In a fresh setback to US President Donald Trump's efforts to reverse the November 3 presidential election result in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, a court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by his team, observing that "voters, not lawyers choose the president." The judgement came four days after Pennsylvania certified Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden as the winner in the state which has 20 electoral college votes.
Trump, a Republican, has refused to accept defeat in the November 3 presidential election, and told reporters on Thursday that it would be "hard" to concede to Biden, a Democrat. The President has said that he would leave the White House if the Electoral College declares Biden as the winner, but made clear he is not prepared to "concede" the election.
He has launched a slew of lawsuits in key states, but has not provided any evidence to back his claims of electoral fraud. Many of the lawsuits have been dismissed by courts. The three-judge panel of the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a previous ruling that dismissed the Trump campaign's request for an injunction in the case in Pennsylvania to challenge the election results and slammed the lawsuit.
"Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious, but calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here," Judge Stephanos Bibas said in his order. "The campaign cannot win this lawsuit," said Bibas, who was appointed by Trump. He authored the order along with two other judges on the bench, Chief Circuit Judge Brooks Smith and Judge Michael Chagares, who were appointed by former Republican president George W Bush.
Trump has refused to concede the November 3 election to Biden and has filed multiple lawsuits challenging the poll results in several states. Former vice president Biden was declared the winner of the US presidential election on November 7 after flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to the Democrats' column.
Biden has 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232 votes. To win the race to the White House, the successful candidate should have at least 270 electoral votes out of the 538-member Electoral College. Biden's tally is far more than the 270 needed to win the race for the White House, and he also leads the popular vote by more than six million. In his Thanksgiving Day remarks, Trump, however, said it will be a mistake if the Electoral College were to elect Biden.
The president-elect leads by more than 80,000 votes in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. Trump's lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said they will now appeal to the Supreme Court. "The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud. We are very thankful to have had the opportunity to present proof and the facts to the PA state legislature. On to SCOTUS!" they said.
According to the local Philadelphia Inquirer, "Bibas pointed out that despite the campaign's speculative claims and fiery rhetoric, it never alleged - let alone offered any evidence to suggest - that any vote had been improperly counted or cast." "Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections... alchemy cannot transmute lead into gold," Bibas wrote in his order.
The New York Times said many courts have used scathing language in tossing out a relentless barrage of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and its supporters, but even so, the Third Circuit's ruling was particularly blunt. The court accused the Trump campaign of engaging in "repetitive litigation" and pointed out that the public interest strongly favoured "counting every lawful voter's vote, and not disenfranchising millions of Pennsylvania voters who voted by mail," the daily said.
Earlier in the day, Trump reiterated that he won the election and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. "Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous "80,000,000 votes" were not fraudulently or illegally obtained. When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia & Milwaukee, massive voter fraud, he's got a big unsolvable problem!" Trump tweeted.
"Big Tech and the Fake News Media have partnered to Suppress. Freedom of the Press is gone, a thing of the past. That's why they refuse to report the real facts and figures of the 2020 Election or even, where's Hunter!" he said in another tweet. The Electoral College is scheduled to meet on December 14 and is expected to formally declare the 78-year-old Biden as the 46th US President.
Under the US electoral system, voters do not directly choose the president. Instead, they vote for 538 officials, who are allocated to American states based on their population size. Earlier this week, Trump allowed the official start of Biden's transition to power without conceding defeat. Biden is due to be sworn in as president on January 20.
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