A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Saturday tossed out President Trump’s last major legal challenge to the election, blocking his most likely path to stay in the White House.
But his campaign is vowing to appeal, ready to take the election battle all the way to the Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers had argued that state officials caused a constitutional crisis by treating Republican and Democratic voters differently and had asked the Pennsylvania court to halt any certification of the results.
The Trump campaign had filed the lawsuit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, arguing Republican counties were not allowed to cure mail-in ballots while voters in Democratic counties were able to fix errors with their absentee ballots prior to Election Day.
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed the actions were a violation of equal protection.
Mr. Giuliani also told the federal court during oral arguments Tuesday that Democratic cities in the keystone state kept Republican poll observers from reviewing mail-in ballots.
But on Saturday night, Judge Matthew Brann, an Obama appointee, dismissed the case in a blistering opinion, chastising the Trump legal team for what he said was an attempt to disenfranchise seven million voters.
“This court was unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the constest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated,” Judge Brann wrote.
He said the president’s lawyers presented “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” that he said were “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,” the judge wrote.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers made similar arguments in a Michigan lawsuit, accusing the city of Detroit of election irregularities, but the campaign withdrew that lawsuit on Thursday.
In Pennsylvania, presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden is leading Mr. Trump by 1.2%. The state’s deadline for certifying results is Nov. 23.
In Michigan, Mr. Biden is ahead by 2.8%. Michigan’s results have to be certified by Dec. 13.
Nearly three weeks after the election, Mr. Trump appears far from his goal of reversing the projected outcome. He trails in a handful of battleground states.
The most likely path to victory for Mr. Trump would have been through Pennsylvania. If by chance, Mr. Trump was to prevail there, he would still need to take the lead in at least two other states to reach the 270 electoral votes required to win the White House.
The campaign has requested a recount in two counties in Wisconsin that is currently underway. Their recount attempt in Georgia did not change the results and state officials announced Friday Mr. Biden had won the peach state.
Mr. Trump’s campaign said they would be immediately appealing to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“There is so much evidence that in Pennsylvania, Democrats eliminated our opportunity to present 50 witnesses and other evidence that election officials blatantly ignored Pennsylvania’s law denying independent review. This resulted in 682,777 ballots being cast illegally, wittingly or unwittingly,” Mr. Giuliani said in a statement with Jenna Ellis, senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign.
“We hope that the Third Circuit will be as gracious as Judge Brann in deciding our appeal one way or the other as expeditiously as possible. This is another case that appears to be moving quickly to the United States Supreme Court,” they added.
On Thursday, Mr. Giuliani had suggested the campaign would be filing another lawsuit in Georgia.
Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general, took to Twitter to comment on Saturday’s ruling, saying “Another one bites the dust.”
Counties must certify their results Monday for Kathy Boockvar, the Pennsylvania secretary of state. She will then make her own certification and Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, will alert the winning candidate’s electors, so they can appear in the Capitol on Dec. 14 to vote.
Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday, alleging his campaign has found fraud in four states, though he did not comment at the time on the Pennsylvania ruling.
“Why is Joe Biden so quickly forming a Cabinet when my investigators have found hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes, enough to ‘flip’ at least four States, which in turn is more than enough to win the Election? Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself. THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!!” the president tweeted.
-The Associated Press contributed in part to this report.