The date set by Justice Alito — who oversees emergency petitions arising from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware for the court — comes one day after what is known as the “safe harbor date,” the federal deadline for states to resolve outstanding challenges to their elections. Once it has passed, the state’s slate of appointed electors is considered to be locked in for the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote.
An unequivocal statement from the General Assembly’s Republican leadership states that they had no intention of doing so.
Supreme Court order, state GOP leaders effectively end Trump’s hope for Pa. legislators to reverse election results
By Jeremy Roebuck, The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 4, 2020:
If its fate had not been abundantly clear already, President Donald Trump’s dream of having Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled legislature overturn the state’s election results received what appeared to be its final death blows Thursday with a late-night order from the U.S. Supreme Court and an unequivocal statement from the General Assembly’s Republican leadership that they had no intention of doing so.
The Supreme Court order came in response to a request from one of the president’s top boosters in Congress, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Pa.), who has asked the justices to declare the state’s vote-by-mail law unconstitutional and to “decertify” Pennsylvania’s results, which cemented President-elect Joe Biden’s victory by roughly 81,000 votes last week.
But just hours after Kelly filed that appeal Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. crafted a telling schedule for the case, giving state officials until Dec. 9 to file their reply.
The date set by Alito — who oversees emergency petitions arising from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware for the court — comes one day after what is known as the “safe harbor date,” the federal deadline for states to resolve outstanding challenges to their elections. Once it has passed, the state’s slate of appointed electors is considered to be locked in for the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote.i
It is still possible — though, election law experts said, unlikely — that the Supreme Court could decide to consider Kelly’s appeal about the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s mail voting law outside the context of the 2020 election.
But the schedule laid out by Alito appeared to foreclose any chance of the court weighing in before its outcome had been finalized.
“The timing here matters,” said University of California-Irvine law professor Richard L. Hasen, in a post Thursday evening on his Election Law Blog. “I don’t see a path for Trump to use court cases to overturn the election results in even one state, much less the three states he would need at a minimum to get a different result in the Electoral College. But as the clock ticks down, those tiny chances fade into nothing.”
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