January 22, 2021

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The Latest: McConnell proposes shifting funds to COVID aid

Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)




A federal judge dealt a death blow to the Trump campaign’s effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win of the presidency on Saturday, by dismissing a closely watched lawsuit that sought to invalidate millions of Pennsylvania votes.

“It is not in the power of this Court to violate the Constitution,” Judge Matthew Brann of the US District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania wrote on Saturday in a withering decision, hours after the final round of filings in the case came in.

The judge wholeheartedly rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to throw out the Pennsylvania vote, noting that Biden has won the state and results will be certified by state officials on Monday. Biden has a margin of more than 81,000 votes in the state.

“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. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more,” the judge wrote. “At bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”

Though the case was always unlikely to succeed, President Donald Trump’s backers and legal team, particularly his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, had pinned their hopes on the federal judge in Pennsylvania giving some credibility to their suspicions of fraud and entertaining Trump’s attempt to overturn the popular vote for Biden.

But Brann, a longtime and well-known Republican in Pennsylvania, refused.

Shortly after the decision came down, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania congratulated Biden as the President-elect, breaking from party leaders and a vast majority of congressional Republicans who continue to back Trump’s efforts to challenge the results.

This was essentially the last major case seeking to throw out or block enough votes that could swing a key state in Trump’s favor, and Brann’s decision on Saturday is at least the 30th loss or withdrawal of a case from the Trump campaign and its allies since Election Day. There have only been two wins in court for Republicans, about very small numbers of votes.

“Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated,” Brann wrote Saturday.

In the case, Trump’s legal team led by Giuliani had attempted to claim that the Equal Protection rights of two Pennsylvania voters were violated because the state had allowed counties to decide whether absentee ballots sent in with technical problems could be fixed by the voters.

The two voters in the lawsuit said that in their counties, they were not allowed to “cure” their ballots, and thus had their ballots

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