Attorneys General Hit Pennsylvania's State of Confusion

November 12, 2020

"The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has violated the U.S. Constitution," said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. General Landry, my state attorney general, joined me on "Washington Watch" yesterday. He was part of ten state attorneys general who filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Pennsylvania court's ruling.

In the weeks before the election, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that mail-in ballots could be received until up to three days after the election. The ruling changed a provision in Pennsylvania election law, which clearly stated that mail-in ballots had to be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. And that, said Landry, violates the U.S. Constitution.

"The U.S. Constitution spells out the way that the president is going to be elected in this country," he said. It gives state legislatures the responsibility for "setting out the time, place, and manner of the elections." Landry said the Pennsylvania General Assembly had outlined the rules for receiving mail-in ballots, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overruled them, but "that's not the job of the courts."

Those late-arriving mail-in ballots proved to be a much bigger deal than anyone expected, as President Trump's Election Night lead in Pennsylvania slowly eroded away. Now, Landry and nine other state attorneys general have asked the Supreme Court to take a closer look at Pennsylvania's mail-in ballot rules. But for Landry, the issue is bigger than which candidate received more legal votes in Pennsylvania, although that may very well decide the election.

The broader issue is about whether we'll agree on the way we choose our leaders, said Landry. "It is imperative that in today's world where the country is so divided that we ensure that the one thing we're united on is our election." And that's a problem when "courts com[e] in and substitute[e] themselves as the legislature," or when the media prematurely calls the election.

I couldn't agree more. America needs transparent, fair elections so we can all confidently accept the results. You'd think the Democrats would understand this after they spent four years refusing to accept the legitimacy of President Donald Trump.

It remains to be seen whether President Trump will succeed in challenging Pennsylvania's election results, whether that will affect the outcome by a large enough margin, or whether the U.S. Supreme Court will get involved. Regardless we must pray and work to uphold the rule of law so we can have confidence in our elections and our leaders.