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Barrett Asked to Recuse Herself from Pennsylvania Ballot Dispute

Judge Amy Coney Barrett looks on during a meeting with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on Capitol Hill, September 30, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via Reuters)

Justice Amy Coney Barrett was asked on Tuesday to recuse herself from a Supreme Court case regarding a disputed extension for mail-in voting in Pennsylvania.

The state has allowed elections officials to accept mail-in ballots postmarked by November 3 that are received up to three days after general elections. Republicans in Pennsylvania challenged the policy over what they argued was essentially an extension of election day, which “could destroy the American public’s confidence in the electoral system.”

In a 4-4 tied ruling on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the policy to stand. However, on Tuesday Barrett was sworn in as the newest Court justice and has already begun working. The Luzerne County Board of Elections immediately requested that Barrett recuse herself from the ongoing ballot dispute.

“The nomination and confirmation of a Supreme Court justice this close to a presidential election is unprecedented,” the Board wrote in its request. “As concerning as that is, what is even more troubling is the language President Trump has used in consideration of this nomination, linking it directly to the electoral season at hand, with implications for his own re-election.”

Luzerne County voters chose Donald Trump in the 2016 election with 58 percent of the results, the first Republican candidate to win Luzerne since 1988. The county was one of a number of Pennsylvania districts that swung Republican in 2016 to give Trump a win in the state.

More American voters are turning to mail-in ballots in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, with some states planning to send ballots directly to all registered voters. President Trump has railed against these initiatives, known as “universal” mail-in voting, because of fraud concerns.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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