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Pennsylvania State Judge Upholds Halt To Certification, Finds Likelihood Mail-In Balloting Procedures Violate PA Constitution

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A new twist has occurred!

Pennsylvania State Judge Upholds Halt To Certification, Finds Likelihood Mail-In Balloting Procedures Violate PA Constitution

 

The case has been somewhat under the radar, because it doesn’t involve claims of fraud. It appears to be a pretty straight legal argument. This is not the federal court case that has received a lot of press attention and in which the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied relief.

The issue in this case is whether legislative expansion of absentee balloting to broad mail-in balloting violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. It’s not clear what the relief would be; the petitioners seek to preclude the Secretary of State from transmitting the certification or otherwise perfecting the electoral college selections.

Earlier in the week, Judge Patricia McCollough  issued a temporary halt to the certification process, and that now is on appeal to the PA Supreme Court. The Judge issued this Opinion to extend that halt pending futher hearings, and to set forth the basis for the injunction, which could be relevant to the appeal:

 

As this Court’s November 25, 2020, Order of an Emergency Preliminary Injunction has been appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, this opinion shall set forth the basis for said Order and shall also satisfy the requirements of Rule 1925 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure, Pa.R.A.P. 1925….

Here is the Judge’s description of the claim:

In the Petition, Petitioners allege that the Act of October 31, 2019, P.L. 552, No. 77 (Act 77), which added and amended various absentee and mail-in voting provisions in the Pennsylvania Election Code (Election Code),1 is unconstitutional and void ab initio because it purportedly contravenes the requirements of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Petitioners allege that Article VII, section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides two exclusive mechanisms by which a qualified elector may cast his or her vote in an election: (1) by submitting his or her vote in propria persona at the polling place on election day; and (2) by submitting an absentee ballot, but only if the qualified voter satisfies the conditions precedent to meet the requirements of one of the four, limited exclusive circumstances under which absentee voting is authorized under the Pennsylvania constitution. (Petition, ¶16.) Petitioners allege that mail-in voting in the form implemented through Act 77 is an attempt by the legislature to fundamentally overhaul the Pennsylvania voting system and permit universal, no-excuse, mail-in voting absent any constitutional authority. Id., ¶17. Petitioners argue that in order to amend the Constitution, mandatory procedural requirements must be strictly followed. Specifically, pursuant to Article XI, Section 1, a proposed constitutional amendment must be approved by a majority vote of the members of both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions, then the proposed amendment must be published for three months ahead of the next general election in two newspapers in each county, and finally it must be submitted to the qualified electors as a ballot question in the next general election and approved by a majority of those voting on the amendment. According to Petitioners, the legislature did not follow the necessary procedures for amending the Constitution before enacting Act 77 which created a new category of mail-in voting; therefore, the mail-in ballot scheme under Act 77 is unconstitutional on its face and must be struck down. Id., ¶¶27, 35-37. As relief, Petitioners seek, inter alia, a declaration and/or injunction that prohibits Respondents from certifying the November 2020 General Election results, which include mail-in ballots that are permitted on a statewide basis and are allegedlyimproper because Act 77 is unconstitutional.

The Judge found, among other things, that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on their PA constitutional claims, and that the matter was not moot even though PA had “certified” the results, because there were more steps to be taken [emphasis added]:

 

Accordingly, in careful consideration [on November 25] of the exigencies and time constraints in this matter of statewide and national import, and the longstanding constitutional mandate that every citizen of this Commonwealth is entitled to no less than a fair and free election, it was necessary [on November 25] to preliminarily enjoin, on an emergency and temporary basis, Executive Respondents from undertaking any other actions with respect to the certification of the results of the presidential and vice presidential elections, if indeed anything else needs to be done, pending an evidentiary hearing to ascertain the facts of this matter and to determine if the dispute is moot….

Based upon the record before it, this Court has sufficient grounds to enjoin Respondents from further certification activities on an emergency preliminary basis, pending the results of the evidentiary hearing it had scheduled for this date, after which the Court would have determined if a preliminary injunction should issue.4 Since the Court is sitting in equity it has the power to fashion such relief as it is vitally important that the status quo be preserved pending further judicial scrutiny….

Additionally, Petitioners appear to have established a likelihood to succeed on the merits because Petitioners have asserted the Constitution does not provide a mechanism for the legislature to allow for expansion of absentee voting without a constitutional amendment. Petitioners appear to have a viable claim that the mail-in ballot procedures set forth in Act 77 contravene Pa. Const. Article VII Section 14 as the plain language of that constitutional provision is at odds with the mail-in provisions of Act 77. Since this presents an issue of law which has already been thoroughly briefed by the parties, this Court can state that Petitioners have a likelihood of success on the merits of its Pennsylvania Constitutional claim.

The Judge expressed grave concern as to what a remedy would be if she were to rule the mail-in balloting unconstitutional, so even if she ruled for the petitioners on the merits, it’s not clear if that would change the result:

That being said, this Court is mindful that one of the alternative reliefs noted by Petitioners would cause the disenfranchisement of the nearly seven million Pennsylvanians who voted in the 2020 General Election. Specifically, Respondents claim that a temporary stay would disenfranchise voters as the legislature would appoint the electors to the Election College. However, as noted, the legislature is not authorized to appoint the electors to the Electoral College until December 8, the “Federal Safe Harbor” date for certifying results for presidential electors. The Court agrees it would be untenable for the legislature to appoint the electors where an election has already occurred, if the majority of voters who did not vote by mail entered their votes in accord with a constitutionally recognized method, as such action would result in the disenfranchisement of every voter in the Commonwealth who voted in this election – not only those whose ballots are being challenged due to the constitutionality of Act 77. However, this is not the only equitable remedy available in a matter which hinges upon upholding a most basic constitutional right of the people to a fair and free election. Hence, Respondents have not established that greater harm will result in providing emergency relief, than the harm suffered by the public due to the results of a purportedly unconstitutional election.

The Judge concluded:

For all of the above reasons, the Court respectfully submits that the emergency preliminary injunction was properly issued and should be upheld pending an expedited emergency evidentiary hearing.

 

This is not a final ruling on the merits. It’s meant to prevent PA from taking more steps until the court finally rules.

Given how the PA Supreme Court has ruled previously on election matters, expanding procedures beyond what even the legislature adopted, I don’t see how this survives the PA Supreme Court. From there, the next stop is the U.S. Supreme Court where we know John Roberts and the three liberal Justice will defer to the state supreme court. But the Court is now 6-3, so a Roberts defection would not result in a 4-4 deadlock again if the 5 conservative Justices voted together.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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That pesky constitution...always getting in the way of loser Dems and their corrupt ways.

Let the jokers here gloat and post their stupid memes.

They only make it more fun when we rip their fake victory from them

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The judge's ruling came AFTER Pennsylvania certified the election & the governor signed off on the Biden electors.  Too bad his ruling is as meaningless as New Orleans complaint against pass interference against Nickell Robey-Coleman in the NFC championship game.  

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29 minutes ago, Albany,n.y. said:

The judge's ruling came AFTER Pennsylvania certified the election & the governor signed off on the Biden electors.  Too bad his ruling is as meaningless as New Orleans complaint against pass interference against Nickell Robey-Coleman in the NFC championship game.  

You clearly don't understand how this works

Stick to what you are qualified to speak on, bud

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2 hours ago, Philly'sFinest said:

You clearly don't understand how this works

Stick to what you are qualified to speak on, bud

It's too late.  

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4 hours ago, Albany,n.y. said:

The judge's ruling came AFTER Pennsylvania certified the election & the governor signed off on the Biden electors.  Too bad his ruling is as meaningless as New Orleans complaint against pass interference against Nickell Robey-Coleman in the NFC championship game.  

In most states it has to be certified first before being challenged.

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Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Philly'sFinest said:

You clearly don't understand how this works

Stick to what you are qualified to speak on, bud

So many loses, Trump's lawyers are now being called the New York Jets

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/trumps-pennsylvania-election-suit-rejected-by-appeals-court

 

 

Trump’s Pennsylvania Election Suit Rejected by Appeals Court

Nov. 27, 2020, 12:32 PM

Listen

A federal appeals court rejected President Donald Trump’s attempt to revive a lawsuit in which his campaign was seeking to undo Pennsylvania’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/11/28/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-mike-kelly-and-sean-parnell-request/

 

Pa. Supreme Court Dismisses Request From Mike Kelly And Sean Parnell To Declare Mail-In Voting Unconstitutional In State, Deny Results From 2020 Election Mail-In Ballots

November 28, 2020 at 6:37 pm

 

 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dismissed the lawsuit from Congressman Mike Kelly and congressional candidate Sean Parnell to declare universal mail-in voting unconstitutional in the state and deny the votes of the majority of Pennsylvanians who voted by mail in the Nov. 3 election.

 

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses another election case brought by Republicans

 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit Saturday night from US Rep. Mike Kelly and other Republicans, after they had tried to invalidate absentee voting and block the certification of votes in recent weeks.

 

The court was unanimous in deciding against Kelly and others, and refusing to block vote certification on Saturday. Five of the seven judges wrote that they believed the lawsuit had been filed far too late, a year after absentee voting procedures had been established in the state and weeks after millions of Pennsylvanians voted in good faith.

"It is beyond cavil that Petitioners failed to act with due diligence in presenting the instant claim," the court wrote in its majority opinion. The high court said the Republicans couldn't reconfigure their complaints and try again.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Pennsylvania dealt a death blow to the Trump campaign's effort to overturn Biden's presidential win by dismissing a closely watched lawsuit that sought to invalidate millions of Pennsylvania votes. That case was essentially the last major case seeking to throw out or block enough votes that could swing a key state in Trump's favor.

Judge Matthew Brann of the US District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania called the Trump campaign's case "Frankenstein's monster" for its poorly stitched together legal theories.

On Friday, a federal appeals court dealt the Trump campaign's effort another blow, with a Trump-appointed judge writing in a scathing opinion that the campaign's lawsuit lacked proof and that its allegations in Pennsylvania "have no merit."

The court opinion also rejected Trump's motion to undo Pennsylvania's certification of votes, calling it "unprecedented" and "breathtaking" relief where no fraud had been alleged.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/28/politics/pennsylvania-state-supreme-court-election-case/index.html

on to the supreme court!

who will also bitch slap dons team and make me filthy rich with my army of eye cup collection workers and the tanker trucks ive rented!

cry, my dear magots, cry! crazy little brainwashed tears of stupid

 

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One set of rules for all in the beloved community

"The word racism is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything, and demanding evidence makes you a 'racist' " - Thomas Sowell

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This will never get to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not going to listen to any case that has not produced any evidence and has been dismissed in every lower court for not only lack of evidence but for procedural errors, for missing deadlines to file. The Supreme Court is not going to put any time into such amateurish attempts by Donald Trump‘s legal team to challenge anything


“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

 

Twitter: @HKTheResistance

 

HipKat, on *** other h***, is genuine, unapoli***tically nasty, and w**** his hea** on his ******. jc856

I’ll just forward them to Bridgett. comssvet11

Seek help. soflabillsfan

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9 hours ago, Meathead said:

on to the supreme court!

who will also bitch slap dons team and make me filthy rich with my army of eye cup collection workers and the tanker trucks ive rented!

cry, my dear magots, cry! crazy little brainwashed tears of stupid

That's been the plan all along. The Trump team knows the Democrat filled courts are going to reject it all. Please do keep up... By the way, what is the Conservative lean on the SCOTUS now not including RINO Roberts?

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Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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um, mcfly ... the latest round was republican judges scolding the don campaign for wasting their time. Pennsyl-fucking-vania, for crying out loud

but go ahead and beat off to dreams of the SC overturning the certified results and disenfranchising millions of democrat only votes with no evidence

take a plane to vegas and try to win MegaBucks while youre there, since youre banking on the longest of impossible shots already


One set of rules for all in the beloved community

"The word racism is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything, and demanding evidence makes you a 'racist' " - Thomas Sowell

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9 hours ago, HipKat said:

This will never get to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not going to listen to any case that has not produced any evidence and has been dismissed in every lower court for not only lack of evidence but for procedural errors, for missing deadlines to file. The Supreme Court is not going to put any time into such amateurish attempts by Donald Trump‘s legal team to challenge anything

Will you admit you're a clueless moron when/if they do?

 

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1 minute ago, Philly'sFinest said:

Will you admit you're a clueless moron when/if they do?

will you do the same when they dont?

  • Barf 1

lol

 

ECQKgbmW4AAkI5n.jpg:large

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8 hours ago, 212frawk said:

will you do the same when they dont?

I'm not the one making definitive statements on whether they will or will not rule.

I have said numerous times that we can't trust the system because of the massive corruption within our government.

Suck it, Muppet 

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