Supreme Court Won’t Consider Challenge to Biden’s Order on Elections Until Sept. 30

Supreme Court Won’t Consider Challenge to Biden’s Order on Elections Until Sept. 30
U.S. Supreme Court is seen at sunrise in Washington on July 31, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The Supreme Court announced on June 12 that it won’t consider whether to take up a Republican challenge to President Joe Biden’s executive order that escalates government involvement in the voter registration and voter mobilization process until Sept. 30.

Presidential and congressional elections are scheduled for Nov. 5, so the Supreme Court will probably not take any action in time to affect the elections.

State lawmakers in Pennsylvania previously filed a petition for certiorari, or review, before judgment in Keefer v. Biden.

Petitions before judgment are rarely granted by the Court.

An appeal of an unfavorable ruling by a federal district court is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

At least four of the nine justices must vote to grant a petition for it to advance to the oral argument stage at the Supreme Court.

The President Biden-ordered effort calls upon all federal agencies, including the prison system, to help increase voter registration and participation and promote voting by mail; critics say Democrats and Republicans are unlikely to benefit equally.

The lead petitioner is Pennsylvania state Rep. Dawn Keefer, a Republican. In the case, 27 state lawmakers in Pennsylvania are contesting President Biden’s Executive Order 14019 of March 7, 2021, which requires all federal agencies to help increase voter registration and participation. Every federal agency was required to submit a plan for voter registration and participation to Susan Rice, the president’s domestic policy adviser.

The Keystone State lawmakers are arguing that the order is unconstitutional and that voter registration drives aren’t a legitimate function of government. They are also challenging an executive order issued by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, regarding voter registration.

The lawmakers argued in their lawsuit that the executive actions violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution by usurping their power to prescribe the time, place, and manner of holding elections.

Judge Jennifer Wilson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed the lawsuit on March 26, finding that the individual state legislators lacked standing. Judge Wilson was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019.

“[The individual lawmakers] did not have standing to bring a challenge to an action that allegedly injured the legislature as a whole,” the judge wrote.

“[They] alleged only an institutional injury resulting from ‘a general loss of legislative power.’

“A vague, generalized allegation that elections, generally, will be undermined, is not the type of case or controversy that this court may rule on under Article III [of the U.S. Constitution].”

The lawmakers told the Supreme Court that they wanted expedited consideration of the standing issue, so if they prevail, “they can possibly obtain a preliminary injunction in the district court well before the November 2024 election.”

But the case won’t be fast-tracked, the nation’s highest court ruled. While on April 29, the lawmakers filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to expedite consideration of the petition, the justices denied the motion in an unsigned order on May 20 without comment. No justices dissented.

In the petition, Ms. Keefer and her colleagues said Executive Order 14019 directs federal agencies to use government funding and resources for voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote activities, despite a lack of congressionally approved appropriations for such activities, as required by federal law.

The order also requires federal agencies to use government resources to work with specific nongovernmental third-party organizations chosen by the Biden administration and whose names and roles have been withheld from the public.

It’s a problem that President Biden, who is also a candidate in the 2024 election, “stands to benefit personally from the executive action,” the petition states.

Implementation of the executive order is “a usurpation of Pennsylvania state law” and “nullifies the intended legal effects” of a state statute, “depriving the individual state legislators of the intended legal effects of their successful vote.”

“[This is] a legally cognizable injury under Article III … because the individual state legislators’ personal votes were nullified,” the petition reads.

Led by Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), a bloc of federal officeholders filed a friend-of-the-court brief on May 28, urging the Supreme Court to hear the petition. The U.S. Constitution’s elections clause places primary responsibility for administering federal elections in the hands of state legislatures, with limited oversight by Congress, they wrote.

The president can’t make all federal agencies get involved in voter registration and participation, the brief states.

This “illicit authority” presents a “threat to the fairness of our elections” and “threatens to convert the White House into a partisan political campaign headquarters.” It also allows one political party “to target key demographics and to use federal authority to shape elections to favor the party and its candidates.”

The other federal lawmakers on the brief are Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.); Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.); Mike Kelly (R-Pa.); Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.); John Joyce (R-Pa.); Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.); Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.); Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.); Rich McCormick (R-Ga.); and Randy Weber (R-Texas).

The Biden administration waived its right to respond to the petition on May 28. Despite the waiver, the court may still ask the administration to file a brief outlining its position on the case.

The challengers’ attorney, Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal, and Erickson of Minneapolis, said that in addition to the Supreme Court appeal, the Pennsylvania state legislators are moving forward with the appeal that’s still pending in the Third Circuit.

Mr. Kaardal provided The Epoch Times with a scheduling order issued by the circuit court. It directs the challengers to file their brief by June 26. The Justice Department was ordered to file a reply brief not more than 30 days later.

“If a decision on individual state legislator standing could be obtained in either the U.S. Supreme Court or Third Circuit prior to the November election, we would proceed with expedited motions in the federal district court to enjoin President Biden’s unconstitutional EO 14019,” Mr. Kaardal told The Epoch Times by email.

The attorney for Pennsylvania’s Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro, Michael Fischer of the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel, and the U.S. Department of Justice didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Beth Brelje and Kevin Stocklin contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times