Trump allies take Pennsylvania vote complaint to US Supreme Court

Supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump rally outside the US Supreme Court in October 2020

Allies of President Donald Trump sought an emergency order Thursday from the US Supreme Court blocking the certification of election results in Pennsylvania, a key state won by President-elect Joe Biden.

The move follows the Pennsylvania state supreme court's rejection Saturday of a suit challenging expanded mail-in voting in the key northeastern state.

In the motion filed Thursday the top US court is not asked to rule on the merits of the case at this point.

Rather, the plaintiffs ask the court for an injunction to halt any remaining steps in the election certification, which was actually done last week, so the plaintiffs can develop their arguments. They include Mike Kelly, a Republican member of the House of Representatives.

The court is expected to respond quickly in writing and is not obliged to explain whatever ruling it makes.

Trump is still refusing to concede defeat in the November 3 election, alleging without providing evidence that there was widespread fraud in both voting and vote counting, and that the election was stolen from him.

The Trump campaign and Trump allies have filed a flurry of lawsuits in battleground states that he lost, seeking to overturn the results. In some 20-odd cases, however, the courts have rejected these suits.

On Tuesday Attorney General Bill Barr, a close ally of the president, broke with Trump and said there was no evidence of significant fraud to invalidate Biden's win.

Trump appointed three conservatives to the nine-member court during his presidency and said right after the November election he was prepared to go all the way to that tribunal to defend what he called his re-election victory.

In the 2000 presidential election the high court halted a recount in Florida while George W. Bush held a 537-vote lead over Al Gore, handing Bush the presidency.

This time is different: There is not just one but several states that Trump is disputing and the margins of victory for Biden there are much larger than Bush's was.

The Supreme Court is considered unlikely to risk its reputation by getting involved in the Pennsylvania suit, which would not change the overall outcome of the election anyway.