Supreme Court rejects conservative lawsuit challenging 2020 election in Pennsylvania

February 1, 2023
Ben Marquis

Many conservatives have taken joy in the current right-leaning ideological balance of the U.S. Supreme Court, but as has been proven time and again, that favorable margin most certainly can't be completely relied upon or taken for granted.

The Supreme Court has once again declined to take up a petition filed by conservative challengers against irregularities witnessed during the 2020 election, the Conservative Brief reported.

This particular case came out of Pennsylvania and was in regard to alleged limitations on access for Republican observers for the ballot counting process at a tabulation center in Delaware County.

Petition for hearing rejected

In an orders list issued on Monday, Jan. 23, the Supreme Court revealed that it had denied the petition for certiorari filed by petitioners Gregory Stenstrom and Leah Hoopes vs. the Delaware County Board of Elections.

At issue in that case, per Pennsylvania's Daily Times, were allegations of fraud and election law violations by a pair of Republican observers who claimed that their access to the tabulation of ballots in the 2020 election had been unfairly limited, and further sought sanctions against the county election officials who they claimed limited them.

The emergency lawsuit they first filed in Delaware County court was denied with prejudice in January 2021 by a county judge due to the request for sanctions that included a fine and jail sentence, but the two plaintiffs appealed the matter to a Commonwealth Court only to be denied again by a three-judge panel.

Still undeterred, the duo petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to hear their case, but were denied for a third time in June 2022, which prompted the request for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their pleas, yet for a fourth time, they were rejected.

Rejection not entirely unexpected

"The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to not hear the case was entirely expected," Delaware County Solicitor William F. Martin told the Daily Times. "Every month, hundreds of parties file motions seeking their cases to be heard by the Supreme Court. Only a few, raising significant legal and public policy issues, are selected."

"There was no possibility this case was going to be heard. The county had been so confident that we formally advised the court that we would not be filing a legal response to the request," the county attorney continued.

Martin noted that Stenstrom and Hoopes had 25 days from the date of the Supreme Court's order to file a petition for a rehearing, and told the outlet, "Given their penchant to use litigation as political theater and a tool for fundraising, I assume they may do so."

However, the attorney also made it clear that patience was running thin with the incessant efforts to get the long-shot lawsuit heard in a courtroom, and even seemed to insinuate that the county could seek financial compensation from the pair to cover the costs of defending against their repeatedly failed litigation.

"As each case reaches its final disposition, the county will consider what next steps are appropriate," Martin said. "Litigants and their counsel are cautioned that continuing to bring baseless lawsuits against Delaware County will not be without financial risk."

Separate challenge of 2022 election results

Meanwhile, the Daily Times noted that Stenstrom and Hoopes have filed a separate challenge that remains pending at the Commonwealth Court level that seeks to challenge and overturn the certification of the 2022 midterm elections in Delaware County, which had been dismissed by a Common Pleas judge on the day after that election.

To be sure, these two conservative litigants may well have legitimate legal challenges and questions that should be addressed, but with it being increasingly apparent that most courts have little to no interest in litigating past election results, including the Supreme Court, those challenges and questions will likely forever remain unanswered.

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