Skip to main content

‘A Beautiful End’ to the ‘Grift’: Lawyers Celebrate Third Circuit’s ‘Devastating’ Rejection of Trump Pennsylvania Case


A federal court in Pennsylvania categorically denied President Donald Trump the legal victory and relief his campaign legal team was desperately searching for in a scathing opinion issued Friday.

Lawyers were quick to respond with rhetorical bombast of their own–and some verbal high-fives as well.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the 45th president’s efforts to stop the certification of the Keystone State’s 2020 election results. In an opinion penned by Trump-appointed U.S. Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, the three-judge panel upheld a prior ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann which castigated the president’s attempt “to disenfranchise almost seven million voters” under the cover of “strained legal arguments without merit.”

Using equally cutting rhetoric, Judge Bibas excoriated the Trump campaign’s continued efforts to throw out valid ballots and swing the election for the current occupant of the White House.

“Charges of unfairness are serious,” the judge wrote. “But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

The legal community broadly praised the acute, no-nonsense ruling as a testament to the federal judiciary–while also getting in a steady stream of potshots at the president’s unsuccessful legal strategy.

“Today in the Third Circuit, the rule of law won,” tweeted Third Circuit-focused appellate attorney Matthew Stiegler in a series of posts. “Trump loses. Resoundingly.”

“So, we have been deprived of the opportunity to have Rudy argue in the Third Circuit,” wryly observed Fifth Circuit-focused appellate attorney Raffi Melkonian via Twitter. “But on balance, it’s much better this way.”

“I dunno, I was here to see Rudy practice his craft again,” tweeted Arizona-based defense attorney and legal blogger bmaz in response. “But this is a far sounder way.”

Many observers focused on the paucity of sound legal arguments from Trump legal gurus Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis:

Bibas’s relatively brief 21-page opinion was also joined by George W. Bush-appointed Judge Michael Chagares and Third Circuit Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith, compounding the Republican Party’s loss because each judge’s political and ideological bent would typically suggest a win here since U.S. federal judges are, at root (and more often than not), political actors that dance with who brought them.

Multiple legal commentators picked up on the partisan implications:

Melkonian also praised the opinion’s formal clarity:

New York-based attorney Luppe B. Luppen enjoyed some schadenfreude on the subject of attorneys’ fees:

Trump and his team are still hoping above all else to get a case before the U.S. Supreme Court—where the 45th president and his allies have long-salivated about the prospect for the conservative majority to tender an opinion that rhymes with the controversial Bush v. Gore ruling that handed the 2000 election to the younger president Bush. Legal experts, however, insist that such a situation is entirely unlikely.

California-based attorney Ken White was adamant:

A similar bird’s-eye-sentiment was expressed by Civil Rights attorney and administrative law expert Sasha Samberg-Champion:

[Image via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: