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Along With The Affordable Care Act, Pa. Election Case Up For Review By United States Supreme Court

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) -- October 5 is the first Monday in October, and by tradition, that's the opening session of the United States Supreme Court.

When the eight members of the U.S. Supreme Court meet virtually, minus the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the many items on the agenda is a request from Pennsylvania Republican leaders.

"We think this is of national importance," says state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, a Republican and the House Majority Leader in Harrisburg.

Republican lawmakers say the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania had no authority to extend the deadline to receive mail-in ballots past the state's statutory deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day. They have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the state Supreme Court's action.

RELATED STORY: Pa. Supreme Court Gives Democrats Series Of Victories, Including Mail-In Ballot Deadline Extension

"Allowing ballots to be continued to be collected and added up is not fair to the voters," Benninghoff told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.

Because of U.S. Post Office slow-downs in mail delivery, the state Supreme Court ordered mail-in ballots sent by Election Day to be counted if received up to three days after the election.

"All cases going to the Supreme Court are a long shot," says Prof. Amy Wildermuth, dean of the University of Pittsburgh Law School.

Wildermuth is an expert on the Supreme Court, having clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens. She says it will take four justices to decide whether to take up the Pennsylvania case, and the odds are against that happening.

Only 60 or 70 cases of the many thousands appealed to the high court are ever heard.

"But it's possible. It surely is possible," she added.


Another issue before the U.S. Supreme Court is the future of the Affordable Care Act and its consumer protections.

"Under the ACA, a wide variety of preventive care is available to women free of charge, including annual mammograms, well-women visits, birth control and breastfeeding support," Gov. Tom Wolf said on Thursday.

Democrats say repealing the ACA is why President Donald Trump wants a vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett, his nominee to replace Ginsburg, before the election.

"I think the reason this president and the Senate majority are rushing her through is so she can be on the court when the argument takes place on Nov. 10," says U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

But Republicans, like former U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, say Democrats are overreacting for political reasons.

"There is a very narrow issue involved in that case. I doubt very much the court is going to overturn the ACA in that case," says Rothfus.

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