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Supreme Court denies GOP bid to block extended mail ballot due date in Pennsylvania

The Supreme Court on Monday left intact an extended mail-in ballot due date in Pennsylvania, handing a major defeat to Republicans.

The court's four more-conservative justices — Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Supreme Court throws out child slavery lawsuit against Nestle, Cargill MORE, Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoFive takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision The Hill's 12:30 Report: Supreme Court unveils two major opinions Supreme Court throws out child slavery lawsuit against Nestle, Cargill MORE, Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchFive takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision The Hill's 12:30 Report: Supreme Court unveils two major opinions Supreme Court unanimously sides with Catholic adoption agency that turned away same-sex couples MORE and Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare in 7-2 ruling MORE — would have halted a lower court ruling from taking effect, strongly suggesting that Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the three liberal justices to form a 4-4 tie that left in place the lower court's decision.

Pennsylvania Republicans and top officials from the state’s GOP-held legislature had asked the justices to review a state supreme court court ruling that requires election officials to accept ballots postmarked by Election Day, as long as they arrive within three days.

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The ruling was seen as a win for Democrats in the key battleground state — which President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE won in 2016 by more than 44,000 votes — since Democratic voters are considered more likely than Trump supporters to vote by mail in November.

Marc Elias, a top Democratic election lawyer who has been involved in dozens of election-related lawsuits in the 2020 race, hailed the development.

“GREAT NEWS for voting rights and voters in Pennsylvania!” he wrote on Twitter.

Hundreds of election-related fights have been waged this cycle, the most intensely litigated election in U.S. history, over how ballots are cast amid the pandemic and how votes will be counted. 

The Republican National Committee has pledged $20 million this cycle to oppose Democratic-backed efforts to ease voting restrictions while Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Poll: Majority back blanket student loan forgiveness MORE said his campaign has assembled 600 attorneys for election-related lawsuits.