The Court Failures Continue to Mount

Almost 50 losses in four weeks,. Impressive.

The sheer scale of loss by Team Trump and its erstwhile allies continues to impress. Via WaPo: Judges turn back claims by Trump and his allies in six states as the president’s legal effort founders.

Just over a month after the Nov. 3 election, the Trump campaign and other Republicans suing over Biden’s win were dealt court losses across six states where they have tried to contest the results of the presidential race — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.

Judges ruled decisively that Trump’s side has not proved the election was fraudulent, with some offering painstaking analyses of why such claims lack merit and pointed opinions about the risks the legal claims pose to American democracy.

It is gratifying to know that going to court with no evidence and contrived arguments garners this kind of result. The courts have been resilient in the face of this onslaught, which is comforting, although we cannot forget that these efforts are having an ongoing corrosive effect on the population. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the goal of these efforts is the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans and is being undertaken by the head of the Republican Party with the silent, and sometimes not silent, complicity of many in the party.

It is a shameful display.

Still, this paragraph is something to behold:

The Trump campaign’s strategy of using the courts to change the result of the presidential election — which has involved dozens of lawsuits in six states — has so far been a complete failure, as lawyers for the president and his allies repeatedly failed to present credible evidence of wrongdoing that would justify invalidating millions of votes in swing states. Trump and his allies are approaching nearly 50 losses in four weeks, according to a tally by Democratic attorney Marc Elias.

Again, it is comforting (to a point) to know that the courts, state and federal, trial and appeallate, and across multiple states and districts have seen through the nonsense.

For example,

District Judge Brett H. Ludwig expressed skepticism Friday about Trump’s arguments as he held an initial status hearing in a suit seeking to overturn Biden’s victory there.

While the hearing largely dealt only with setting a rapid schedule of filings and hearings next week, Ludwig — a Trump nominee who took the bench only in September — noted that the president has requested “extraordinary” relief.

He added that he had a “very, very hard time” seeing why Trump brought the action in federal court. Ludwig also termed a Trump request to “remand” the election back to the state legislature “bizarre.”

And note: a Trump appointee slaps back yet again. (This is not an attempt to say that McConnell’s judge manufacturing scheme has been no big deal, but to underscore that there is no room here for Trump’s ally to scream “Obama apppointeeeee!” or somesuch).

The kinds of claims that are being made are petty at best, and bear no proportionality to the relief being requested.

For example:

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Judge Randall Warner of the Maricopa County Superior Court ruled Friday that he found “no misconduct, no fraud and no effect on the outcome of the election” in a suit brought by the Arizona Republican Party and its chairwoman, Kelli Ward.

Warner found that GOP lawyers had identified nine mistakes during an inspection of 1,626 ballots that had been duplicated because the originals were damaged or could not be scanned. But those few errors did not amount to a widespread problem that cast doubt on Biden’s winning margin of more than 10,000 votes — or demand the “extraordinary act” of annulling the more than 3.3 million votes cast by Arizonans, he ruled.

I am not sure I fully understand the nature of the error noted in the piece, but for the sake of argument let’s assume that the nine ballots were double-counted. Just of the batch in question, 9 of 1,626 is ~.06%. Out of 3.3 million, it is .00003%. That might as well be zero.

It is beyond ridiculous to suggest that an error so minuscule should overturn an election.

And to give credit where credit is due, as least some elected Republicans are not playing Trump’s games:

“As a conservative Republican, I don’t like the results of the presidential election. I voted for President Trump and worked hard to reelect him,” Speaker Rusty Bowers said in a statement. “But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.”

But, the beat goes on:

Despite the cascade of losses, Trump and his allies pressed forward with new cases. In Arizona, a second formal election contest was filed in state court Friday by a group of plaintiffs represented by the conservative Thomas More Society, the same organization whose request to overturn the election results was roundly rejected by Hagedorn, the Wisconsin judge, on Friday. The campaign also filed a new lawsuit in Georgia state court seeking to invalidate the state’s election results.

I am looking forward to some time off from work this month, so I won’t wish away the next six weeks, but man, in so many ways January 20th can’t get here fast enough. At least the election lawsuits will have to stop once the electoral vote is counted. I am not necessarily convinced they will stop once the electoral votes are cast. Instead, I expect new kinds of bullshit (and there is no better word for it) legal arguments about the electors up and until those votes are counted in Congress the first week of January.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Law and the Courts, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. James Joyner says:

    Leaving aside the immorality and the sheer disregard for democratic values, it’s just bizarre. Rather than lose once, on Election Night or thereabouts, he loses almost daily—sometimes multiple times a day.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    As was pointed out on one of the other threads, the lawsuits have stopped being about the election and are now wholly a fund raising grifting operation. For the soon to be ex prez the return on investment has been stupendous. After Biden is sworn in, he’ll declare for 24 and set up a PAC, roll this cash into it, before moving as much as he can to himself and family. And the suckers will continue to pony up.

    …but man, in so many ways January 20th can’t get here fast enough

    Two benefits of 1/20, he’ll be the ex prez and for those of us in the snow belt, winter will be nearly half over.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    @James Joyner:

    Maybe he’s a masochist?

  4. al Ameda says:

    And you know, As the legal losses mount Trump’s base is now more convinced than ever that the the election was rigged. The losses are confirmation of how wide the conspiracy is.

    I’m sure going to have to work really hard to understand these aggrieved people. What have I done wrong that I have caused these people to be so angry?

  5. Scott F. says:

    (This is not an attempt to say that McConnell’s judge manufacturing scheme has been no big deal, but to underscore that there is no room here for Trump’s ally to scream “Obama apppointeeeee!” or somesuch).

    McConnell’s judge manufacturing scheme was heavily promoted in some Republican circles as the be-all-end-all that made Trump’s general malfeasance worth it. You’ve got to figure some folks (Trump included, I’d say) have to be terribly disappointed to learn that GOP steamrolling the Judiciary hasn’t guaranteed the MAGA wet dream as they supposed it would.

    One small victory for Checks & Balances, I guess.

  6. Scott F. says:

    @al Ameda:
    The really cool thing about the Deep State Conspiracy is that every bit of evidence that would indicate it doesn’t exist can be easily interpreted by a true believer as further proof of how pervasive, powerful, and hidden the conspiracy is. It is rebuttal proof by its very nature.

  7. CSK says:

    @al Ameda: @Scott F.:
    The more people Sidney Powell can convince of this, the more money she can rake into her coffers.

  8. charon says:

    Just the President making it clear that there’s no room in the Republican Party for anyone who accepts the clear results of the democratic election removing him from power.

    Potus reaction to this:

    The Washington Post surveyed all 249 Republicans in the House and Senate. Only 25 would acknowledge that Joe Biden is president-elect.

  9. charon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    AS pointed out, $208,000,000 so far, available to the PAC, only a small pittance so far (by comparison) spent on the lawyers. So, yeah, mostly a grift. (The PAC money can be diverted to Trump’s pockets at his discretion).

  10. charon says:

    The trend towards grifting has been part of GOP politics for decades, not a big surprise the slippery slope landed on Trump.

  11. Michael Cain says:

    @charon: The FEC filings have less than a million dollars going to the PAC. It’s going to the RNC and the Trump Campaign. The real grift so far is the fine print that says up to $8K from any donation can be used to pay down the existing campaign debt rather than for the flip-the-election legal fees.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Welcome to the new normal. You can expect this after every election for at least the next 12 years.

  13. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Well, someone has to pay off Trump’s debts for him.

  14. de stijl says:

    Bullshit perceived as true for a shockingly large percent of us.

    What Trump is doing is sowing reflexive anti-democracy into a big share of our populace. His enablers are cool with that.

    I find it very close to sedition.

  15. Tony W says:

    The money is nice, but this is NOT about fundraising a few million. That’s just a side benefit.

    This is about legal jeopardy. Donald J Trump’s legal jeopardy specifically.

    Trump is protected while he has the presidency. That ends January 20th, as does his ability to pardon others.

    There are sealed indictments waiting for him, and once Biden takes office we will be made aware of the other shady and illegal things Trump and his cohort have undoubtedly done.

    One of the foundational tenets of internal control at a business is to force people to use their vacation time. If you are running a scheme it’s difficult to keep it running when you are out of the office.