Skip to main content
Global Edition
Sunday, January 24, 2021

Supreme Court may not have final say in election

Duration: 02:21s 0 shares 1 views
Supreme Court may not have final say in election
Supreme Court may not have final say in election

While President Donald Trump has promised to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a presidential race that is still too close to call, the nation's top judicial body may not be the final arbiter in this election, legal experts said.

Chris Dignam and Reuters Washington Legal Correspondent Jan Wolff have more.

TRUMP: "So we'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court." President Donald Trump vowed in the early hours of Wednesday morning to bring a case before the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on an election that is still too close to call, launching an extraordinary and unsubstantiated attack on the U.S. voting process.

TRUMP: "This is a major fraud on our nation." But legal experts say it's unlikely the top court will be the final arbiter in the 2020 presidential election.

Reuters Legal Correspondent Jan Wolff: WOLFF: "There's this term that lawyers use called the margin of litigation in election law - this idea that the race has to be very close for a court to be able to tip it.

And it's not clear at this point that we have that.

In Bush versus Gore, it all came down to Florida, which was super, super close.

Biden might win enough states that there's no way for Trump to litigate his way to victory." TRUMP: "We want all voting to stop." WOLFF: "For the Supreme Court to become involved in this election, there has to be some sort of serious legal argument for it to entertain.

'Let's stop vote counting early' is not a serious argument.

The Trump campaign has gotten the attention of the Supreme Court with an argument that in Pennsylvania ballots that arrive after November 3rd should not be counted for now.

Pennsylvania is sticking with its plan to count those ballots.

But four justices signaled interest in potentially revisiting that later." The Trump campaign on Wednesday said it also had filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the vote count in Michigan, a state where Democrat Joe Biden held a narrow lead.

And Wolff says even more lawsuits could come.

WOLFF: "I think we will see more litigation.

But the Supreme Court as an institution is probably reluctant to decide this election.

Chief Justice Roberts has shown a tendency to take the court out of political disputes when he can.

He knows Bush versus Gore in 2000 hurt the court's legitimacy by making some political with five Republican appointed justices effectively handing a victory to a Republican president." As of Wednesday, Biden appeared to be ahead of Trump in the election.

And legal experts said if he secures 270 electoral votes without needing Pennsylvania, the likelihood of a legal fight in that state diminishes in any case.


Related news coverage

You might like

More coverage