WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump's campaign in Pennsylvania, saying it contained "strained legal argument without merit."
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann turned down the request for an injunction, dealing another blow to Trump's hopes of invalidating the election's results.
In his 37-page ruling, Brann said the Trump campaign asked him to “disenfranchise almost seven million voters” and said he could not find any case in which a plaintiff “has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election.”
With such a request, the judge said, one might expect compelling legal argument “and factual proof of rampant corruption.” Instead, Brann added, “this court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”
“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," Brann wrote in his opinion.
The lawsuit claimed that some counties allowed mail-in voters to cure problems with the ballots by casting a provisional ballots, but some counties did not, which violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.
But even if that were the basis for seeking some kind of order, Brann said, the remedy sought by the Trump campaign goes too far.
“Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they seek to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race," the judge wrote. "This is simply not how the Constitution works.”
The Trump campaign said in a statement that it would be "seeking an expedited appeal to the Third Circuit."
"We are disappointed we did not at least get the opportunity to present our evidence at a hearing," the campaign said.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who announced earlier this year that he will not run for reelection in 2022, said the ruling by a "longtime conservative Republican" judge, plus other recent legal setbacks for the Trump campaign, marked the beginning of a new administration.
“President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania," Toomey said in a statement. "To ensure that he is remembered for these outstanding accomplishments, President Trump should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process."
Since Election Day, the Trump campaign has sued the boards of elections in Philadelphia, Allegheny, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton and Centre counties. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit in Philadelphia on Tuesday, ruling that officials did not violate state law by maintaining at least 15 feet of separation between observers and the workers counting ballots.
“The court saw through the attempts by President Trump and his enablers in Washington and Harrisburg to interfere with democracy,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, in an emailed statement. “The people of Pennsylvania have had their say, and it is time to put this election behind us.”
Terrie Griffin, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, said Saturday's ruling shows that it's "time to move past the desperate accusations, stop the perpetuation of false claims, and accept the choices of Pennsylvania voters.”
“Pennsylvania voters have spoken in greater numbers than ever before, and today’s decision confirms the sanctity of the vote,” she said in a statement.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, tweeted shortly after Brann's ruling, saying “Another one bites the dust.”