Why Luzerne County Wants Barrett to Recuse Herself From a Mail-In Ballot Extension Case

Voters wait in line on Tuesday

Voters wait in line on Tuesday, the last day of early voting, in Luzerne County.

Voters wait in line on Tuesday, the last day of early voting, in Luzerne County.

By Ashley Adams

October 27, 2020

The recusal motion filed by the county’s Board of Elections highlights quotes from President Trump that point to at least an appearance of a conflict of interest for Barrett concerning the case.

WILKES-BARRE — Not even 24 hours after she was sworn in as the newest justice of the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett is facing political pressure to recuse herself from the ongoing dispute over the mail-ballot deadline extension in Pennsylvania.

The Luzerne County Board of Elections filed a recusal motion Tuesday, citing the troubling language used by President Donald Trump linking Barrett’s confirmation directly to the electoral season at hand and its implications on his re-election. Luzerne County is one of many parties that has asked the US Supreme Court to reject state Republican efforts to roll back voting accomadations in Pennsylvania.

Generally, justices are given the opportunity to decide for themselves whether a recusal is appropriate in a specific case in order to avoid an actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Quoting Trump throughout the recusal motion, Luzerne County said the president has repeatedly warned, without any basis of fact, of the risk of widespread voter fraud while encouraging the speedy confirmation of Barrett so she could be seated in time for the ruling of the voting litigation.

“I think this will end up in the Supreme Court. And I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” Trump said in a Sept. 23 news conference. “It’s better if you go before the election, because I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling—it’s a scam—the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court. And I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation.”

On Friday, Pennsylvania Republicans returned to the Supreme Court for a second time, asking again for the state’s mail-in ballot extension to be rolled back. This comes only days after the court deadlocked on the issue, leaving the extension intact.

Republicans asked the justices for a fast-track, formal review of the PA Supreme Court’s ruling that mailed ballots must be accepted if they arrive by Nov. 6 and are postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day

Pennsylvania is a critical battleground in the 2020 election after President Trump won it in 2016 by fewer than 45,000 votes.  


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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