Pennsylvania court hinders state Republicans' 2020 election fraud investigation

February 13, 2023

A Pennsylvania court has decided that it will not force Gov. Josh Shapiro's (D) administration to participate in the state Republicans' ongoing 2020 election fraud investigation, the Associated Press reports

The court is, however, going to allow the investigation to continue.

What's going on?

Back in September 2021, Pennsylania's Republican-controlled Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee voted in favor of issuing a subpoena to the Department of State.

The subpoena asks the Department of State to produce various pieces of information from the 2020 elections. This includes, among many other things, information about voting procedures, election worker training, and voter records.

In response to this subpoena, Pennsylvania's Democratic state senators filed a lawsuit looking to block the enforcement of the subpoena. The state Democrats challenged the subpoena on a number of grounds including that it asks for private information that, according to the Democrats, cannot legally be shared.

Pennsylvania Republicans responded with a countersuit asking the court to enforce the subpoena.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania just released its decision in the case.


The Commonwealth Court, as stated at the outset, has decided that it will not enforce the state Republicans' subpoena.

"We deny the Senate Committee’s application for summary relief," Judge Emerita Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote.

The court, though, did tell Senate Republicans that it can enforce its subpoena by itself. Leavitte wrote:

The Senate Committee has chosen to seek the election-related materials by legislative subpoena, and it is bound by that choice. The subpoena duces tecum can be enforced by the legislature, and its constitutional power needs no augmentation in the form of a common law writ of mandamus.

The "subpoena duces tecum" is the subpoena that the Republican-led committee sent to the Department of State. And, the "write of mandamus" is the Republicans' request for the court to enforce the subpoena.

So, the court is allowing the Republicans to continue their investigation into the 2020 elections. But, the court is just not going to help that investigation by enforcing the Republicans' subpoena.

What now?

It is not immediately clear where the investigation is going to go from here. For the past year and a half, the investigation has largely stalled as these issues were being litigated in the courts.

Although the court has told the Republicans that they can enforce the subpoena, it is not clear how they can enforce the subpoena. It is not clear what tools they have in order to force compliance.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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