Trump's Sad Coup Attempt Just Got Slapped Down Hard by the Supreme Court

The loss in the Pennsylvania case has gotta hurt.
December 8, 2020, 11:03pm
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Washington.

President Trump’s bid to reverse the result of the 2020 election just got slapped down embarrassingly hard by the Supreme Court. 

The high court flatly refused to hear a case brought by a group of Republicans from Pennsylvania who’ve been trying to argue that the state’s mail-in voting rules were unconstitutional, and that the courts should therefore order the mass shredding of mail-in ballots. 

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The denial represents yet another painful defeat for Trump, who’s been counting on the Supreme Court to step in and swing the election in his favor, even though independent electoral law experts call that notion wildly far-fetched. Trump’s allies have suffered 50 courtroom defeats since Election Day, and only 1 victory, according to a tally kept by attorney Marc Elias

Yet Tuesday’s face-plant on the steps of the Supreme Court came with a special sting. Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly expressed optimism that the high court’s 6-3 conservative majority would surely come to their rescue once one of their many lawsuits rose to that level. Trump personally nominated three justices to the bench, and has been counting on their loyalty. But the Supreme Court slammed the door in his face. 

The decision landed in the form of a simple one-line order: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.”

No justice indicated a dissent — suggesting that, contrary to Trump’s wild-eyed, unfounded claims of voter fraud, his view lacks support on the bench.  

The lawsuit in question was brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, who argued that the state’s expansion of mail-in voting during the pandemic was unconstitutional because it wasn’t specifically backed up by a ruling of the state’s Legislature. Kelly and other GOP plaintiffs asked for the courts to throw out the state’s mail-in ballots and void the state’s official results, even though Pennsylvania certified its final tally earlier this month giving Joe Biden an edge of more than 80,000 votes. 

The rebuttal for Team Trump arrived on what’s known as “safe harbor day,” an important if technical deadline in the electoral calendar. 

By federal law, Congress must defer to the decision of states that certify their results before safe harbor day. That’s yet another problem for Trump, because his allies have hoped to use the courts or state legislatures to sew doubts about the 2020 result and then find a way to toss the election result to Congress.