Pennsylvania’s High Court Allows State to Complete Certification

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed the state to complete its certification of the presidential vote won by Democrat Joe Biden, reversing a temporary delay ordered by a lower-court judge and throwing out a challenge filed by state Republicans.

The high court on Saturday rejected an attack on the state’s mail-voting law, saying Republicans waited too long to sue after the law was enacted last year. In a sharply worded order, the Supreme Court turned aside the “extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise all 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the General Election” and throw the decision to the state legislature.

On Nov. 25, Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough blocked any additional steps needed for certification while she considered the case, which was filed by state Republicans led by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly, on an expedited basis. Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, both Democrats, appealed the order to the state’s top court.

McCullough’s ruling came after the state certified the vote in favor of Biden. It’s unclear exactly what further steps in the process could have been delayed, but the plaintiffs suggested there were several, including the assembly of electors. The Electoral College vote to certify the Nov. 3 election results doesn’t take place until Dec. 14.

The case is unrelated to one brought by President Donald Trump’s campaign, rejected by a federal appeals court on Friday, that sought to undo Pennsylvania’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Keystone State. The campaign has said it will try to have the case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes in the Pennsylvania challenge, Trump may have no further means of persuading courts there to override the results, in a state that was critical to his re-election hopes. Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes, and with it 20 electoral votes.

In Saturday’s ruling, two state Supreme Court judges said the Republicans could be correct that the mail-voting law may have violated the state Constitution. But all the judges said a court could neither invalidate the results nor halt the certification process at this point.

The case is Kelly v. Commonwealth, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 68-MAP-2020.

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