The Supreme Court refused to hear a dispute on Monday over whether absentee ballots issued in Pennsylvania up to three days after Election Day could have been counted in the 2020 presidential election.
The high court shut down a challenge from Pennsylvania Republicans in a decision that divided the court and triggered dissents from three conservative justices, trying to block a state court ruling that authorized the extension of the deadline. But even the dissenting judges agreed that the legal problems in the case would not have influenced the November election results.
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Republicans claimed that the extension was inappropriate because the state legislature did not support it and they have raised concerns regarding the effect on future elections.
In a dissent, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “That decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election,” “But that may not be the case in the future.”
The Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, one short of the four votes required for the Supreme Court to consider an appeal, would also have heard the cases.
During the three-day extension, Democrats and Republicans in Pennsylvania fought in court. Democrats argued that there was ample cause for the coronavirus pandemic to extend the deadline to allow a major expansion of mail-in voting.
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Republicans argued that the extension of the deadline was in violation of the Constitution and federal law and questioned the U.S. Supreme Court, to block the ruling of the state court.
The high court refused the 11th-hour appeal of Republicans to intercede in late October, just days before Election Day, enabling ballots collected by Nov. 6 to be counted, as ordered by the state court.
But the ballots were segregated from those obtained on Voting Day, meaning that after the election, the high court could hear the appeal.
In Pennsylvania and several other swing states, Trump and his allies filed scores of cases promising to flip the outcomes in his favor. But state and federal judges, some of whom Trump named, dismissed allegations of systemic bribery and irregularities.
A long-shot attempt by Texas to contest the outcomes in four swing states was blocked in December by the nation’s highest court. In a brief order, the court said, the state failed to demonstrate a “judicially cognizable interest” in how other states administer their elections.
The same month, amid claims from Trump’s supporters that the state’s wholesale expansion of mail-in voting was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court dismissed an attempt to stop Pennsylvania from finalizing Biden’s victory in the state.
Trump eventually accepted Biden’s win after weeks of wrongly arguing that the election had been stolen from him, and called for a “smooth” transfer of power. As Trump faced mounting criticism over his handling of the violence that erupted in the U.S. on Jan. 6, the major messaging change came as Trump faced growing criticism. That Capitol.