Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Citing Laches, (Unreasonable Delay) Ends Latest Challenge to Certification of Election Results

This just in:

Update. All Seven Justices agreed that an injunction which would disenfranchise voters would be in appropriate in this case.

Per curiam order:…

Saylor concurring and dissenting statement:…

Wecht concurring statement:…

Honored that Justice Wectht’s concurring opinion cites my work on laches and elections. From an earlier ELB post on laches:

The bottom line is that if you think there is a problem with how an election is being run, you need to go to court at that point to sue about it; you can’t wait to see how the election turns out and then do it. Here’s how I explained the point in a 2005 law review article, Beyond the Margin of Litigation:

Allowing more pre-election review is not a recipe for more overall election litigation. Courts should make clear that a willingness to reach issues before the election will be accompanied by a strict application of laches after the election. “[L]aches is unreasonable delay by the plaintiff in prosecuting a claim or protecting a right of which the plaintiff knew or should have known, and under circumstances causing prejudice to the defendant.” But it is subject to some exceptions, including an exception that prevents its application ‘to defeat the public interest. This exception threatens to swallow the rule in election law litigation, because the public has an interest that election law disputes get their day in court.

Courts should see it as in the public interest in election law cases to aggressively apply laches so as to prevent litigants from securing options over election administration problems. This rule will promote the public interest by insuring public confidence in the election process.

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