CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed requests to hear cases related to last year’s election, including petitions to review a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision on absentee ballots.
The justices on Monday rejected multiple cases, including challenges backed by former President Donald Trump and his allies. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., were among the individuals who signed briefs supporting the efforts.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last September agreed to allow absentee ballots received up to three days after Nov. 3 to be counted. The Pennsylvania Republican Party challenged the decision, arguing the Democrat-led Supreme Court violated federal law and the U.S. Constitution, and made it possible for voters to cast their ballot after Election Day.
“In a year where there is a very real possibility that the final presidential election result hinges on Pennsylvania, the new rules imposed by the decision of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (a body elected in partisan elections) could destroy the American public’s confidence in the electoral system as a whole,” the party argued in a Sept. 28 brief.
The federal Supreme Court declined in late October to expedite the matter.
Around 10,000 ballots arrived during the three-day period; President Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.
Morrisey and five state attorneys general submitted a “friend of the court” brief; the officials argued state legislatures have control over election deadlines, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overstepped its authority.
“This is a clear example of courts legislating from the bench, and the impact shakes the very core of our democracy,” Morrisey said in November. “Pennsylvania’s legislature wrote clear instructions concerning the deadlines for absentee ballots. Now its Supreme Court has decided it knows better than elected lawmakers.”
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote an independent dissenting opinion on the decision. Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch submitted a joint dissenting opinion.
“One wonders what this Court waits for. We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections,” Thomas wrote. “The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us.”
Morrisey shared that portion of Thomas’ opinion on Twitter, noting the associate justice “nails it.”
Justices also rejected a challenge from the former president’s campaign regarding the Pennsylvania court’s decisions related to the election.
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., pushed a challenge opposing the certification of the commonwealth’s election results. Twenty-eight members of the House of Representatives — including Mooney — signed a Dec. 23 supporting brief.
“It is astounding that our nation’s highest court was unwilling to hear arguments in a case that called on the Court to require states to follow their own constitutions in the conduct of federal elections,” Kelly said in a statement.
Kelly also called on Pennsylvania lawmakers to repeal no-excuse mail-in voting.
The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a Texas-led effort in December targeting ballot counts in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, all states Biden won. Morrisey, Mooney and Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., supported the challenge.