WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Republicans' last-gasp bid to reverse Pennsylvania's certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the electoral battleground.
The court without comment refused to call into question the certification process in Pennsylvania. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf already has certified Biden's victory over President Donald Trump and the state's 20 electors are to meet on Dec. 14 to cast their votes for Biden.
In any case, Biden won 306 electoral votes, so even if Pennsylvania’s results had been in doubt, he still would have more than the 270 electoral votes needed to become president.
The court's decision not to intervene came in a lawsuit led by Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northeastern Pennsylvania and GOP congressional candidate and Trump favorite Sean Parnell, who lost to Pittsburgh-area U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, a Democrat.
“Even Trump appointees & Republicans saw this for what it was: a charade,” Lamb said on Twitter.
In court filings, lawyers for Pennsylvania and Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, had called the lawsuit's claims “fundamentally frivolous” and its request “one of the most dramatic, disruptive invocations of judicial power in the history of the Republic.”
“No court has ever issued an order nullifying a governor’s certification of presidential election results,” they wrote.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas had offered to argue the case, if the high court took it.
Having lost the request for the court to intervene immediately, Greg Teufel, a lawyer for Kelly and Parnell, said he will file a separate request to ask the court to consider the case on its underlying merits on an expedited basis.
Still, hopes for immediate intervention concerning the Nov. 3 election “substantially dimmed” with the court's action Tuesday, Teufel said.
“But by no way is this over,” Kelly said on Fox News.
Republicans had pleaded with the justices to intervene immediately after the state Supreme Court turned away their case last week.
The Republicans argued that Pennsylvania’s expansive vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional because it required a constitutional amendment to authorize its provisions. Just one Republican state lawmaker voted against its passage last year in Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature.
Biden beat Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a state Trump had won in 2016. Most mail-in ballots were submitted by Democrats.
The state's high court said the plaintiffs waited too long to file the challenge and noted the Republicans' staggering demand that an entire election be overturned retroactively.
In the underlying lawsuit, Kelly, Parnell 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.
Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.