Can Trump Win an Election Battle in the Supreme Court?
As former US vice president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday, President Donald Trump’s campaign filed lawsuits on Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia earlier this week, laying the groundwork for contesting swing states as Trump has so far failed to gain the 270 Electoral College votes that he needs to stay in the White House.
Trump has also threatened to sue the Democrats over the 2020 result in the highest court in America, the Supreme Court. This comes as no surprise as the US President hates losing and he is convinced that electoral fraud was commonplace during the election.
Republicans Claim Widespread Electoral Fraud
However, before the Supreme Court has its final say over this year’s electoral outcome, like it did 20 years ago in the Bush vs Gore case that awarded Florida’s Electoral College votes to President George W. Bush over questionable voting practices in the state, a lot of action will happen initially in the state courts.
The election has prompted a wave of new cases in Pennsylvania, including two that were heard on Wednesday.
Because the 2020 poll was conducted in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Republicans argue that the sheer number of postal ballots makes the election result vulnerable to fraud. Also, many conservatives argue that the measures to ensure that voting was conducted safely were decided by state officials as opposed to state legislatures, leaving the path open for a constitutional challenge.
The US President already enjoys a lot of advantages in the Supreme Court. Prior to the election, Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett as a new Supreme Court justice following the death of former judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There was considerable debate as to whether Trump could actually appoint the conservative judge before the election, but there is no doubt that such an appointment would provide the Republicans with an advantage, should the election outcome be contested in America’s highest court.
Burden of Proof is on GOP to Prove Election Wrongdoing
Republicans in Pennsylvania have already appealed against the state’s Supreme Court for ordering state election officials to accept mail-in ballots that arrived up to three days after the election, depending on an interpretation of the state’s own constitution. This is one reason why Biden’s home state has appeared on the Supreme Court’s radar.
Despite this, the situation in Pennsylvania alone should not be enough to land Trump in the Supreme Court. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party told the justices on Thursday that it is not ‘remotely clear’ that the late ballots will be enough to prove decisive in the presidential race. Only then would America’s highest court consider this to be a crucial issue. But it was reported on Friday that Biden overtook Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania, so watch this space.
Edward Foley, an election law director at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, told USA Today that litigation over voting often is used to spread misinformation about an election’s legitimacy.
The only “trump” card the Republicans realistically have left is to prove that substantial voter fraud took place across the country.
Insufficient Evidence Voter Fraud Took Place
Many in Trump’s team have questioned why 130,000 votes were suddenly added for Biden in the battleground state of Michigan, but this was later revealed to have been caused by a data error.
There were also claims that more people voted than were registered in the state of Wisconsin, but the actual figure (3,684,726) was higher than the number claimed by social media users (3,239,920).
The Arizona Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, confirmed that Sharpies were not used to discount votes in the pro-Republican parts of Arizona.
So unless Trump’s team can prove that incidents like Republican ballots being tossed away by Democratic leaders happened, which was supposedly captured by a YouTube video watched by 193,000 subscribers, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court would listen to the US President’s legal arguments, let alone debate them.
Both Richard Nixon and Al Gore graciously accepted defeat during the highly contested 1960 and 2000 elections respectively; maybe it is time for Trump to do the same.