Justice Samuel Alito ordered Pennsylvania state officials to respond to Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-PA) election challenge a day sooner than previously ordered, which forces them to do so before the “safe harbor” deadline.
The safe harbor deadline is the date set by the federal government that the states choose their electors. Alito had previously ordered the officials to respond to Kelly by Wednesday, a day after the deadline, which many read as a signal that the Supreme Court had no intention of getting involved in the case.
“Kelly has argued that Pennsylvania lawmakers improperly expanded voting by mail in the state last year with a vote in the state legislature instead of submitting the change through the constitutional amendment process, which would have required a statewide ballot question, among other procedural steps,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “But in throwing out his case Nov. 28, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court said Kelly had waited far too long to file his legal challenge and noted it had only come after his favored candidate, Trump, had lost the election.”
Richard L. Hasen, an election law professor at the University of California-Irvine, wrote that the new deadline for officials to respond to Kelly “allows the Court at least in theory to issue some relief by the end of safe harbor day.”
“I would not read too much into this. It shows more respect to the petitioners, and does not make it look like the Court is simply running out the clock on the petition,” Hasen added. “I still think the chances the Court grants any relief on this particular petition are virtually zero.”
Last month, constitutional legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, who represented Trump during impeachment, told Fox News that he did not think that Trump’s legal efforts would upend the result of the election but that he thinks that the case in Pennsylvania could be a case they win at the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump rallied his supporters in Georgia over the weekend in an effort to make sure that the party was united and motivated to turn out in the state’s two Senate runoff elections next month, which will ultimately decide who controls the U.S. Senate for the next two years.
“The answer,” Trump said, “is not to stay at home, that’s what Nancy Pelosi and Schumer, that’s what they want you to do.”
“If you want to do something to them — I don’t want to use the word ‘revenge,’ but it is a certain revenge — to the Democrats, you show up and vote in record numbers,” Trump continued. “That’s what you have to do.”
“We have to hold the line, and you have two of the greatest people on earth, we have to hold the line,” Trump continued. “Make sure that you and everyone else know that you have to register to vote before this Monday, December 7.”
Trump also pushed back on calls from fringe individuals who had encouraged Republicans to stay home and not vote, saying that everything that his administration accomplished is on the line in next month’s election.