President Donald Trump’s terrible week in court continued on Saturday with another unfavorable decision from a Pennsylvania court.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a lawsuit brought by Representative Mike Kelly and other Republicans challenging the state’s postal voting law – adopted in October 2019 – was tabled too long after its adoption and, for this reason, rejected a request for revision of the law.
“The lack of due diligence demonstrated in this case is undeniable,” the court wrote in an opinion unsigned by curiam. “The petitioners filed this facial challenge to the legislative provisions relating to postal voting more than a year after the promulgation of Law 77.”
The lawsuit was filed by several Republicans, including Representative Mike Kelly and Congressional candidate Sean Parnell. The judges stressed that allowing the petition to go forward would result in the denial of the right to vote for millions of PA voters. Here is the complete command pic.twitter.com/zpn46G7CgT
– Aaron Martin (@WPXIAaronMartin) November 28, 2020
The court also overturned a lower court injunction preventing Pennsylvania from moving forward with certification of its election. The action was dismissed with prejudice, putting a definitive end to this line of protest.
As democratic advocate for voting rights Marc Elias highlighted on Twitter, the trial, if it had been successful, would have had an additional, possibly unintended, effect: it would also have blocked the certification of Kelly’s own election results in Pennsylvania’s 16th District.
Pennsylvania certified his presidential election results Tuesday, sealing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the crucial swing state. But a judge issued a temporary injunction on certification the same day – a the secretary of state planned to challenge to the State Supreme Court. With Saturday’s decision, this certification is allowed to continue. Biden beat Trump by more than 80,000 votes in the final tally to claim Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.
Kelly was joined in the lawsuit by former Pennsylvania congressional candidate Sean Parnell and six other residents of the state of Keystone, including a candidate for the State House who called for fair 5.5 percent of the vote in its last race. The plaintiffs alleged that the state’s postal ballot law was outright unconstitutional and offered two possible remedies: either the invalidation of all postal ballots issued in the election or the authorization of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania general assembly to select a list of presidential voters. , rather than the voters of Pennsylvania.
Either remedy would have deprived voters of their rights on a scale unprecedented in the modern age, while handing the state over to Trump – and both were dismissed out of hand by the court.
“There is no question that the petitioners did not act with due diligence in making the claim in question,” the court wrote. Equally clear is the substantial harm flowing from the petitioners’ failure to promptly institute a facial challenge to the legal postal voting system, for such inaction would result in the denial of the right to vote for millions of Pennsylvania voters.
Trump campaign can’t stop losing in court
As Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman underlined in a tweet following the release of the state Supreme Court’s decision, Saturday’s ruling is by no means the only recent loss to the Trump campaign and GOP members seeking to overturn the presidential election results of 2020.
In Pennsylvania last week alone, the Trump campaign lost twice in a row in federal court. More recently, a Trump-appointed Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote in a scathing decision that the president’s trial challenging the Pennsylvania election results had “no merit.”
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy,” Bibas wrote in the 21-page unanimous decision. “The accusations of injustice are serious. But calling an election unfair doesn’t make it that way. Charges require specific allegations and then evidence. We don’t have either here.
In total, the President’s flamboyant legal strategy resulted in a case ranging from 1 to 39 in various state and federal courts across the country, according to Elias. No evidence of electoral fraud or other irregularities has appeared anywhere, despite false claims by Trump and his allies, and the December 8 federal election certification deadline is approaching.
However, that did not dampen the president’s absurd arguments about voter fraud.
“The number of ballots our campaign is challenging in the Pennsylvania case is MUCH BIGGER than the 81,000 vote margin. It’s not even close. Fraud and illegality ARE a big part of the deal, ”Trump written on twitter Saturday, although there is no evidence of fraud or illegality and Pennsylvania has already certified its election results.
The number of ballots our campaign is contesting in the Pennsylvania case is MUCH BIGGER than the 81,000 vote margin. It’s not even close. Fraud and illegality ARE a big part of the business. Documents in preparation. We will appeal!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2020
Even if Republican court challenges fail, other potential ways for Trump to overturn the election results – and the democratic process – are quickly fading away.
In particular, a marginal theory promulgated by Trump argues that Republican-controlled state legislatures, like the one in Pennsylvania, can appoint their own Trump voters list, whatever the state vote. Trump tweeted this much last week, write that “I hope the courts and / or legislatures have the COURAGE to do what needs to be done,” and Republicans hoped the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would clear the way for the legislature to participate.
This is not, however, a feasible scheme. Beyond the fact that the court rejected the idea, the theory is not supported by anything “even at a distance close to a relevant majority” of state lawmakers, and even if it did, he would certainly face a veto from the Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania and a rapid series of challenges. judicial.
That the United States Supreme Court could somehow overrule the election results – a strategy hinted at by Trump’s senior legal advisor Jenna Ellis in a Friday tweet after the defeat of the third circuit of the campaign – he is also unlikely to succeed. According to Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, “the Trump campaign has the right to ask #SCOTUS to review this decision, and it has the right to seek an injunction in court pending appeal. But as Judge Bibas’ opinion makes clear, try as they might, this trial has no chance of success.
Trump campaign has the right to ask #SCOTUS to review that decision, and he has the right to apply to the court for an injunction pending appeal. But as Judge Bibas’ opinion makes clear, try as they might, this trial has no chance of success.
– Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) November 27, 2020
Ultimately, the Trump campaign never had any evidence of its fraud claims, as a number of judges and judges have now pointed out. And its other efforts have failed, or are about to fail, as the states move forward with the certification of their election results. The president can continue tweeting – but as of noon on January 20, 2021, he will no longer be president. Biden will be.