(USA Features) The U.S. Supreme Court issued a terse, unsigned, two-sentence ruling on Monday in declining to hear another challenge to changes made to voting procedures in Pennsylvania prior to the 2020 election.
Justices rejected an appeal from a GOP congressional candidate who unsuccessfully challenged the state’s mail-in ballot initiates, which constitutes the last Nov. 3-related election lawsuit to be dismissed regarding Pennsylvania.
“The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit with instructions to dismiss the case as moot,” said the Supreme Court ruling.
The suit was filed by Republican Jim Bognet who said that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had no authority to approve rules expanding access to early voting in the state as well as extending mail-in balloting deadlines. He argued that the state court’s ruling circumvented the authority of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, which is constitutionally empowered with establishing voting rules and laws.
Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled mail-in ballots could be received at polling centers and still counted three days after the election, which contravenes existing state law.
Initially, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case, ruling that neither Bognet nor the other challengers had the right to bring the case.
But an attorney for Bognet argued that the nation’s highest court still needed to clear up the issue even though the fall election is over.
“This case presents an opportunity for the court to resolve these issues in an orderly manner on full briefing and argument, rather than on the ‘shadow docket’ under the time pressures of an ongoing election,” David Thompson said in court documents.
He went on to argue that the Pennsylvania high court “rewrote” election deadline statutes with its ruling, adding that the U.S. Constitution empowers only “state legislatures” and not “state judges” to determine election laws.
“Although Election Day has passed, the disputes around these questions are not going away,” Thompson said. “This Court’s intervention is needed to resolve splits in the lower courts. Federal courts of appeals have reached directly contrary holdings for which parties have standing to bring claims under the Elections.”