The US Supreme Court on February 22 brought a formal end to eight lingering disputes pursued by former President Donald Trump and his allies related to the Presidential election including a Republican challenge to the extension of Pennsylvania’s deadline to receive mail-in ballots. The justices turned away appeals by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and Republican members of the state legislature of a ruling by Pennsylvania’s top court ordering officials to count mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Election Day and received up to three days later. Three of the nine-member court’s six conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, dissented from the decision not to hear the Pennsylvania case.
Former President Donald Trump lost his re-election bid to former Vice President Joe Biden by a 306-232 margin in the 2020 Presidential election. Now-President Biden defeated Trump by 80,000 votes and the legal case focuses on less than 10,000 mail-in ballots. The Supreme Court, as expected, also rejected two Trump appeals challenging Biden’s victories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin based on claims that the rules for mail-in ballots in the two election battleground states were invalid. The court also turned away separate cases brought by Trump allies in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona, all states won by Biden. It already was clear that the high court had no intention to intervene in the cases because it did not act before Congress on January 6 certified Biden’s victory. That formal certification was interrupted when a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol. The court also turned down motions to expedite the election cases.
Former President Donald Trump made false claims that the Presidential election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud and irregularities. From the day after the Presidential election until the middle of December, Trump’s legal team filed some 40 election-related lawsuits challenging the results in seven states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico). The Supreme Court ruled these disputes as invalid on December 11 in 1 7-2 decision, with even Trump’s own Supreme Court appointees ruling against him.
The case brought by Pennsylvania Republicans concerned 9,428 ballots out of 6.9 million cast in the state. The Supreme Court previously rejected a Republican request to block the lower court ruling allowing the ballots to be counted. In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas said the Supreme Court should resolve whether non-legislators, including elections officials and courts, have any power to set election rules. Thomas said it was fortunate that the state high court’s ruling did not involve enough ballots to affect the election’s outcome.