Posted by William A. Jacobson Friday, December 4, 2020 at 5:15pm
More likely, Alito’s action means he and some other Justices take the matter seriously, and plan to rule on the merits once the opposition is submitted.
Another Emergency Application, substantially similar, was filed yesterday, December 3. That made no sense to me, why would they file twice?
I spoke to an attorney handling the case, and the explanation is that the first filing took place prior to a stay being sought from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which issued the decision at issue. Out of concern that the US Supreme Court might deny the stay on the procedural ground that a request had not been made to the state court, the attorneys waited for the PA Supreme Court predictably to deny the stay, and then refiled on December 3.
According to the Supreme Court docket, Justice Alito, who covers the Third Circuit, gave Pennsylvania and the other Respondents until next Wednesday to file responses.