Sat | Jan 23, 2021

Appeals court rejects Trump challenge of Pennsylvania race

Published:Friday | November 27, 2020 | 2:27 PM
President Donald Trump departs after participating in a video teleconference call with members of the military on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26, 2020, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign’s latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.

Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judges’ assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.”

“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,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote for the three-judge panel.

The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania.

However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.

US District Judge Matthew Brann had said the campaign’s error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.

The 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals called that decision justified.

The three judges on the panel were all appointed by Republican presidents. including Bibas, a former University of Pennsylvania law professor appointed by Trump.

Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, sat on the court for 20 years, retiring in 2019.

“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also denied the campaign’s request to stop the state from certifying its results, a demand he called “breathtaking.”

In fact, Pennsylvania officials had certified their vote count Monday for President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Trump by more than 80,000 votes in the state.

Nationally, Biden and running mate Kamala Harris garnered nearly 80 million votes, a record in US presidential elections.

Trump has said he hopes the Supreme Court will intervene in the race as it did in 2000, when its decision to stop the recount in Florida gave the election to Republican George W. Bush.

On November 5, as the vote count continued, Trump posted a tweet saying the “US Supreme Court should decide!”

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