Politics

Trump loses lawsuit blocking Pennsylvania's victory for Biden

President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Detroit, Michigan.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by President Donald Trump's campaign aimed at blocking the certification of millions of voters by that state, which is expected to confirm a victory for President-elect Joe Biden.

The judge's devastating decision is a blow to Trump's already extremely far-reaching drive to invalidate enough ballot papers in enough states to undo former Democratic Vice President Biden's victory in the national presidential election, the outcome of which will be determined by the electoral college.

The Trump campaign and its allies have now lost or withdrawn more than 30 lawsuits that were part of that effort.

US District Judge Matthew Brann said in his written ruling that the campaign lawyers, led by Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, did not provide "compelling legal arguments and factual evidence of rampant corruption in their unprecedented attempt to invalidate millions of ballots "submitted.

"Instead, this court was presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative allegations that are not included in the operational complaint and are unsupported by the evidence," complained Brann.

"In the United States of America this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of any single voter, let alone all of the voters of its sixth most populous state. Our people, our laws and institutions demand more."

At one point the judge compared the lawsuit's claim that voters were denied equal protection in handling their ballots with "Frankenstein's monster" because that claim had been "arbitrarily pieced together" from two different theories to avoid that they were run separately and dismissed because of precedent.

Brann's decision, made two days before Pennsyvalnia's districts decision to confirm their election results to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, made it questionable whether he would bother to hold an evidence hearing on the case.

The Trump campaign alleged that Pennsylvania voters were denied their constitutional right to equal protection under the law because some counties in the state, but not all, allowed voters who submitted their ballots to have problems with those ballots " heal "by submitting a preliminary ballot.

Former New York City Mayor Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, the other top Trump campaign attorney, said they would file an expedited appeal against Brann's decision in the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

They also said they believed his decision would "help us with our strategy" to hear their claims in the US Supreme Court.

"While we disagree with this opinion at all, we are grateful to the Obama-appointed judge for making this expected decision quickly, rather than simply trying to run out of time," said Giuliani and Ellis in a statement.

It was Ellis who tweeted Tuesday after Giuliani's performance in court was criticized by a number of legal analysts: "You media idiot is all laughing at @RudyGiuliani, but he already seems to have developed a good relationship with the judge who it is currently offering recommendations on martini bars for Team Trump in public session. "

Brann was nominated for his seat by President Barack Obama in 2012. Before that, however, he served for years as a Republican Party official in Keystone State and was unanimously endorsed by the Republican and Democratic and independent members of the US Senate.

Biden campaign spokesman Michael Gwin said: "Another court has rejected Trump and Giuliani's unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud and their appalling attack on our democracy."

"The judge's decision couldn't be clearer: our people, our laws and institutions are demanding more – and our country will not tolerate Trump's attempt to undo the results of an election that he has decisively lost," said Gwin.

US Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., In a statement called Brann as "a longtime Conservative Republican who I know is a fair and impartial lawyer".

Toomey said Brann's decision, along with "a string of procedural losses" to Trump's campaign and allies in other courts, "confirms that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will become the 46th President of the United States."

"With today's decision," Toomey said, "President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to question the outcome of the Pennsylvania presidential race."

"I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory. They are both dedicated officials and I will pray for them and for our country."

Brann's decision came four days after Giuliani, who argued in a courtroom for the first time in decades, claimed without evidence that the Republican president had been the victim of "widespread national electoral fraud".

Mark Aronchick, a lawyer for several constituencies in the county whose voting procedures were challenged in the lawsuit, accused Giuliani of talking about "a fantasy world".

"That's just a shame!" Aronchick said during the hearing about Giuliani's arguments.

Brann seemed to be saying that in his decision too.

"The plaintiffs are asking this court to disenfranchise nearly seven million voters," the judge stated.

"This court has failed to find a case in which a campaigning plaintiff sought such a drastic appeal over the sheer volume of votes to be invalidated," Brann wrote.

"One might expect a plaintiff to be tremendously armed with compelling legal arguments and factual evidence of widespread corruption in search of such a baffling outcome, so this court would have no choice but to proceed with the proposed injunction despite the implications he would unfortunately have to grant. " have to such a large group of citizens.

"That didn't happen," wrote Brann.

Biden is currently expected to win 306 electoral college votes, three dozen more than it would take to claim a victory in the White House race.

Trump has refused to allow the competition because he, Giuliani and other Trump deputies falsely claim he won the election.

The lawsuit, ruled on Saturday, put Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes at stake, which Biden is said to receive after winning 50% of the population, compared to 48.8% for Trump. Biden has a lead of more than 80,000 votes over Trump in the current voter turnout.

The court ruling came a day after Georgia confirmed its election results, which show a victory for Biden after a hand count of the ballot papers.

It also came a day after the Michigan State House Republican spokesman and that state's Senate GOP majority leader said Biden's victory in their own state was legitimate.

The joint statement by Spokesman Lee Chatfield and Majority Leader Mike Shirkey came after Trump had invited them to visit the White House and the president pressured them to take legislative steps to overthrow Michigan's election result and a plan to be approved by voters who would vote for Trump on the electoral college.

"We have not yet received any information that could change the results of the Michigan election. As lawmakers, we will obey the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan's voters as we said during this election." Michigan lawmakers said in a statement.

"Michigan's certification process should be a deliberate process that is free from threats and intimidation," the statement said.

"The candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan's electoral votes. These are simple truths that should instill confidence in our elections."

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