WASHINGTON – The reelection campaign of President Donald Trump appealed on Sunday a court decision to throw out his most important election lawsuit in the key state of Pennsylvania with the aim of getting the appeal before the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court.
Trump’s team filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in the jurisdiction of which Pennsylvania is located, one day after a federal judge in that state threw out the president’s suit with a scathing ruling criticizing his team for presenting the claim – presenting no evidence – that election fraud was committed, thus allegedly causing him to lose in Pennsylvania.
Trump had already tweeted about midnight on Saturday that his campaign would appeal the decision and his attorneys said they hoped the appeals court would issue a rapid ruling on the case so that it gets kicked up to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible.
The US high court is made up of an overwhelming 6-3 conservative majority, with three of those conservative justices having been appointed by Trump himself, but the president’s campaign will have difficulty convincing those magistrates that any election fraud was committed in Pennsylvania, given that so far his team has presented no convincing evidence to back up their claim.
The lawsuit in question seeks to invalidate hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots arguing that the possibility that voters were legally allowed to correct mistakes on their ballots in certain counties hurt Trump in the election.
Trump lost the state of Pennsylvania to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by more than 150,000 votes.
The judge who threw out the suit on Saturday, conservative Matthew Brann, said that the Trump campaign had resorted to “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations ... unsupported by evidence” in its effort to get those votes disallowed.
“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state,” wrote Brann in his ruling.
The ruling was a significant reversal for the legal strategy being pursued by Trump’s campaign – which numerous legal observers have called “haphazard” and “far-fetched,” among other things – with his team already having lost other cases in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona – situations in which, following the same playbook, the campaign was alleging that votes for Biden should be disallowed claiming election fraud.
This suit was the last significant one remaining active in Pennsylvania, and Brann’s decision means that the state’s counties now have a clear path to certify the result of the election, with the deadline for that coming on Monday, thus confirming that Biden won the state.
Without Pennsylvania in his column, it will be practically impossible for Trump to be able to reverse the result of the election – that is, a Biden win – given that the Democrat’s electoral vote tally is 306 (to Trump’s 232), and only 270 votes in the Electoral College are required to win the presidency.
Trump was dealt two other reversals last Friday, the first in Georgia, which certified Biden’s win there, and the second in Michigan, where two state legislators whom the president had invited to the White House confirmed after the meeting that they had no information that could change the result of the election in their state, which Biden also won.
Trump’s team has until Dec. 8 to develop a workable legal strategy that would enable him to reverse the result of the Nov. 3 election because on that day all states must have resolved any election disputes and the governors of each must send the certified results of the election in their states to Congress.