President Donald Trump’s campaign has challenged the reported results of the election in a number of states, including Pennsylvania, but those challenges in the Keystone State have been flatly rejected by the courts thus far.
Following a stinging rebuke from a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the president’s attorneys will be able to make a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, albeit with less than ideal prospects for victory in this particular case, the New York Post reported.
“On to SCOTUS!”
The three judges on the panel were all appointed by Republicans, including one by President Trump. Nevertheless, they ruled unanimously that the “campaign’s claims have no merit” and refused to overturn a district court decision that prohibited any further amendments of the initial complaint.
The appeals court also rejected a request for a temporary injunction against Pennsylvania’s certification process of the vote tally to allow time for additional challenges.
In response to the court’s rejection, Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, speaking also on behalf of fellow attorney Rudy Giuliani, wrote on Twitter, “The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud. We are very thankful to have had the opportunity to present proof and the facts to the PA state legislature. On to SCOTUS!”
Rejected and dismissed
The three-judge panel took several shots at the Trump campaign’s legal efforts throughout its ruling, including stating that “Voters, not lawyers, choose the President,” and that “Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” ABC News reported.
“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,” wrote Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, in the 21-page opinion.
Bibas scorched the attorneys for the case that had been presented, even as the judges allowed to stand the fact that the district court judge had refused to allow the lawyers to amend their initial complaint more than once.
Further, the judge seemed to take the Trump campaign’s initial call for expediency and use it against them as it rejected the request to be allowed to make additional amendments and even declined to hear oral arguments as to why that request should be granted.
Anything could happen
The Trump campaign will almost certainly appeal this rejection from the Third Circuit to the Supreme Court, though it is unclear if this particular case will find any more favor than it has among the lower courts. Unfortunately, at least for this case, it may well be a lost cause.
The Supreme Court, which now has a majority of conservative and originalist jurists, could kick the case back down to the lower levels with an order to allow for the amending of the initial complaint with new evidence or insist that oral arguments be permitted so the attorneys can effectively plead their case. The odds of that happening, however, given the condensed time frame of the election and transition period, appear slim.
Trump’s legal team and others still have pending lawsuits in other states, and there remains the possibility that the Pennsylvania state legislature, having actually held a hearing to listen to the presentation of evidence regarding allegations of fraud and irregularities, may take action soon that is favorable to the president’s bid to remain in office.