Updated: Nov 26, 2020
While powerful Republican lawmakers who could end this effort by Donald Trump to overturn his election defeat are demonstrating their absolute impotence, a federal court judge in Pennsylvania has single handedly protected our precious right to vote.
Judge Matthew W. Brann, a conservative Republican, rebuked Donald Trump and his lawyers Saturday for trying to overturn the election results in the Keystone State and disenfranchise more than 6 million voters.
“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.
The judge's decision was critical as it would be virtually impossible for Trump to overturn Joe Biden's election without Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes. Trump's attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and legal advisor Jenna Ellis said they would appeal and that they expect the case to reach the Supreme Court.
Biden defeated Trump by more than 81,000 votes in Pennsylvania, results that are expected to be certified by Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who was a defendant in the Trump Pennsylvania lawsuit along with several Democrat-majority counties.
Judge Brann's opinion is worth a read, all 37 pages of it. It illustrates the absolute disdain that Donald Trump has for the Constitution and its guarantees of the right to vote as he continues to try to rig the election after-the-fact. Here's the introduction:
In this action, the Trump Campaign and the Individual Plaintiffs (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) seek to discard millions of votes legally cast by Pennsylvanians from all corners – from Greene County to Pike County, and everywhere in between. In other words, 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. At bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Therefore, I grant Defendants’ motions and dismiss Plaintiffs’ action with prejudice.
Two plaintiffs, John Henry, of Lancaster County, and Lawrence Roberts, of Fayette County, had their ballots cancelled and neither was given an opportunity to "cure" their ballots -- to correct mistakes -- so they would be counted. So, they said the entire election results should be tossed.
Calling the Trump case "haphazardly stitched together" "like Frankenstein's Monster", the judge agreed that Henry and Roberts had been injured because they were unable to vote, but they failed to establish that the Secretary of State or the defendant counties of Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia had caused the injuries or that the remedy should be to invalidate the votes of others.
"Prohibiting certification of the election results would not reinstate the Individual Plaintiffs’ right to vote. It would simply deny more than 6.8 million people their right to vote," Judge Brann wrote, later stating:
One such fundamental right, at issue in this case, is the right to vote. Voting is one of the foundational building blocks of our democratic society, and that the Constitution firmly protects this right is “indelibly clear.” All citizens of the United States have a constitutionally protected right to vote. And all citizens have a constitutionally protected right to have their votes counted.
And, referring to the individual plaintiffs, John Henry and Lawrence Roberts, he wrote:
Even assuming that they can establish that their right to vote has been denied, which they cannot, Plaintiffs seek to remedy the denial of their votes by invalidating the votes of millions of others. Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they seek to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race.This is simply not how the Constitution works.
Addressing the Trump Campaign's claim that poll watchers were not given adequate access to the vote counting operation in the Democratic counties named in its lawsuit, the judge said restrictions imposed were equally applied to both Republican and Democrat poll watchers, so there was no basis for the complaint.
While cases brought by Trump and his lawyers in other states are yet to be decided, the wisdom of the founding fathers in establishing three equal branches of the federal government -- Legislative, Executive and Judicial -- is abundantly clear.
In this case, with the leader of the Executive branch involved in an illegal effort to subvert our national election and disenfranchise millions of American voters, and much of the Legislative branch impotently standing by, it must be the Judicial branch -- judges like Matthew W. Brann in Pennsylvania -- that exercises the courage and wisdom to save our democracy.