U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann granted a request from Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to dismiss the suit, which alleged that Republicans had been illegally disadvantaged because some counties allowed voters to fix errors on their mail ballots.
The judge's decision, which he explained in a scathing 37-page opinion, was a thorough rebuke of the president's sole attempt to challenge the statewide result in Pennsylvania.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump's attorney, personally took charge of the case and appeared at a hearing in Williamsport, Pa., Tuesday in an attempt to justify it. Five other attorneys who represented the president withdrew from the case.
In his order, Brann wrote that Trump's campaign had used "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations" in its effort to throw out millions of votes.
"In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state," Brann wrote.
Trump was beaten in Pennsylvania by President-elect Joe Biden, who currently holds a lead over the president of more than 81,000 votes. Counties are due to file their official results on Monday to Boockvar, who will then certify the statewide tallies.
Trump's campaign sued Boockvar and a group of counties won by Biden, alleging that they had violated the campaign's constitutional rights by allowing voters to "cure" administrative errors on their mail ballots.
Brann wrote on Saturday that Trump's attorneys had haphazardly stitched this allegation together "like Frankenstein's Monster" in an attempt to avoid unfavorable legal precedent.
In trying to depict "ballot curing" as illegal, Trump's attorneys misstated a decision by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court. Brann noted in his order on Saturday that the court had in fact "declined to explicitly answer whether such a policy is necessarily forbidden."
The president's campaign sued together with two voters from counties that Trump won, both of whom had their mail ballots rejected because of administrative errors.
Brann wrote on Saturday that throwing out the election result would not reinstate the pair's right to vote. "It would simply deny more than 6.8 million people their right to vote," the judge wrote.
Trump's lawsuit initially included formal allegations that the defendants had also violated the campaign's rights by preventing Republican observers from watching votes being counted, which the defendants denied.
Those claims were scrapped in a revised version of the suit filed on Sunday. Giuliani and other Trump advisers initially denied that the claims had been dropped, then said they had "strategically decided to restructure" the suit, before finally saying in court filings that the claims were removed by mistake.
Giuliani asked the judge for permission to restore the deleted claims about count observers in a proposed third version of the lawsuit, but his request was dismissed by Brann along with the rest of the campaign's legal effort.
Published : November 22, 2020
By : The Washington Post · Jon Swaine · NATIONAL, POLITICS, COURTSLAW