Third Circuit Rejects Trump Campaign’s Appeal
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit roundly rejected the Trump campaign’s appeal in its effort to challenge the election results in Pennsylvania. Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote the opinion for the panel, which also included Judges Smith and Chagares.
The opinion is brief, and pulls no punches. Here is how it begins:
Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.
The Trump Presidential Campaign asserts that Pennsylvania’s 2020 election was unfair. But as lawyer Rudolph Giuliani stressed, the Campaign “doesn’t plead fraud. . . . [T]his is not a fraud case.” Mot. to Dismiss Hr’g Tr. 118:19–20, 137:18. Instead, it objects that Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State and some counties restricted poll watchers and let voters fix technical defects in their mail-in ballots. It offers nothing more. This case is not about whether those claims are true. Rather, the Campaign appeals on a very narrow ground: whether the District Court abused its discretion in not letting the Campaign amend its complaint a second time. It did not.
Most of the claims in the Second Amended Complaint boil down to issues of state law. But Pennsylvania law is willing to overlook many technical defects. It favors counting votes as long as there is no fraud. Indeed, the Campaign has a
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