A Trump Judicial Appointee’s Blistering Opinion Is a Reality Check for Republicans Who Still Think Biden Stole the Election
In a blistering opinion by a Donald Trump appointee, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit on Friday rejected the president’s challenge to Pennsylvania’s election results, saying his campaign had failed even to allege a cognizable constitutional claim. “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy,” writes Stephanos Bibas, whom Trump picked for the appeals court in 2017. “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.”
Appealing another scathing decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, the Trump campaign asked the 3rd Circuit to override Brann’s refusal to allow a second amended complaint. The appeals court says Brann did not abuse his discretion when he dismissed the case with prejudice, given the looming certification of Pennsylvania’s vote (which happened last Tuesday), the campaign’s “delays and repetitive litigation,” and the likelihood that the proposed complaint would be “futile.”
The Trump campaign argued that Pennsylvania’s election procedures violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection in two ways. First, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar urged counties to let voters “cure” mistakes on their absentee ballots that otherwise would have been rejected. Some counties followed that suggestion, while others did not. Second, the campaign alleges that election officials in some counties kept poll watchers too far away from the vote counting to see what was happening.
The 3rd Circuit notes that neither of those practices violated state or federal law. Nor does the variation between counties amount to unconstitutional discrimination under the 14th Amendment, it says. “The Campaign tries to repackage these state-law claims as unconstitutional discrimination,” Bibas writes. “Yet its allegations are vague and conclusory. It never alleges that anyone treated the Trump campaign or Trump votes worse than it treated the Biden campaign or Biden votes….A violation of the Equal Protection Clause requires more than variation from county to county. It requires unequal treatment of similarly situated parties.”
The president and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have insisted for weeks that Joe Biden stole the election through systematic voting fraud. Giuliani began a November 17 hearing before Brann by claiming “widespread nationwide voter fraud.” But he later conceded “this is not a fraud case,” no
Article from Latest – Reason.com