Trump says he’s going to court, but he has absolutely no basis to sue

By | November 4, 2020

Joshua A. Geltzer writes:

Even as President Trump falsely claimed electoral victory early Wednesday morning, he implicitly acknowledged that the election results are not, in fact, decided yet by pledging to go to court to obtain the result he wants — reelection. But going to court requires making actual legal arguments. And, for all of the complex election-related legal questions that might still arise as the votes are counted, none of the claims Trump made on Wednesday morning qualifies as a legal argument, let alone a winning one.

Most outrageous was Trump’s claim that he’d sue because “we want all voting to stop.” If he really meant “voting” as opposed to “counting,” that’s simply based on a falsehood. All voting has stopped. That’s the whole reason the country is beginning to see election results, because the end of Election Day marked the end of voting, and election administrators around the country began reporting results. For Trump to suggest otherwise is dangerous — it gives his supporters reason to believe Trump’s long-standing, escalating claims that any election loss represents something being “stolen” from him. But it’s nothing his lawyers can take to court. It’s not even close to something they can sue over.

At least Trump’s desire to go to court to stop vote-counting from continuing in states where he appeared to be leading as of the moment he delivered his remarks was grounded in reality. As a factual matter, vote-counting does continue, so it could, theoretically, be stopped. But as a legal matter, there is, again, nothing for Trump to take to court. Vote-counting should continue — must continue — when there are legitimate ballots still to be counted, as there are in a number of states, including potentially decisive ones like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The notion that there just needs to be an end to that counting process because it’s after Nov. 3, because Trump was “just all set to get outside and just celebrate something that was so beautiful, so good,” as he put it, because he simply doesn’t like it — or for whatever other reason — isn’t even in the ballpark of claims with which Trump’s lawyers could prevail in court. [Continue reading…]

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