Saturday, November 21, 2020

Pennsylvania Federal judge dismisses Trump suit as utterly groundless

In a devastating memorandum opinion federal District Judge Matthew W. Brann has ordered the dismissal of the complaint in Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. v. Boockvar, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Brann is a Federalist Society member and former Republican Party official nominated by Barack Obama in 2013 at the urging of Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA).  Brann today penned an opinion that could support sanctions or discipline against both the lawyers who filed the complaint [then withdrew] and the succeeding counsel who pressed frivolous claims in apparent violation of RPC 3.1

Judge Brann explained his view:

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. 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. That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. 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.

Defenders of the Trump lawyers like Professor Jonathan Turley have seen suppression of free speech in the calls by students at Harvard to graylist departing Trump officials who might seek academic refuge.  There is little that can be done to curb youthful excesses of passion such as may afflict those with an elevated sense of entitlement spurred by high LSAT scores.  But just as we celebrate heroic lawyers like Bryan Stevenson who labor long for justice for the despised, we can shun and sanction those who groundlessly work to undermine democracy for a fee.

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