The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Pennsylvania Republicans that would have blocked certification of the state’s election results, granting its Electoral College votes to Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.
CNN reports that the decision not to take up the appeal was unanimous; although Justice Samuel Alito was responsible for ultimately refusing the emergency appeal, there were no justices dissenting to the decision.
The outlet called the decision a “crushing loss” for President Donald Trump who was suggesting, as recently as Tuesday morning, that Alito and the court’s other conservative justices — including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was seated at the end of October — would come to his aid and enjoin Pennsylvania from certifying its November presidential election results.
The Justices also moved quickly, in addition to moving as a single unit. Tuesday, CNN notes, was the final day Pennsylvania could certify its election result and ensure that votes would be counted when Congress tallies up the final Electoral College vote in January. The Supreme Court issued a one-sentence ruling denying the appeal just hours after the final brief was filed and just hours before the deadline.
“The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the order said, simply.
Republicans had pinned their hopes on this challenge, which focused on the legality of a piece of legislation passed in 2019, greatly expanding the right to participate in mail-in voting within the state.
“In their lawsuit, Mr. Trump’s allies argued the law, known as Act 77, violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. The law implemented a no-excuse absentee voting system for state and federal elections and was passed with bipartisan support in 2019,” CBS News reported.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court previously ruled that Republicans waited far too long — until more than a year later and after a major election — to challenge the Constitutionality of Act 77.
“The want of due diligence demonstrated in this matter is unmistakable,” the court said in late November. They accused the GOP of “complete failure to act with due diligence in commencing their facial constitutional challenge, which was ascertainable upon Act 77’s enactment.”
Had Republicans won their appeal, they might have forced the governor of Pennsylvania to “nullify” November’s election results, potentially sending the contest to a recount or even a revote. Lawyers for the state of Pennsylvania focused heavily on the upheaval such a result might cause, not just in Pennsylvania but across the country, arguing that “granting an injunction would sow chaos and confusion across the nation while inflaming baseless concerns about electoral impropriety and ensnaring the Judiciary in partisan strife.”
Republicans, however, argued that if Pennsylvania certified their election results with questions still hanging about the vote-by-mail process, it could produce the same unrest and upheaval: “Absent intervention by this court, respondents will complete the process of certifying the results of an election, and potentially cast electoral college votes for president and vice president, conducted in a manner which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has long rejected as unconstitutional.”
Pennsylvania’s electors will now likely head to Washington, D.C., where they will cast their votes for Joe Biden on December 14th.
Pennsylvania remains one of the final battlegrounds in President Trump’s challenge to November’s presidential election result. The president has urged lawmakers in Michigan and Georgia to consider questioning or investigating their states’ results.