(The Center Square) – A federal judge tossed a lawsuit Saturday night that sought to have millions of ballots from the Nov. 3 presidential election thrown out, dealing another blow to President Donald Trump’s efforts to stay in office.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit that claimed widespread fraud was at the root of presumed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Keystone State.
The Trump campaign is expected to appeal the ruling.
The Trump campaign’s lawsuit called on Brann to forbid the certification of the election and the award of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, despite Trump trailing Biden by about 82,000 votes out of approximately 7 million cast. To Brann, such a move would amount to disenfranchising those voters, something he said would be unprecedented in U.S. history and would require extraordinary evidence.
“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, such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens,” Brann wrote. “That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”
Among the key elements of the Trump campaign’s complaint was the fact that voters in some counties were allowed to “cure” their mail-in ballots if they were missing key information, such as a signature on the envelope. Attorneys for Trump, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, argued before Brann that such curing was not explicitly allowed by Pennsylvania’s election code and that the inconsistent application of the remedy amounted to disenfranchisement of voters in the counties that didn’t permit it.
Two Pennsylvania voters were included in the lawsuit as co-plaintiffs with the Trump campaign, one from Lancaster County whose mail-in ballot was invalidated because he failed to use the required security envelope, and another from Fayette County whose ballot was not counted for unknown reasons. Neither were given a chance by their counties’ election officials to correct any mistakes.
The lawsuit sought to invoke the precedent of the 2000 Bush v. Gore ruling, in which the U.S. Supreme Court brought an end to former Vice President Al Gore’s attempts to continue recount efforts in Florida, thereby making George W. Bush the president-elect. But Brann found the logic connecting the two cases to be thin at best.
“This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together from two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent,” Brann wrote.
While Brann allowed that the two voters whose votes went uncounted suffered harm as a result of those decisions, he said that the lawsuit's goal of throwing out all the votes in Pennsylvania in no way resolved that harm.
“Prohibiting certification of the election results would not reinstate the Individual Plaintiffs’ right to vote. It would simply deny more than 6.8 million people their right to vote,” he wrote.
Brann dismissed the lawsuit “with prejudice,” meaning it can’t be amended and refiled. He cited, in part, Monday’s deadline for counties to certify election results as a reason for forbidding any further amendments to a lawsuit that had already been updated multiple times.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, in the immediate aftermath of Brann’s ruling, called on President Trump to accept the decision and move forward with the presidential transition process.
“With today’s decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania,” Toomey wrote in a statement.
Trump dismissed both Brann and Toomey as complicit in what he has called a coordinated effort to fraudulently deny him reelection.
“It’s all a continuation of the never ending Witch Hunt,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Judge Brann, who would not even allow us to present our case or evidence, is a product of Senator Pat “No Tariffs” Toomey of Pennsylvania, no friend of mine, & Obama - No wonder. 900,000 Fraudulent Votes!”
“....WILL APPEAL!” Trump added in a follow-up tweet.