In a bombshell announcement over the weekend, President Donald Trump’s campaign continued with its efforts to fight the results of the Nov 3. election on Sunday. The Trump campaign said it had filed a new petition with the Supreme Court on Sunday.
The goal: Have the high court throw out the Electoral College votes Pennslyvania officially certified last week, and have the state legislature vote to distribute the critical 20 electoral votes instead.
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Specifically, the petition seeks to reverse a trio of Pennsylvania Supreme Court cases having to do with mail-in ballots and asks the court to allow the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pick its own slate of electors.
Experts say the prospect of the highest court in the land throwing out the results based on allegations of voter fraud is a longshot. And even if Trump wins the landmark case, Pennslyvania’s results wouldn’t change the outcome alone.
Biden would still be the presidential election winner even without Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. The Trump legal team would then need to overturn the Electoral College vote in two other states as well.
“The petition seeks all appropriate remedies, including vacating the appointment of electors committed to Joseph Biden and allowing the Pennsylvania General Assembly to select their replacements,” Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said in a statement.
He is asking the court to move swiftly so it can rule before Congress meets on Jan. 6 to tally the vote of the Electoral College, which has confirmed Biden’s win with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
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The justices are not scheduled to meet again, even privately, until Jan 8, two days after Congress counts votes.
Pennsylvania last month certified Biden as the winner of the state’s 20 Electoral College votes after three weeks of vote counting and a string of ineffective legal challenges by Guilianni’s team.
Giuliani has frustrated supporters through a string of legal losses before judges of both political parties, including some Trump appointed. And some of his strongest rebukes have come from conservative Republicans. The Supreme Court has also refused to take up two cases — decisions that Trump has scorned.
The new case is at least the fourth involving Pennsylvania that Trump’s campaign or Republican allies have taken to the Supreme Court in a bid to overturn Biden’s victory in the state or at least reverse court decisions involving mail-in balloting. Many more cases were filed in state and federal courts. Roughly 10,000 mail-in ballots that arrived after polls closed but before a state court-ordered deadline remain in limbo, awaiting the highest court’s decision on whether they should be counted.
The Trump campaign’s filing Sunday targets three decisions of Pennsylvania’s Democratic-majority state Supreme Court.
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In November, the state’s highest court upheld a Philadelphia judge’s ruling that state law only required election officials to allow partisan observers to be able to see mail-in ballots being processed, not stand close enough to election workers to see the writing on individual envelopes.
It also ruled that more than 8,300 mail-in ballots in Philadelphia that had been challenged by the Trump campaign because of technical errors — such as a voter’s failure to write their name, address, or date on the outer ballot envelope — should be counted. In October, the court ruled unanimously that counties are prohibited from rejecting mail-in ballots simply because a voter’s signature does not resemble the signature on the person’s voter registration form.
“The Campaign’s petition seeks to reverse three decisions which eviscerated the Pennsylvania Legislature’s protections against mail ballot fraud, including (a) prohibiting election officials checking whether signatures on mail ballots are genuine during canvassing on Election Day, (b) eliminating the right of campaigns to challenge mail ballots during canvassing for forged signatures and other irregularities, (c) holding that the rights of campaigns to observe the canvassing of mail ballots only meant that they only were allowed to be ‘in the room’ – in this case, the Philadelphia Convention Center – the size of several football fields, and (d) eliminating the statutory requirements that voters properly sign, address, and date mail ballots,” Giuliani said in a statement.
Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that a meeting in the White House regarding Trump’s next steps devolved into a heated argument after someone suggested Trump could impose martial law and re-hold the election.
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While insiders acknowledge the meeting did get heated, Trump dismissed the report as “knowingly bad reporting” and said there was never any talk about imposing martial law.
Martial law = Fake News. Just more knowingly bad reporting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2020
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The Associated Press contributed to this article