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Federal Judge Calls Trump Campaign Suit Against Pennsylvania Unconstitutional

— November 24, 2020

The judge said that President Trump’s team is effectively asking the courts to disenfranchise millions of voters.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign against Pennsylvania, which had sought to invalidate millions of votes in the state.

According to CNN, the decision was issued on Saturday by Judge Matthew Brann of the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. In his ruling, Brann explicitly marked the Trump campaign’s lawsuit as illegitimate.

“It is not in the power of this Court to violate the Constitution,” Brann wrote, noting that Biden had won that state by a margin of tens of thousands of votes.

In its initial complaint, the Trump administration had claimed “irregularities” in Pennsylvania’s vote count; it also accused the state’s political administration of favoring Democratic voters, purportedly by offering people who had made “technical” mistakes on their mail-in ballots the opportunity to correct and re-submit them.

However, such “correction” policies are made on a county-by-county basis. By and large, only Democrat-controlled counties had implemented such forgiving policies, whereas many Republican-dominated counties deliberately chose not to.

The Trump campaign claimed that this “irregularity” meant some Republican voters who made “technical” mistakes may not have had their votes counted.

Brann, though, said the Trump administration was effectively asking the courts to toss Pennsylvania’s vote outright.

“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 added. “Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.

“At bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”

CNN suggests that Trump’s legal team—which includes attorney Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City—had “pinned their hopes” on a federal court granting some credibility to the president’s claims of widespread voter fraud.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

But Brann, himself a Republican, refused to entertain the Trump campaign’s fantasy.

Shortly after Brann’s decision was released, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) called President-Elect Joe Biden to congratulate him on his victory. Toomey’s call, says CNN, is among the first made by conservative legislators to Biden—most right-wing legislators have, to date, either played along with Trump’s claims of voter fraud or opted to remain silent.

However, the Pennsylvania decision is by no means unique. The Trump campaign has filed dozens of lawsuits in battleground states, which have either challenged the validity of ballot certifications or requested that thousands of legally-cast votes be discounted.

Of those lawsuits, only two have succeeded—and the number of affected votes was marginal. At least 30 of the Trump campaign’s other suits have been dismissed.

Brann observed that the campaign’s request was tantamount to widescale disenfranchisement.

“Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters,” Brann wrote. “This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated.”


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