President Donald Trump’s team scored a last-minute legal victory on Sunday in his longshot bid to challenge the current results of the 2020 election.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has intervened to speed up the challenges in Pennslyvania over the results of the presidential election.
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The state’s Republican Rep. Mike Kelly has challenged the results that show Joe Biden winning the state’s critical 20 electoral college votes over President Donald Trump.
Alito ordered state officials to respond to a legal challenge by Kelly no later than 9:00 am on Tuesday, before a critical “safe harbor” deadline that would effectively lock-in the electoral votes for Biden.
Kelly and the other plaintiffs are asking the high court to prevent the state from certifying any contests from the Nov. 3 election, and undo any certifications already made, such as Biden’s victory, while its lawsuit is considered. Democratic Party lawyers say fatal flaws in Kelly’s original case mean justices are highly unlikely to grant it.
Republicans maintain that Pennsylvania’s expansive vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional because it required a constitutional amendment to authorize its provisions.
Justice Samuel Alito originally ordered the state’s lawyers to respond by Dec. 9, a day after the “safe harbor” deadline.
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As the results currently stand, Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a state Trump had won in 2016. Most mail-in ballots were submitted by Democrats.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court threw out the case Saturday. Kelly’s lawyers sought an injunction Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, then withdrew it while they asked the state’s high court to halt any certifications until the U.S. Supreme Court acts. The state’s justices refused Thursday, and Kelly’s lawyers promptly refiled the case in the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the state’s courts, justices cited the law’s 180-day time limit on filing legal challenges to its provisions, as well as the staggering demand that an entire election be overturned retroactively.
In addition to challenging the state’s mail-in voting law, Kelly’s lawyers question whether the state’s justices violated their clients’ constitutional rights by throwing out the case on the basis of time limits and barring them from refiling it on the same grounds.
Lawyers for Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said in court filings that Kelly’s lawyers never before argued that the U.S. Constitution provides a basis for their claims, making it “highly unlikely” the U.S. Supreme Court will grant what they are seeking.
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In the underlying lawsuit, Kelly and the other Republican plaintiffs had sought to either throw out the 2.5 million mail-in ballots submitted under the law or to wipe out the election results and direct the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to pick Pennsylvania’s presidential electors.
The Associated Press contributed to this article