throughout the campaign and after his defeat that the Supreme Court would ultimately decide the outcome of the race, though the court has not shown a willingness to intervene.

Three members of the nine-judge bench are Trump appointees, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed by the GOP-controlled Senate just days before the Nov. 3 election.

Kelly’s suit claimed that a state law violated the Pennsylvania Constitution by providing for no-excuse mail-in voting. He, along with other conservatives, asked the top court to nullify Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s certification of the state’s vote.

Attorneys for Pennsylvania told the court that Kelly’s request called for the “most dramatic, disruptive invocations of judicial power in the history of the Republic.”

“No court has ever issued an order nullifying a governor’s certification of presidential election results,” they wrote.

Lower courts sided with the state, and reasoned that Kelly had waited too long to bring the challenge. The Pennsylvania law, known as Act 77, was passed in October 2019. Kelly did not bring the suit until 13 months later, after the Nov. 3 election had taken place.

Josh Shapiro, the attorney general of Pennsylvania, said in a statement posted to Twitter after the Supreme Court’s order was released that “Laws matter.”

Shapiro also landed a dig on Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who had said on Monday that if the justices agreed to review the case, “I will stand ready to present the oral argument.”

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

The suit is among dozens filed around the country by conservatives seeking to undo the results of the presidential election. On the whole, the lawsuits have failed, with many being dismissed or withdrawn and none impacting a significant number of votes.

Trump has slowly seemed to acknowledge his vanishingly slim legal path forward. Last month, in his first full interview after the election, he told Fox News: “Well, the problem is, it’s hard to get into the Supreme Court.”

Earlier on Tuesday, though, Trump held out hope.

At a Covid vaccine summit at the White House, Trump asked whether “somebody has the courage, whether it’s a legislator or legislatures, or whether it’s a justice of the Supreme Court, or a number of justices of the Supreme Court … to do what everybody in this country knows is right.”

One last-ditch effort before the justices was announced by Texas on Tuesday morning.

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an unusual lawsuit declaring that the results in Pennsylvania and three other states that Biden won — Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan — should be scrapped.

Paxton wrote in the filing that the states changed voting rules “through executive fiat or friendly lawsuits, thereby weakening ballot integrity” and that any “electoral college votes cast by such presidential electors appointed” in those states “cannot be counted.”

Legal experts dismissed the unprecedented case as unlikely to gain steam at the Supreme Court. Paul Smith, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, said the arguments in the suit were “wacko.”

A spokesperson for Kelly did not immediately return a request for comment.

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