By Matthew Vadum
With nine days to go before Inauguration Day, the Supreme Court threw out a raft of requests this morning for expedited consideration of legal challenges to election results in multiple states by President Donald Trump’s campaign and Trump supporters.
The actions come Jan. 11 after Congress voted Jan. 7 to dismiss all objections lodged by senators and representatives challenging Electoral College votes from disputed states narrowly won by the Democratic Party ticket of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Republican lawmaker support for the objections collapsed after multiple individuals bearing Trump campaign flags and paraphernalia ran amok in the United States Capitol while lawmakers were attempting to officially certify the results of the Nov. 6 election, delaying the process several hours.
Although the lawsuits acted on by the high court continue to be pending, the terms of office of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to end at 12 Noon on Jan. 20, at which point Biden and Harris will be sworn in, replacing them. Trump has said he will not attend the ceremony.
The Supreme Court, as is its custom, did not explain why it dismissed the emergency applications seeking fast-track consideration of the various lawsuits. There were no noted dissents from any of the high court’s nine justices.
The lawsuits in question, all of which continue to be listed on the Supreme Court’s docket, concern the presidential elections held in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The lawsuits, now in a state of legal purgatory waiting to be processed at the high court, could be heard later this year after Biden and Harris take office.
Many of the lawsuits challenge the election results on the basis of allegedly unconstitutional changes made to state election procedures. Article II of the U.S. Constitution states that “Each State shall appoint [electors for president and vice president] in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” Litigants point out that the legislative power is “plenary,” meaning unqualified and absolute. State officials, they say, are not allowed to modify election procedures without the consent of the legislature.
Trump campaign attorney John C. Eastman of Anaheim, Calif., told The Epoch Times in an email he was not pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision not to expedite the case known as Donald J. Trump for President v. Boockvar. The petition for certiorari and motion to expedite were filed Dec. 21.
“By failing to act on our motion to expedite for over three weeks, the motion to expedite had effectively been denied already,” Eastman said, adding the issue of whether the petition is moot remains to be decided.
“There is a well-recognized exception to mootness called ‘capable of repetition yet evading review.’ It is invoked quite frequently in election litigation, as oftentimes the issues are as applicable to the next election as to the current one. Our legal issue—whether non-legislative election and judicial officials in the state have the ability to ignore or alter state election law in the ‘manner’ of choosing presidential electors violates Article II of the U.S. Constitution, remains important and in need of the Court’s review.”
The petition states that the plenary power “and the statutory provisions enacted by the legislature in the furtherance of that constitutionally-assigned duty may not be ignored by state election officials or changed by state courts,” citing the Supreme Court’s landmark 2000 ruling in Bush v. Gore, sometimes called “Bush II.” “Yet, during the 2020 presidential election, that is what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did in four cases.”
A lawsuit brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) against Pennsylvania started Dec. 3 as an emergency application aimed at preventing state officials “from taking any further action to perfect the certification of the results” of the election. The Supreme Court denied the emergency application Dec. 3.
Then in a petition filed Dec. 11 Kelly asked the high court to invalidate Act 77, which Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, signed into law Oct. 30, 2019. “The no-excuse mail-in voting system implemented by Act 77 was substantively unconstitutional and violated 158 years of standing legal precedent,” Kelly argued.
Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia A. McCullough issued a ruling Nov. 27 finding that the petitioners met, in Kelly’s words, “all six factors for injunctive relief.”
“Petitioners appear to have a viable claim that the mail-in ballot procedures set forth in Act 77 contravene Pa. Const. Article VII Section 14 as the plain language of that constitutional provision is at odds with the mail-in provisions of Act 77,” McCullough wrote.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania disagreed and reversed the judge’s ruling. The Supreme Court of the United States refused Jan. 11 to expedite the appeal.
Trump supporter and attorney L. Lin Wood’s lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger over Georgia’s election argues in his petition filed Dec. 8 that the Republican secretary of state “usurped” the “plenary authority” of the Georgia Legislature “by entering into a Settlement Agreement with the Democratic Party earlier this year and issuing an Official Election Bulletin that modified the Legislature’s clear procedures for verifying the identity of mail-in voters.”
The settlement in March 2020 with the Democratic Party of Georgia Inc., the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee violated voters’ rights by setting forth “totally different standards to be followed by a poll worker processing absentee ballots in Georgia.”
This is a developing story. It will be updated.
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