Pennsylvania Republicans Ask Supreme Court to Review Election Lawsuit

Pennsylvania Republicans Ask Supreme Court to Review Election Lawsuit
President Donald Trump, right, greets Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and his wife Victoria upon arrival at Erie International Airport in Erie, Pa. on Oct. 10, 2018. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Pennsylvania Republicans on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their claims that Pennsylvania violated the Constitution by allowing anyone to vote by mail.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and other party members, including congressional candidate Sean Parnell, filed the suit last month, over a state law enacted last year.

“Act 77 is the most expansive and fundamental change to the Pennsylvania voting code, implemented illegally, to date,” the suit stated, describing the law as “another illegal attempt to override the limitations on absentee voting prescribed in the Pennsylvania Constitution, without first following the necessary procedure to amend the constitution to allow for the expansion.”

A Pennsylvania judge said the plaintiffs would likely succeed and blocked the state from certifying the results of the Nov. 3 election but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the injunction days later. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week denied a request for immediate relief.

Petitioners responded by filing an emergency application for writ of injunction, or an immediate stay, pending the filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari, or a review of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling.

“The basic framework of our democracy forbids the dilution of votes and the devaluation of core constitutional tenants. Procedural gymnastics aside, the central issue in this case is that Act 77 is unconstitutional under the Pennsylvania Constitution and, therefore, a violation of the U.S. Constitution,” attorney Gregory Teufel, lead counsel for the petitioners, said in a statement.

Teufel accused the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of having “shirked its most basic responsibility” to determine whether a state law violates the state Constitution.

If left unaddressed, the core issue presented in the petition will “continue to impact this and ever future national election,” he said, adding: “Petitioners therefore respectfully urge our nation’s Highest Court to accept this case swiftly.”

The Supreme Court of the United States in Washington on Dec. 4, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
The Supreme Court of the United States in Washington on Dec. 4, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Petitioners had asked the court to block certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. In rejecting that request, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t provide any rationale, and there were no noted dissents.

The rejection of the request does not preclude the court from accepting the petition.

“All that happened is we were not granted temporary injunctive relief,” Kelly said this week. “The case is still alive and well.”

In an appearance on CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Dec. 8, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the rejection of the request for immediate relief was expected.

“It sends a crystal-clear message,” Shapiro said. “It is time for us to move on.”

The new filing came on the same day the nation’s top court denied a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas against Pennsylvania and three other states.

“Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,” the brief order read.

Justice Samuel Alito, a George W. Bush appointee, issued a separate statement to say he would have granted Texas’s request to sue. He was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, a George H. W. Bush appointee.

Teufel told The Epoch Times in an email that the rejection “really has no bearing on our case.”

“The Petitioners in our case certainly have standing to file a petition for a writ of certiorari,” he added. “I would assume that the Court’s rejection of the Texas suit on standing grounds was sincere and does not reflect anything about the Court’s willingness to take on election cases, but rather reflects the Court’s refusal to take up cases where standing is lacking.”