These lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign are remarkably weak and lacking in evidence. I previously wrote about one such lawsuit in Pennsylvania here. Rudy Giuliani himself appeared in the Pennsylvania lawsuit last week. He literally parachuted into the suit, submitting his motion pro hac vice the day of his appearance. Judge Brann, an Obama appointee, but life-long Republican presided. During the hearing on Nov 17, he pressed Mr. Giuliani for answers and appeared unhappy with the answers he received. The Judge asked him during the hearing which standard of review should apply and why. The former U.S. Attorney gave an answer more like Animal House than Lincoln Lawyer. He replied, “the normal one.” … Yes, he really said that.
Standard of review refers to the standard the court should use to review a particular statute. Should the judge look at it with “strict scrutiny” or some lesser standard. With his answer, former Mayor Giuliani betrayed his ignorance. As young lawyers, we quickly learn to tell a judge forthrightly if we do not know the answer to a question. Judges do not have time for evasive answers. Whatever credibility Mr. Giuliani had was quickly lost with that sophomoric response.
Now, Judge Brann has dismissed the lawsuit. The judge found many problems with the lawsuit. He noted that based on allegations of two errant votes, the Trump campaign sought to dis-enfranchise 6.8 million votes. In his final order, the Judge expressed deep annoyance with the lawsuit:
“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann wrote, so much that the court would have no option but to stop the certification even though it would impact so many people. “That has not happened.”
He added that the Trump campaign presented “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations … unsupported by evidence.” When a judge says the plaintiff has filed a monumental lawsuit, but failed to follow through with evidence commensurate with the cause, the plaintiff is really screwed.
Elsewhere, Judge Brann described the plaintiff’s equal protection claim as “Frankenstein’s Monster,” which has been “haphazardly stitched together from two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent.” That is as clear a slam on the lawsuit’s basis as there is. The judge is saying the plaintiffs lied about their case, so as to present a dubious claim. The court nots that the plaintiffs ask the court to invalidate votes only regarding the Presidential election. The court rightly notes the plaintiffs are essentially asserting the voting procedures were constitutional regarding the other races, but not regarding the Presidential race. Yet, the same voting procedures were used for all races, not just the Presidential race. The court concludes with some annoyance that it is not possible to both hold Pennsylvania’s electoral system constitutional and unconstitutional at the same time.
During the Nov. 17 hearing, after all the lawyers had spoken once, the Judge directed the key question to the plaintiffs: you are alleging two votes were improper, but you are seeking to invalidate 6.8 million Presidential votes, “thereby disenfranchising every single voter in the Commonwealth [of Pennsylvania], can you tell me how this result can possibly be justified.” Two lawyers for the Trump campaign were present, but Mr. Giuliani responded. Mr. Giuliani apparently stumped by the direct question, paused. Then he simply engaged in a lengthy rant about various speculative theories for about ten minutes. The judge asked no follow-up questions, apparently taking Giuliani’s response as a non-answer. See C-Span recording here.
In his decision, the judge essentially accused the plaintiffs of filing a frivolous lawsuit. If I or any lawyer I know had filed such a weak lawsuit, we would expect to be sanctioned by the court. See AP news report here. That is the language used to describe frivolous lawsuits. See the decision here.
Pres. Trump has already appealed this ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. But, no appeal can improve this evidence.