Even though US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (November 4) said he will approach the Supreme Court over the counting of votes for the presidential elections, legal experts say the top judicial body may not be the final adjudicator in the election.
Election law experts who spoke to news agency Reuters said it is doubtful if the US supreme court would entertain any petition by Trump to stop the counting of votes or that if any decision by a court in this regard would have an effect on the elections in vital states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, where both Trump and Joe Biden are engaged in a close fight.
Trump making an appearance at the White House on Wednesday morning had called Biden a ‘fraud’ while voting was still underway in several states.
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“This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So, we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop,” he said.
In an interview with CNN, Republican election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg said any attempt to trash legally cast votes may be “viewed by any court including the Supreme Court as just a massive disenfranchisement that would be frowned upon.”
So far Biden has bagged 264 electoral votes while Trump has 214 in his kitty. With a large number of people voting through mail-in ballots cast due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the results of a few closely contested states may decide the final outcome.
Legal experts, however, told Reuters that even though there could be objections to particular ballots or counting processes, it was not clear if these problems would affect or determine the outcome of the elections.
The Supreme Court “would be involved only if there were votes of questionable validity that would make a difference, which might not be the case,” Ned Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University tweeted.
After Trump’s threat to move Supreme Court, Biden’s campaign on Wednesday said they have legal teams ready if Trump tries to prevent the “proper tabulation of votes.”
While Biden has well-known election attorney Marc Elias on his team and former solicitors general Donald Verrilli and Walter Dellinger, Trump’s lawyers include Matt Morgan, also his campaign general counsel, Supreme Court litigator William Consovoy, and Justin Clark, a senior counsel of his campaign.
An appeal by Republicans challenging a September ruling by a Pennsylvania’s top court allowing mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Election Day and received up to three days later to be counted, is currently being resolved by the Supreme Court.
While the top court had earlier declined to fast-track the case, three conservative justices decided to take it up after Election Day.
Analysts told Reuters that even if courts take up the case and rule in favour of Republicans, the ruling may not determine the final vote in Pennsylvania, as the case only concerns mail-in ballots received after November 3.
A legal fight may not happen if Biden secures 270 votes without depending on Pennsylvania.
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Experts said, any further case would also need to go through lower courts before reaching the apex court.
“I think the court would summarily turn away any effort by the President or his campaign to short-circuit the ordinary legal process,” Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law told Reuters.