Pennsylvania must respond to Trump election lawsuit by Tuesday, Alito orders
December 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has given Pennsylvania officials until Tuesday, December 8 to respond to Rep. Mike Kelly’s election lawsuit on behalf of the Trump campaign, moving up the date to avoid the “safe harbor” deadline for resolving Electoral College disputes.
Kelly’s lawsuit seeks to invalidate Pennsylvania’s 2.5 million mail-in ballots on the grounds that the state constitution only allows votes to be cast by mail in certain circumstances, and the generalized mail voting allowed this year (ostensibly in the name of avoiding COVID-19) would have required a constitutional amendment to be legitimate.
Alito had previously given the state until December 9, the day of the safe harbor deadline, to submit their response to the Supreme Court. On Sunday, he moved it up a day, which “would give the court a few hours Tuesday to act on Kelly’s request if it chooses to do so,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
University of California-Irvine law professor Richard Hasen dismissed the change as little more than avoiding the appearance of “simply running out the clock on the petition.” But Cornell law professor William Jacobson wrote that the initial December 9 deadline may be a “sign that at least some of the Justices were taking it seriously, because a quick denial would be easy,” and that the follow-up “takes the ‘safe harbor’ issue off the table if that were an impediment to SCOTUS issuing a substantive ruling,” enabling justices to “rule on the merits, pro or con.”
Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz urged the Supreme Court to hear the suit because it “raises serious legal issues” that impugn “confidence in the integrity of our democratic system.”
"The Pennsylvania Constitution requires in-person voting, except in narrow and defined circumstances,” Cruz argued. “Late last year, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a law that purported to allow universal mail-in voting, notwithstanding the Pennsylvania Constitution's express prohibition. This appeal argues that Pennsylvania cannot change the rules in the middle of the game. The illegality was compounded by a partisan Democrat Supreme Court in Pennsylvania, which has issued multiple decisions that reflect their political and ideological biases.”
Last week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Trump campaign’s suit to block certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. The majority opinion, written by Judge Stephanos Bibas (a Trump appointee), asserted that the suit lacked “specific allegations” that the election was unfair.
Pennsylvania, whose 20 electoral votes have been called for Democrat Joe Biden and must be flipped (along with several other states) if Donald Trump is to remain in the White House, has been a hotbed of controversy over allegations of fraud, Republican observers blocked from watching the counting, and the counting of late absentee ballots in violation of state law.