Penn. Lawyer Who Lost Mail-in Ballot Case Says It Wouldn't Have Helped Trump Win

The Supreme Court of the United States turned back a challenge on Tuesday that could have seen nearly 3 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania tossed out, an unprecedented response to what Republican lawyers said was a method of voting prohibited by Pennsylvania's constitution.

Democratic party lawyers briefed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito today, responding to a Dec. 3 brief from that attorney. The Supreme Court sided with them and declined to hear the case: "The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice [Samuel] Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied," the high court's order read, without any dissenting opinions.

Even if Republicans had prevailed in their Pennsylvania case and won the remedies they seek, that legal victory alone would not have changed the outcome of the presidential race or delivered the GOP control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"For the people who voted for Biden, what the hell do they care? Biden will still win the overall election," the attorney, Greg Teufel, told Zenger News on Monday night. "Their votes won't be counted as part of that victory, but they also won't be seeing the opposite candidate to who they voted for win."

Penn Protests
Representative Jim Jordan stands with dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to alleged fraud against President Donald Trump gather on the steps of the State Capital on November 05, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Spencer Platt/Getty

"It's a sort of disenfranchisement, but who cares?" he said. Teufel founded and leads an eight-lawyer practice in Pittsburgh and came recommended by the state Republican Party when a sitting congressman and a losing congressional candidate decided to mount a challenge. Teufel said pro bono attorneys helped keep the case's total legal cost under $100,000.

Teufel was primed to avoid hiring a white-shoe lawyer to deliver oral arguments. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz had offered to do it free of charge. Cruz argued nine Supreme Court cases during his five years as solicitor general for Texas. Teufel said the offer was "like a gift from God."

The Republicans' brief to the U.S. Supreme Court said a law known as Act 77 itself violates the Pennsylvania Constitution, which describes only two ways for voters to cast ballots: in person and via absentee ballot, with a stated reason like work-related travel, illness, disability or a religious holiday.

A large majority of the mail-in ballots cast under Act 77's rules in November included votes for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden. His control of Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes now appears certain.

Marc Elias, the Democratic election lawyer who has briefed the case in lower courts, did not respond to Zenger's requests for comment. In a response brief filed Tuesday morning, four different attorneys representing the state of Pennsylvania said Teufel's suit was "nothing less than an affront to constitutional democracy. It should meet a swift and decisive end."

"No court has ever issued an order nullifying a governor's certification of presidential election results," according to the response brief, which called the claims "fundamentally frivolous."

Count Every Vote
People participate in a protest in support of counting all votes as the election in Pennsylvania is still unresolved on November 4, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Spencer Platt/Getty

Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday re-certified Biden's Election Day win there, calling it "an important day for election integrity."

Trump tweeted Monday that Raffensperger, Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan were "RINOs"—Republicans In Name Only. He complained that Kemp refused to call the Georgia General Assembly into a special session. The president says the vote recounts were mere political theater because they didn't re-examine whether signatures on absentee ballot envelopes match those in voter files.

"The Republican Governor of Georgia refuses to do signature verification, which would give us an easy win. What's wrong with this guy? What is he hiding?" Trump tweeted.

The president called Kemp on Dec. 5, the governor's office confirmed, in an attempt to persuade him to call a special legislative schedule. The Trump campaign believes the assembly, dominated by Republicans, should declare the election results unreliable and send its own slate of electors when the Electoral College meets Dec. 14.

The Trump campaign is still asking a Georgia court to nullify Raffensperger's action certifying the election for Biden.

The campaign presented what it said was "sworn testimony" identifying "2,560 felons; 66,247 underage voters, 2,423 votes from people not registered; 1,043 individuals registered at post office boxes; 4,926 individuals who voted in Georgia after registering in another state; 395 individuals who voted in two states; 15,700 votes from people who moved out of state before the election; 40,279 votes of people who moved without re-registering in their new county; and another 30,000 to 40,000 absentee ballots lacking proper signature matching and verification."

Biden led Trump by just over 12,000 votes in Georgia, according to the most recent recount.

Poll Watcher
A poll watcher monitors the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse on November 6, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen/Getty

Separately, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed his own long-shot lawsuit on Tuesday, asking U.S. Supreme Court justices to directly intervene in four states without waiting for a lawsuit to reach them. Paxton said in his application that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had all improperly changed their election laws by using the Covid-19 pandemic to justify "executive fiat or friendly lawsuits, thereby weakening ballot integrity." He wants the high court to prevent all four states from sending electors when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14.

The Supreme Court can intervene through what lawyers called "original jurisdiction," a power that is typically applied in cases where the interests of multiple states collide.

The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to hear an expedited appeal of a case brought by state Republican Party chair Kelli Ward. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Steven Warner ruled Dec. 4 that Ward had not proven significant voter fraud in Arizona's most populous county.

As in Georgia, Arizona's Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers said he will not call the state legislature into a special session, where Republicans might have overturned the election and sent their own electors.

Teufel had filed an emergency request for a U.S. Supreme Court injunction on behalf of U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, Parnell and six other Republicans. Kelly won re-election, but Parnell lost his race to Democratic incumbent Conor Lamb by about 9,000 votes out of 423,000 cast. Because congressional districts in Pennsylvania cross over county lines, it's unclear how many mail-in ballots contributed to Lamb's victory.

PA protests
Dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to alleged fraud against President Donald Trump gather on the steps of the State Capital on November 5, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Spencer Platt/Getty

The petition asked Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to stay the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling and asks the full Court to hear the case and rule quickly.

Teufel said Monday that a Supreme Court victory would not "have impact in other states," and the election's result wouldn't change "unless two other states also flip. And tell me the likely scenario where that happens?"

Teufel filed an emergency request for a U.S. Supreme Court injunction on behalf of U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, Parnell and six other Republicans. Kelly won re-election, but Parnell lost his race to Democratic incumbent Conor Lamb by about 9,000 votes out of 423,000 cast. Because congressional districts in Pennsylvania cross over county lines, it's unclear how many mail-in ballots contributed to Lamb's victory.

The petition asks Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to stay the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling and asks the full Court to hear the case and rule quickly.

The Pennsylvania case could provide the president with rare momentum, even if Teufel thinks a second term is the longest of long shots.

While a victory might motivate Republicans in other states to keep fighting, Teufel told Zenger, "this ripple is not going to have impact in other states."

"If you voted for Biden and you're really concerned that he wins the election, in all likelihood it will have no impact on that unless two other states also flip," he said, "And tell me the likely scenario where that happens?"

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.