PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and congressional candidate Sean Parnell are asking U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to enjoin or stop this weekend’s decision of the state Supreme Court on no-excuse mail-in ballots.
Kelly and Parnell want the full U.S. Supreme Court to hold a hearing on their appeal.
WATCH: KDKA’s Jon Delano Has More
On Saturday night, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Kelly and Parnell were too late to claim that no-excuse mail-in voting was unconstitutional when so many people relied on it in this recent election.
Republicans Kelly and Parnell claim that Act 77, passed a year ago by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to allow no-excuse mail-in voting, violates the state Constitution.
That’s a state issue, but Kelly and Parnell assert federal issues of due process to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal.
“While we believe that Act 77 is certainly a state issue, we so believe that there are very important federal questions nested within it,” Parnell told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday.
“So what we’re doing is we’re looking to appeal to the Supreme Court on those federal questions.”
It takes four of the nine Justices for an appeal like this one to get even a hearing.
“It’s hard to get a case before the Supreme Court, but I think we’ve got a good shot,” said Parnell.
University of Pittsburgh Law School Dean Amy Wildermuth, who clerked at the Supreme Court, isn’t so sure.
“Unless we have a significant, substantial federal law question, they typically take a pass on these kinds of cases,” says Wildermuth.
The other problem is the remedy.
Parnell insists he’s not trying to toss out everybody’s mail-in votes.
Parnell: I’m asking the Court to simply help us find a remedy. I am not asking the Court to necessarily throw away 2.5 million absentee ballots. No, I’m simply saying, unconstitutional election laws disenfranchise everybody.”
Delano: “You want a re-do? You want to re-do the election?”
Parnell: “Well, I don’t know, Jon. Truthfully, what I’m asking for, and it says it right in the lawsuit, I’m deferring to the Court’s expertise to help. They could fashion a number of different remedies.”
KDKA asked Parnell why he waited until after he lost to U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb before challenging the constitutionality of mail-in voting.
“I didn’t know the law was unconstitutional back then, right?” explained Parnell.
“Even if I had known that Act 72 was unconstitutional, I had no legal standing to even bring the case until after the election, and I had suffered some harm.”
No word on when or if the U.S. Supreme Court will take up this case.