Supreme Court Throws Out Pennsylvania’s GOP 2020 Election Challenge
With no public comment, the Supreme Court on Monday passed on hearing a Pennsylvania GOP challenge to the 2020 presidential election. The challenge pushed by former President Donald Trump and the Pennsylvania Republican Party hoped to reverse a state court decision extending the deadline ballots could be received in the state by three days. The state court made the decision because of concerns relating to COVID-19.
The election challenge had no meaningful chance to change the outcome of Pennsylvania’s already-certified election results. Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by 80,555 votes and the total number of votes that came in during the three-day extension was about 10,000.
While the Supreme Court did not write a majority decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion as the sole justice who disagreed. Thomas wrote “that decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election. But that may not be the case in the future, these cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable.”
Trump and GOP lawyers have repeatedly tried to counter Pennsylvania’s decision to allow three-day late ballots. While the GOP’s initial bid to the Supreme Court deadlocked them 4-4 in October, later that same month the justices’ decision turned unanimously against Trump and the GOP. Justices Samuel Alito, Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, however, voiced concerns over the decision.
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There is still one more pending election challenge from Trump that the Supreme Court has not yet debated. Trump and his lawyers submitted to the Supreme Court that the Wisconsin Election Commission’s decision to use ballot drop-boxes was unconstitutional. The challenge will be heard on March 5.
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