The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday defeated Republicans who tried to throw up to 2.5 million post-vote votes in Pennsylvania as they try to undo President Donald Trump’s election loss, with judges refusing to block the state from formalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory there.
In a brief decision, the court rejected a request from U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly, a Trump ally, and other Pennsylvania Republicans who filed a lawsuit after the Nov. 3 election, arguing that the state’s expansion of voting in 2019 was illegal under state law.
Pennsylvania was one of the central states in the election, with Biden, a Democrat, defeating Trump after the Republican president won the state in 2016. Government officials had already certified the election results.
There were no noted deviations from any of the judgments of the court, which has a 6-3 Conservative majority including three appointed Trump.
Trump had called on the Republican-led Senate to confirm his latest candidate, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, before election day so that she could participate in election-related cases.
Trump has wrongly claimed that he won re-election and made unfounded allegations of widespread voting fraud in states including Pennsylvania.
Democrats and other critics have accused Trump of trying to undermine public confidence in the integrity of American elections and undermine democracy by trying to undermine the will of voters.
“This election is over. We must continue to stop this circus of ‘trials’ and move on,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter.
The Supreme Court must also decide what to do with another election-related case brought on Tuesday. Republican-controlled Texas, hoping to help Trump, made an unusual effort to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania and three other states – Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin – by suing the Supreme Court.
The Republican plaintiffs argued that the universal, “no apology” program for submitting elections adopted by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania legislature in 2019, which allows voters to vote by mail for any reason, violates the state constitution.
Biden won Pennsylvania by 80,000 votes and received a much higher share of the vote than Trump. Many more voted by mail this year due to health problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as they tried to avoid crowds at polling stations.
In the run-up to the election, Trump urged his supporters not to vote by mail, making baseless claims that the referendum – a long-running feature of US elections – was fraught with fraud.
Pennsylvania said in a court that the Republican challengers asked the justices to “carry out one of the most dramatic, disruptive calls for judicial power” in US history by revoking a state’s certification of its election results.
The state said most of what the contestants had sought was tough because the election results were already certified and what they really wanted was for “the court to overturn the election results.”
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Nov. 28 dismissed the challenge, saying the lawsuit was not filed in a timely manner when the submission voting law was first passed. It threw out a lower court decision that had ordered the state not to certify the election pending a hearing.
Trump’s campaign and his allies have lost in a stream of trials in key states that Biden won, including Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and others. Judges have rejected extensive allegations of irregularities in the votes.
Biden has amassed 306 votes – exceeding the required 270 – compared to 232 for Trump in the state-run electoral college that determines the election results, while winning the national referendum with more than 7 million votes.
Tuesday represents a deadline for “safe harbor” set by a 1887 U.S. law for states to certify presidential election results. Adherence to the deadline is not mandatory but gives the assurance that a state’s results will not be guessed by Congress.
After this deadline, Trump could still continue trials with the aim of revoking Biden’s victory, but the effort would be even more difficult.