Federal Judge Bulldozes Donald Trump’s Wisconsin Voter Fraud Lawsuit: ‘Plaintiffs Have Still Not Provided Proof’

A federal judge on Monday butchered a Republican lawsuit in Wisconsin claiming that Vice President Mike Pence has the authority to declare President Donald Trump as the winner of the 2020 election, overruling the Electoral College, Congress, and the American people.

Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Judge James Boasberg of the United States District Court of the District of Columbia shredded the Wisconsin Voter Alliance’s arguments in a remarkable seven-page ruling:

Plaintiffs’ aims in this election challenge are bold indeed: they ask this Court to declare unconstitutional several decades-old federal statutes governing the appointment of electors and the counting of electoral votes for President of the United States; to invalidate multiple state statutes regulating the certification of Presidential votes; to ignore certain Supreme Court decisions; and, the coup de grace, to enjoin the U.S. Congress from counting the electoral votes on January 6, 2021, and declaring Joseph R. Biden the next President.

Boasberg, an appointee of President Barack Obama, took a wrecking ball to the Republican Party’s preposterous legal chicanery:

In addition to being filed on behalf of Plaintiffs without standing and (at least as to the state Defendants) in the wrong court and with no effort to even serve their adversaries, the suit rests on a fundamental and obvious misreading of the 2 Constitution. It would be risible were its target not so grave: the undermining of a democratic election for President of the United States. The Court will deny the Motion.

To say that Plaintiffs’ 116-page Complaint, replete with 310 footnotes, is prolix would be a gross understatement. After explicitly disclaiming any theory of fraud, see ECF No. 1 (Complaint), ¶ 44 (‘This lawsuit is not about voter fraud.’), Plaintiffs spend scores of pages cataloguing every conceivable discrepancy or irregularity in the 2020 vote in the five relevant states, already debunked or not, most of which they nonetheless describe as a species of fraud.

Boasberg torched the plaintiffs for failing to provide any evidence to substantiate theirs and Trump’s allegations of voter fraud:

In order to provide an equitable briefing and hearing schedule on a very tight timetable, this Court immediately instructed Plaintiffs to file proofs of service on Defendants so that they could proceed on their preliminary-injunction Motion. Twelve days later, Plaintiffs have still not provided proof of notice to any Defendant, let alone filed a single proof of service or explained their inability to do so.

Given that time is short and the legal errors underpinning this action manifold, the Court treats only the central ones and in the order of who, where, what, and why. Most obviously, Plaintiffs have not demonstrated the ‘irreducible constitutional minimum of standing.’

Although they claim to have been ‘disenfranchised,’ ECF No. 4 (PI Mem.) at 37, this is plainly not true. Their votes have been counted and their electors certified pursuant to state-authorized procedures; indeed, any vote nullification would obtain only were their own suit to succeed. To the extent that they argue 4 more broadly that voters maintain an interest in an election conducted in conformity with the Constitution, id. at 38, they merely assert a ‘generalized grievance’ stemming from an attempt to have the Government act in accordance with their view of the law.

This does not satisfy Article III’s demand for a ‘concrete and particularized’ injury, id. at 704, as other courts have recently noted in rejecting comparable election challenges.

Boasberg issued a fierce objurgation of Republicans’ abuse of the courts:

Plaintiffs cannot simply sue anyone they wish here in the District of Columbia. On the contrary, they must find a court or courts that have personal jurisdiction over each Defendant, and they never explain how a court in this city can subject to its jurisdiction, say, the Majority Leader of the Wisconsin State Senate. Absent personal jurisdiction over a particular Defendant, of course, this Court lacks authority to compel him to do anything. 

Boasberg demonstrated that the plaintiffs have no understanding of how elections work:

Even if the Court had subject-matter and personal jurisdiction, it still could not rule in Plaintiffs’ favor because their central contention is flat-out wrong.

Boasberg specifically referenced the rights of states, under the Constitution, to run their own elections, which Republicans have protested in states that Trump lost:

Plaintiffs’ theory that all of these laws are unconstitutional and that the Court should instead require state legislatures themselves to certify every Presidential election lies somewhere between a willful misreading of the Constitution and fantasy.

The judge also shamed the plaintiffs for acting in bad faith:

Plaintiffs readily acknowledge that their position also means that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), and Texas v. Pennsylvania, No. 155 (Orig.), 2020 WL 7296814 (U.S. Dec. 11, 2020), ‘are in constitutional error.’ Compl., ¶ 76. They do not, however, explain how this District Court has authority to disregard Supreme Court precedent. Nor do they ever mention why they have waited until seven weeks after the election to bring this action and seek a preliminary injunction based on purportedly unconstitutional statutes that have existed for decades — since 1948 in the case of the federal ones. It is not a stretch to find a serious lack of good faith here.

The shade was extraordinary:

Yet even that may be letting Plaintiffs off the hook too lightly. Their failure to make any effort to serve or formally notify any Defendant — even after reminder by the Court in its Minute Order — renders it difficult to believe that the suit is meant seriously. Courts are not instruments through which parties engage in such gamesmanship or symbolic political gestures. As a result, at the conclusion of this litigation, the Court will determine whether to issue an order to show cause why this matter should not be referred to its Committee on Grievances for potential discipline of Plaintiffs’ counsel.

Boasberg concluded that the plaintiffs “have established no likelihood of success on the merits here.” Thus, “the Court will deny their Motion for Preliminary Injunction. A contemporaneous Order so stating will issue this day”

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