Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Halts State Judge’s Ruling Against Governor And Secretary of State Election Certification

PENNSYLVANIA—the Pennsylvania Commonwealth State Judge Patricia A. McCullough ruled in favor of the Petitioners and against the Governor and Secretary of State Friday. 

But the High Court ruled Saturday to halt Judge McCullough’s order. If the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t step in —the certification would be deemed legal–although the certification and mail-in ballots are unconstitutional under the Pennsylvania’s Constitution.

Petitioners raise matters that go to the core of the electoral process and involve the constitutionality of how the citizens of this Commonwealth may cast their votes, not only for the Filed 11/27/2020 Commonwealth Court 
offices sought by Petitioners, but also, for the office of president and vice president of the United States of America as well as statewide, regional and local offices.

Judge wrote ” 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.”

Judge further wrote, “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.”

A declaration and/or injunction that prohibits Respondents the authority to certify the November 2020 General Election results, which include mail-in ballots that are permitted on a statewide basis and are allegedly improper because Act 77 is unconstitutional.

The Pennsylvania’s Constitution specific states that mail-in voting can only take place for the following:

                   The Legislature shall, by general law, provide a manner
                   in which, and the time and place at which, qualified
                   electors who may, on the occurrence of any election, be
                   absent from the municipality of their residence, because
                   their duties, occupation or business require them to be
                   elsewhere or who, on the occurrence of any election, are
                   unable to attend at their proper polling places because of
                   illness or physical disability or who will not attend a
                   polling place because of the observance of a religious
                   holiday or who cannot vote because of election day duties,
                   in the case of a county employee, may vote, and for the
                   return and canvass of their votes in the election district in
                   which they respectively reside.

The court’s order concluded that the Governor Wolf and his appointed Secretary of State “might have short-circuited the certification process to purportedly avert this Courts’ determination on the merits by declaring
victories in the presidential and vice presidential elections, while leaving
certification of the elections for the other offices for another time.”

The court final ruled that “the certification process for the presidential and vice presidential elections had not been perfected because there were additional steps that need to be completed, including: issuance of commissions to persons elected, pursuant to 25 P.S. § 3160; issuance of certificates election, and transmission of such certificates to the Speaker
of the House of Representatives of the United States, in the case of the election of representatives in Congress, pursuant to 25 P.S. § 3163; issuance of certificates of election to the persons elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth, and presentation of the several returns of the same elections before the senate and House of Representatives pursuant to 25 P.S. § 3164; delivery of the returns of elections for Auditor General and State Treasurer to the President
of the Senate, so that they be “declared elected thereto,” the making and filing of certificates for all such elections, the issuance of commissions for all such elections, and the issuance of commissions for each election of Judge of every court.”

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– 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 Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed the state to complete its certification of the presidential vote won by Democrat Joe Biden, reversing a temporary delay ordered by a lower-court judge and throwing out a challenge filed by state Republicans.

 The Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Saturday, rejected the lower court’s attack on the mail in voting law that violates the States Constitution claiming that the Republican waited too long.  And that the lower court lacked the authority to halt the certification.

The High Court did not state in its order why the Petitioner’s were untimely. If the United States Supreme Court failed to take up Plessy v. Ferguson racial segregation would not have been strengthened  in public accommodations and services throughout the United States and ensured its continuation for more than half a century by giving it constitutional sanction.

The Supreme Court ruling in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, the racial climate of the South quickly worsened for African Americans. The significance of the decision was that the Supreme Court ruled that it wasn’t unconstitutional for segregated transportation or public services, as long as they were  equal.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education flipped  race relations in the United States. On May 17, 1954, the Court stripped away constitutional sanctions for segregation by race, and made equal opportunity in education the law across America.

There is no statute of limitation–in Act 77 which would prevent the Petitioners from challenging its constitutionality that sets the maximum time that parties have to initiate legal proceedings. Some of the Petitioners were not candidates in 2019—and would not have had legal standing to challenge Act 77.



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