Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has for weeks sat on a request by Pennsylvania Republicans that it overturn a September decision by the state’s highest court allowing election officials to count mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day. The Trump campaign has a pending request to intervene in that case.
Trump appointed three of the Supreme Court’s nine members: Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and most recently Amy Coney Barrett.
Barrett joined the court a week before the election, creating a 6-3 conservative majority.
Trump repeatedly said he expected the court to decide the outcome of the election while also raising doubts, without providing evidence, that the large number of mail-in ballots used because of the coronavirus pandemic would lead to fraud.
“I think this (election) will end up in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” Trump told reporters at a White House event in September.
Trump struck a markedly different tone on Sunday, saying in a Fox News interview that he had an increasingly narrow path to overturning Biden’s victory in court.
“Well, the problem is, it’s hard to get into the Supreme Court,” Trump said.
Federal judges, in general, are reluctant to appear to be interfering in elections, legal experts said. And, in the case of Trump-appointed judges, their priorities may be elsewhere, like broadening protections for religious freedoms.
“Just because you appoint somebody doesn’t mean that you own them,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)