3-Judge Panel Unanimously Dismisses Yet Another Trump Lawsuit


A three-judge panel on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously dismissed a challenge from the Trump campaign, which was fighting to preserve a court challenge that the president’s allies brought against the election results in Pennsylvania. Originally, this lawsuit sought to block the official certification of the state’s election results; now that those results are certified, the campaign argued that their challenge wasn’t moot because of a supposedly potential decertification of the results — but the Third Circuit judges weren’t impressed by any case element. The three-judge panel wrote that the Trump campaign’s claims “have no merit.”

In the panel’s ruling, Judge Stephanos Bibas — a Trump appointee — wrote, in part, as follows:

‘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.’

As Zoe Tillman of Buzzfeed News explains, the Trump campaign’s appeal to the Third Circuit sought permission to file an amended version of the campaign’s foundational complaint. Top Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, who joined the Trump campaign’s legal team for its Pennsylvania case, previously requested permission to file a third version of the campaign’s complaint, but lower-court Judge Matthew Brann denied this request. The Trump campaign spotlighted this issue in their appeal.

The Third Circuit’s dismissal of the campaign’s appeal mirrors language in the earlier dismissal from Judge Brann, who wrote that the court had “been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.” At the time of a hearing covering a request from the Trump team’s opponents to dismiss the case — which Brann granted — the most up-to-date version of the official complaint did not include voter fraud allegations, despite Giuliani’s own heated references to supposed nationwide fraud during a hearing. In reality, Giuliani admitted that the challenge, as it stood, was “not a fraud case.”

There’s just no meaningful evidence for the claims from Trump and his allies that the election was “rigged” for Biden. Recently, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) suggested that potential penalties for making false claims to law enforcement could explain why many of the Trump team’s bombastic fraud claims haven’t actually ended up in a courtroom. In Pennsylvania, the Trump team has alleged that its observers were systematically excluded from the ballot tabulation process and that Democrat-led counties violated the law via granting opportunities to voters to fix issues with their mail-in ballots. Neither of these claims has withstood scrutiny.

This week, after a long break since the last time that he spoke with the White House press corps, Trump took questions — and it didn’t go great. At one point, he admitted that he would leave the White House if a majority of the electoral college officially votes for Joe Biden — which is exactly what’s on track to take place — but he subsequently snapped at the reporter who was questioning him, angrily belting out: “Don’t talk to me that way. I’m the President of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way.”