President Donald Trump is not new to lawsuits, given that he’s been involved in 3,500 of them.
While President Donald Trump was golfing at his club in Virginia, his camp issued a statement: “We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over.” The President’s personal lawyer and former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani said Trump won’t concede the election at this point at a news conference, yesterday in Philadelphia. For President Donald Trump, re-election looks like a distant dream. Yet, Trump’s hopes of re-election are hanging by a thread in the form of a legal suit he has filed in US Supreme Court.
Even as Biden moves closer to the White House, Trump is preparing for a bitter legal battle that will, experts say, just prolong the inevitable. The Trump campaign has launched a battery of lawsuits in many states, including challenging Pennsylvania’s vote count at the Supreme Court, to exclude ballots that arrived after Election Day in the state. But even if those ballots are counted and Trump wins the Electoral College in the state, there is no guarantee he will be able to become the president for the second term.
Unleashing his battery of expensive lawyers, Trump has predictably triggered a chaotic string of events that shall engulf America in the days to come.
Joe Biden has won more than two-thirds of the ‘blue wall’ in the Midwest and Pennsylvania that cleared Trump’s road to victory in 2016. In Pennsylvania, hundreds of thousands of mail-in and early absentee votes went in favor of Democrats. But the Trump campaign is trying to bring the Supreme Court about to intervene in a case challenging a court verdict that allowed Pennsylvania ballots to be counted after Election Day. The justices had, however, refused to hear Trump’s appeal before the election, and are considering whether to go ahead with the case.
Watch: President-elect Joe Biden’s full acceptance speech
What Are Trump’s Legal Options?
Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes. Trump’s current tally of electoral votes is 214. Even if he gets all 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania, his number will reach a mere 234. He will still be 26 short of getting a majority. However difficult it may be his chance to get re-elected, Trump doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned. His camp is trying to intervene in an appeal of a decision by Pennsylvania’s supreme court to allow three extra days for the receipt and counting of mail-in ballots.
Pennsylvania’s top election official has said that some ballots that arrived in that window before 5 p.m., Friday, should be separated but counted. Republicans on Friday asked for a high court order ensuring the ballots are separated. Pennsylvania is a specific case because unlike there, Trump has to appeal in a lower court to challenge the election outcome of a state. But even if a decision goes in his favor, it can be challenged in higher courts and struck down. It will make the procedure lengthy without a guarantee for success for Trump. Hence, he sees Pennsylvania as a great hope.
In the US, it’s common for voting to be continued after Election Day. Most of the states make Election Day as the deadline to receive mailed-in ballots. However, this time as many as 22 states have a post-Election Day deadline. Mailed-in ballots are not popular in the US. But the coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to cast mailed-in ballots. However, Pennsylvania is not the only state where Republicans are facing legal challenges, but the cases in other states are of a small-scale and won’t impact many votes. For e.g. Trump campaign won an appeal to get party and campaign observers to be allowed within six feet of vote counting in Philadelphia. But he lost campaign lawsuits in Georgia and Michigan.
Could The Election Be Decided In Court?
Trump opened a can of worms during his speech in the White House on Wednesday morning when he accused Republicans of committing a ‘fraud’ in voting. He had said that if legal votes were counted Republicans would have easily won the elections. He also said that he wouldn’t stand corruption in elections and would move to the Supreme Court to stop it. The Trump campaign is seemingly taking inspiration from a similar Supreme Court decision in 2000. At that time, the court had stopped recounting in Florida and settled a contested election in favor of George W Bush in a 5-4 split decision. Democrats had called it the Supreme Court’s intervention in political matters. After that incident, Democrats have often attacked the Supreme Court for breaching political legitimacy.
Trump is drawing criticism from Biden camp and Democrats for lawsuits challenging a ‘valid’ election’s legitimacy through lawsuits. Biden’s lawyer Bob Bauer said Trump’s lawsuits are meritless and a political strategy to garner attention. “I want to emphasize that these lawsuits have no merit. They have no purpose. This is just their strategy to give a false impression of what is happening in elections.”
The statement from Trump camp revealed that the “campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated” from Monday. Furthermore, on the news that Joe Biden was being called as the winner, Trump’s supporters gathered at Pennsylvania’s state capitol building to protest.