A US federal appeals court on Friday dismissed President Donald Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block Pennsylvania, a key battleground state, from certifying President-elect Joe Biden as the winner. It ruled that the case lacked both “specific allegations” and “proof” of election wrongdoing.
Trump’s campaign plans to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court. The outgoing president has refused to acknowledge the election outcome and continues to try to overturn it based on unfounded claims of election fraud, which he and his Republican allies have failed to substantiate in any court yet.
Trump has announced, meantime, he will campaign on Saturday in the state of Georgia, where sitting Republican senators are in a run-off election in January that will determine control of Senate. If they lose, the Republican-ruled chamber will go to the Democrats, who already control the House of Representatives.
Friday’s ruling on Pennsylvania by the three-judge bench of the 3rd circuit courts of appeal was one more setback for the president, whose lawsuits have been dismissed and derided by courts.
“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy,” wrote judge Stephanos Bibas in the ruling. “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.”
Bibas is a Trump appointee, and the other two judges were all appointed by Republican presidents.
The lawsuit seeking to block the state from certifying Biden’s victory was earlier dismissed by a lower court that said its fraud allegation was “without merit” and “like Frankenstein’s monster, has been haphazardly stitched together”.
Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis tweeted after Friday verdict, “On to SCOTUS!” She was referring to the Supreme Court.
Along with his legal efforts, Trump has also sought to rope in Republican legislatures in the battleground states to overturn the election. He tried unsuccessfully in Michigan and has now pinned his hopes on state legislators in Pennsylvania, who are running with the same discredited charges.
Trump is fast running out of time. He has until December 8, the last day for states to certify the election outcomes. Electors of the electoral college granted to both him and Biden will vote on December 14 to formalise the results. Biden has beaten Trump 306-232 in electoral votes.
Trump returns to the campaign trail in Georgia, a solidly Republican state won by Biden this time, amid wild poll fraud and corruption allegations levelled by him and his lawyers against Republican leaders of the state – governor Brian Kemp and secretary of state Brad Raffensperger.
Both of them have been voters and supporters of the president, but find themselves in his crosshairs for backing his baseless election fraud claims. Republican senators seeking re-election, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have sided with the president for fear of angering his supporters. The Republican Party is at war with itself there.
If Perdue and Loeffler lose, the Senate will be a 50-50 tie between Republicans and Democrats who hold 50 and 48 seats respectively after the November 3 elections. With vice-president Kamala Harris as the tie vote, Democrats in that case will seize the chamber.