- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 13, 2020

Maybe President Trump finally got tired of all the winning, because his legal team has been on a historic run of losing, going just 1-for-60 in court challenges to the way last month’s elections were run.

Friday’s loss in the Supreme Court, which saw the justices rebuff his demand to rewrite the results in four states, was one of the latest. A day afterward, a federal judge in Wisconsin shot down an effort to challenge that state’s slate of electors.

And it’s not just the losses, it’s the substance of the rulings that stings for Mr. Trump, who has insisted mass fraud tainted the votes cast, and the vote-counting that followed.

Phrases like “did not prove,” and “record does not support,” and “implausible conclusions,” and “lack of evidence” populate the opinions and orders. Judges say Mr. Trump and his team are wrong on the facts and the law.

“This court has allowed plaintiff the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits,” wrote Judge Brett Ludwig, the federal jurist who on Saturday dismantled the Trump team’s lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s slate of electors.

Judge Ludwig was appointed to the bench by Mr. Trump himself. So was Judge Steven Grimberg in Georgia, and Judge Stephanos Bibas on the federal appeals court in Philadelphia, each of whom authored opinions rejecting Trump challenges. They’ve joined judges appointed by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and by Republican and Democratic governors in rebuffing Mr. Trump.

The universal rejection is striking, albeit expected, election experts said.

“They can file these cases all they want, but they aren’t going anywhere,” tweeted Marc E. Elias, an election lawyer who’s handled Democratic campaigns for years.

Mr. Elias is the founder of Democracy Docket, a website that is tracking the tsunami of post-election legal battles, and he calculated that Mr. Trump and his team have won just one of 60 cases.

Mr. Elias says that solo victory came in Pennsylvania, where a judge sided with the Trump campaign and rejected the Democratic secretary of state’s guidance that would have expanded the deadline for voters to “cure” misfiled mail-in ballots by three days.

As of Sunday afternoon, Mr. Elias said, there are no “unruled upon lawsuits” from the Trump team. The only cases still pending are appeals of lower-court losses.

“This is important, because as we go into tomorrow’s meeting of the Electoral College, Republicans have no excuses left about waiting for the judicial process,” he wrote. “Every single case has been ruled on and Joe Biden won the election.”

The Trump legal team is not ready to concede, vowing to pursue its ongoing appeals and even file new challenges.

Mr. Trump, on Fox News this weekend, said his case has been made, and he couldn’t understand why the courts weren’t seeing it.

“We’ve proven it, but no judge has had the courage, including the Supreme Court, I am so disappointed in them,” he said. “No judge, including in the Supreme Court of the United States, has had the courage to allow it to be heard.”

But former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump supporter, said Sunday that the Trump legal team’s approach has been “an absurdity,” and he resoundingly rejected Mr. Trump’s complaints about courage.

“The reason the Supreme Court is not taking this is not because of a lack of courage. It’s for the same reason that every court has thrown this out — it’s a lack of evidence and a lack of any type of legal theory that makes sense,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” program.

The Supreme Court case, filed by Texas and joined by Mr. Trump, argued that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin should have their pro-Biden results tossed out because they expanded mail-in balloting ahead of the election without approval of their state legislatures. Texas said that violates the Constitution’s demand that legislatures set the rules for selecting presidential electors.

In a brief unsigned order late Friday, the justices rejected that, saying Texas hadn’t “demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections,” so the case didn’t rise to the level of original jurisdiction at the high court.

Two members, Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas, said the court should have allowed the case to be filed — but didn’t agree with Texas that the four states’ results should be tossed.

The apparent unanimous rejection of Mr. Trump’s demands at the high court included the three members he appointed: Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Georgia’s Supreme Court dealt Mr. Trump another blow this weekend, shooting down a demand that the justices take a case immediately because a lower court wasn’t moving fast enough.

Indeed, many of the Trump losses were on procedural questions.

That left Trump supporters complaining that judges were hiding behind technicalities in order to avoid dealing with the substance of the president’s case that the election was stolen.

Trump supporters continue to tell pollsters they believe he did prevail in the election but mischief and malfeasance are denying him his due.

Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said the profligate litigation of this election can be traced back to the 2000 Bush v. Gore battle, which he said set the stage for every presidential campaign to have an army of lawyers ready to go once the voting is done.

“This is not normal for an election system, and it is putting our democracy under great stress,” he wrote at ElectionLawBlog. “The problems won’t go away until we fundamentally rework how we conduct American elections.”

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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