On Tuesday, the Democratic Party’s mainstream media was giddy over the news that Pennsylvania would certify their state’s November election results. But on Thursday, in a surprising development, Commonwealth Judge Patricia McCullough ordered the state to not take any further steps to complete the certification of the presidential race.  She also blocked the certification of all the other election results.

Robert Barnes of Barnes Law was first to break the news with a link to the opinion of Judge Patricia McCullough via Mark Levin. Now, in another surprising move, the PA Trial Court has ruled the 2020 election was likely unconstitutional in PA and that gives the state legislators the power to choose electors.

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PA Judge Patricia A. McCullough has ruled that Pennsylvania’s preliminary election certification injunction was properly issued and should be upheld, stating in her opinion, “Petitioners appear to have established a likelihood to succeed.”

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The petitioners in the case are Mike Kelly, Sean Parnell, Thomas A. Frank, Nancy Kierzek, Derek Magee, Robin Sauter, Michael Kincaid, and Wanda Logan.

Legal Insurrection – A Pennsylvania state court judge has issued a preliminary injunction preventing Pennsylvania from taking any further steps to perfect its certification of the election, including but not limited to appointment of electors and transmission of necessary paperwork to the Electoral College, pending further court hearings and rulings. The ruling upholds an injunction from earlier in the week and is significant because of the findings made in the Opinion released tonight.

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.

The Judge issued this Opinion to extend that halt pending further hearings, and to set forth the basis for the injunction, which could be relevant to the appeal:

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 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].

Judge McCullough concluded: 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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