US Supreme Court rejects Trump’s last-ditch effort to overturn Pennsylvania’s certification that Joe Biden won battleground state

Decision seen as fatal blow to president’s efforts to secure second term

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
@AndrewBuncombe
Tuesday 08 December 2020 23:01
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The US Supreme Court has rejected Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election result in Pennsylvania, delivering what may be a final, fatal blow to the president’s attempts to secure a second term.

Almost precisely a month after the Associated Press called Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral college votes for Mr Biden and in doing do indicated he would be the next president, the nation’s top court rejected a request from Mr Trump’s supporters to throw out up to more than two million mail-in ballots.

The ruling issued by the court was notable for its brevity. “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” it read.

Yet, its implications were huge, appearing to draw a line under efforts by the president and his supporters to overturn the election he lost to Mr Biden, a result he has claimed without evidence was the result of electoral fraud.

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The efforts in Pennsylvania, which Mr Biden won 50 - 49 and by around 80,000 votes, were led by Republican congressman Mike Kelly, a Trump ally, and other Pennsylvania Republicans.

They had filed a lawsuit after the November 3 election arguing that the state’s 2019 expansion of mail-in voting was illegal under state law.

Yet it was only one of several dozen efforts signed off on by Mr Trump, many of them seemingly underhand, to somehow derail the democratic process.

In Georgia, which Mr Biden won by just 12,000 votes, state officials - many of them Republicans - received threats and bullying, as the Trump campaign and its supporters sought to claim the count had not been fair. Three recounts took place, as a result.

In Michigan, where Mr Biden won by around 150,000 votes, the president sought to  pressure the designated electors whose task is to certify the votes, to support him instead.

While the aftermath of previous disputed elections - most notably the 2000 showdown between Al Gore and George W Bush - have become ugly and heated, observers said the scenes playing out the past month and Mr Trump’s blatant attempt to refuse he had lost, had no parallel.

There were no noted dissents to Tuesday’s decision from any of the justices on the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority including three Trump appointees.

There was also no immediate reaction from either Mr Trump or Mr Biden.

Mr Trump had urged the Republican-led Senate to confirm his most recent nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, before the election so she would be able to participate in any election-related cases.

The final tally in the 2020 election gave Mr Biden a modest electoral college win over Mr Trump of 306 - 232, the same margin by which the president beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, and claimed was a landslide.

In the popular vote, Mr Biden secured more than 81m votes, and Mr Trump more than 74m.

The electoral college process is due to take on December 14 when the state’s will formally account their votes.

While Mr Trump has been trying to overturn the result, Mr Biden has spent much of the last four weeks working on his transition, making a number of key appointments and setting out the priorities for his first 100 days in office.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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