On Friday, a three-judge panel on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a unanimous ruling that dismissed an appeal from the Trump team after a lower-court judge threw out the team’s court challenge against election results in Pennsylvania. The ruling — written by Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee — insisted that the Trump team’s claims “have no merit.” Bibas was joined in the ruling by Judges Michael Chagares and David Brooks Smith, both of whom were nominated by President George W. Bush, a Republican. Ludicrously, in an angry public statement after the Third Circuit ruling, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis referred to these GOP-appointed judges as part of the “activist judicial machinery.”
Ellis posted the following statement on Twitter:
‘[Rudy Giuliani] and me on Third Circuit’s opinion: 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!’
.@RudyGiuliani and me on Third Circuit’s opinion:
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!
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) November 27, 2020
There’s no meaningful evidence of any kind of nefarious or even political intent on the part of the judges who handed down the ruling against the Trump team on Friday. The judges were doing their jobs, observing that the Trump team failed to produce conclusive evidence for their claims. The Third Circuit ruling against the Trump team says, 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.’
The language mirrors an earlier ruling from lower-court judge Matthew Brann, who originally dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit. Brann wrote that the court “has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.”
Originally, the campaign’s lawsuit sought to block the official certification of presidential election results in Pennsylvania, and now that those results are certified, the Trump team has raised the prospect of decertifying the results. They based their request to block certification on claims that authorities had mishandled election procedure — but in their amended complaint, which was in force at the time of a recent lower-court hearing over a motion to dismiss the case, the campaign did not outright allege any voter fraud — in which someone voted illegally — at all. They sought the opportunity to file a third version of their underlying complaint, but Judge Brann denied this request to re-do their lawsuit, and the Third Circuit denied this request as well.
🚨🚨BREAKING: Third Circuit REJECTS Trump appeal. "Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious…Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here."https://t.co/tA5ZIymzPz
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) November 27, 2020
Check out Twitter’s response to the Ellis/ Giuliani statement below: