With less than two days to go before the polls open, legal battles over the 2016 presidential election continued at the Supreme Court this evening. The Ohio Democratic Party asked the justices to reinstate a federal district court’s order that barred the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from attempting to intimidate voters in the state. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit granted the Trump campaign’s emergency request to block the district court’s order earlier today, and now the justices have been asked to step in.
In their 27-page filing tonight, the Ohio Democrats first complain of procedural irregularities in the 6th Circuit’s decision to grant the Trump campaign relief. Moreover, they continue, allowing the appeals court’s order to remain in place for Tuesday’s election will cause “irreparable harm to the Ohio Democratic Party, its candidates, and most importantly thousands of voters who are exposed to intimidation, harassment, and coercion from Trump-incited illegal ‘watchdogs’ at the polls.”
Tonight’s filing is addressed to Justice Elena Kagan, who is responsible for emergency filings from the Sixth Circuit. Kagan can act on the request alone or (as is more common) refer it to the full court. The Ohio Democratic Party would need the votes of at least five justices to block the Sixth Circuit’s order. Kagan at any time could also direct the Trump campaign to respond to the Democrats’ request.