Pennsylvania’s highest court dismissed a lawsuit on Saturday from U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and other Republicans who’d sought to challenge the legitimacy of the approximately 2.6 million mail-in ballots cast in the state during the November general election.
In a unanimous decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out a lower court’s order ― issued by Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough on Wednesday in response to the suit ― that had temporarily halted the certification of remaining contests in the state.
The state Supreme Court said Kelly and the other Republican plaintiffs were much too late in filing their lawsuit, which had argued that Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail statute, signed into law in 2019, was unconstitutional.
Kelly — a vocal ally of President Donald Trump — and the other plaintiffs had sought to either toss out all mail-in ballots from the general election or to invalidate the election results entirely and order the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to choose Pennsylvania’s presidential electors.
The state Supreme Court, however, scoffed at the idea.
“It is beyond cavil that Petitioners failed to act with due diligence in presenting the instant claim,” the court wrote in its opinion, using a term that means petty or unnecessary.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) celebrated the ruling as “another win for democracy.”
As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, the court’s ruling marks the end to the many lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and its allies to challenge Pennsylvania’s election results. About a dozen legal challenges were filed, the paper said, and the Trump campaign lost all except one.
President-elect Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 81,000 votes ― a result certified by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) on Tuesday. A day later, Wolf appealed McCullough’s lower court decision to the state Supreme Court, saying there was no “conceivable justification” to stymying the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote.
“Since the birth of our nation nearly 250 years ago, no court has ever issued an order purporting to interfere with a state’s ascertainment of its presidential electors — until today,” Wolf’s administration said in its appeal.