Twitter recently took down a user with the handle “Patriot Joe M” for the following tweet: “President Trump has legally ‘claimed’ the states he knows he won fairly. The counting going on is now just a formality because the intent is to settle in court, not at the counting stations. If he loses this count, it means nothing…
The post further stated that: “… because this election will be Amy Coney Barrett’s to decide. I promise and guarantee you, Biden will never be sworn in as President.”
“Because this election will be Amy Coney Barrett’s to decide. I promise and guarantee you, Biden will never be sworn in as President.❞Patriot Joe M on Twitter
Who is Amy Coney Barrett?
Amy Coney Barret is an associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Trump and was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Oct. 27, 2020.
What makes ex Twitter User ‘Patriot Joe M’ so confident?
Apparently, he thinks the US Supreme Court will reverse a ruling in Pennsylvania that allowed late-arriving votes to be counted.
Let’s review the basis for that confidence.
According to Pennsylvania’s election law, only ballots received on the day of election, by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, were eligible to be counted.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state anticipated a large volume of ballots to come in by mail. Democrat governor Tom Wolf worked throughout the summer to convince the state legislature to modify the election laws to allow ballots arriving after the election date to be counted.
When the state’s Republican-controlled legislature refused to acquiesce, the Democrats sued, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, with a 5-2 Democratic majority, ruled in the Democrats’ favor.
With its decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed the counting of ballots received as late as Nov. 6, as long as they were postmarked by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
The court then went a step further and ruled that ballots “received within this period that lack a postmark or other proof of mailing, or for which the postmark or other proof of mailing is illegible, will be presumed to have been mailed by 8:00 p.m. on November 3 (Election Day) unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the ballot was mailed after such time.”
Pennsylvania’s Republicans contended that the court had usurped a power reserved for the legislature and challenged this ruling in the US Supreme Court.
On Oct. 19, the 8-person US Supreme Court voted 4-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberal wing of the court to allow the Pennsylvania decision to stand. While the decision appeared to be a victory for Pennsylvania’s Democrats, the later addition of Amy Coney Barrett to the court may reverse this decision.
The significance of a 4-4 tie in a court ruling
According to blogs.findlaw.com, a 4–4 tie means: “The rulings issued by the lower federal courts or state supreme courts simply remain in effect as if the Supreme Court had not even heard the case.”
It further stated: “This does not mean, however, that the rulings of the lower courts have any precedential value. It also does not mean that the Supreme Court can’t decide to reconsider the case when it’s back up to full strength.”
In other words, the Republicans were free to bring this challenge back to the full Supreme Court. And indeed, the Republicans have gone back to the Supreme Court to challenge this decision, this time with the backing of Republican attorneys general of 30 states.
What to do with the ballots that arrived too late?
Justice Samuel Alito has already ordered Pennsylvania to segregate the on-time arrival ballots from those ballots arriving after election day.
Taking all things into consideration, if the newly confirmed Justice Barrett does not recuse herself when this case comes before the Supreme Court — and there is no mechanism to force her recusal — the vote count may be restored to those on election night, and President Trump may get his legal win after all.