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‘It’s Over’: Election Law Experts Declare Trump’s Legal Challenges ‘100 Percent Dead’ in the Water


WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: U.S. President Donald Trump looks on at a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Duda, who faces a tight re-election contest in four days, is Trump's first world-leader visit from overseas since the coronavirus pandemic began. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Figaro will soon be exiting the stage as the last cantata plays and the curtains close on the Trump campaign’s comic legal opera aimed at overturning the 2020 presidential election results.

“It’s over,” election law expert and University of California, Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen wrote in his Election Law Blog on Monday.

“Trump may still say he has won the election,” he noted. “But there is no path. Even the two key federal cases in Pennsylvania do not involve nearly enough votes to overturn the results there even if they were successful (and I don’t expect them to be).”

Hasen explained that the recent slew of losses and withdrawals for the Trump campaign’s always long-shot legal efforts are little more than a prelude to the fast-impending reality of what those lost and withdrawn cases mean in the aggregate.

“There is no path,” he continued, “Rudy Giuliani can say what he wants and the [resident can keep declaring that he’s won, but there’s no plausible legal way this election gets overturned. We are not talking three Hail Marys anymore. We are talking done.”

Hasen was far from alone regarding the 45th president’s fate.

University of Southern California Gould School of Law Professor Franita Tolson said she agreed with the estimation entirely.

“Anyone who has been paying attention for at least a week, in which the lawsuits became more plentiful but the evidence less so, would say that the writing has been on the wall,” she told Law&Crime in an email. “It is not surprising that the lawsuits are being withdrawn and the litigation coming to an end before judges lose their patience.”

Early on Monday, pro-Trump attorneys withdrew one such lawsuit in Wisconsin. Other withdrawals or dismissals, which should be read as evidence that the evidence simply is not there, occurred in ArizonaGeorgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania as well.

Michael Morley, Assistant Professor at Florida State University College of Law, offered a holistic and similarly pessimistic overview.

“Many of the Trump campaign’s lawsuits have been rejected in court,” he said in an email. “Several others have been either dismissed or greatly narrowed by the campaign’s lawyers, so it’s not even contesting enough ballots to impact the election’s outcome. Both Biden’s lead in the Electoral College, as well as his margin of victory in the swing states, are substantial enough that the outcome of the election will not be changing.”

The idea that the entire production company–for the campaign’s largely kayfabe defiant posture–is closing up shop soon has now become something of a consensus position for election law experts as the motions and hearings have unfolded the past few days.

“I think Hasen is 100% right,” University of Kentucky College of Law professor Joshua A. Douglas said. “In fact, I think we could have said that a week ago. The margins are just too large and they have not uncovered anything that could put the outcomes in doubt.”

Eugene Mazo, the Visiting Associate Professor at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, also told Law&Crime that he agreed entirely with Hasen’s understanding of the legal situation.

“There is no viable path for Trump to win,” he said. “The vote differential is too great for a recount to have any chance of succeeding in any of these states, and there’s no legal theory being advanced by the Trump campaign that has any chance of attracting a court’s attention. The only question here is who will pack Trump’s bags for him and place them at the side of the curb on January 20.”

CNN legal analyst Elie Honig was on the same page.

“It’s over and it has been for some time,” he told Law&Crime. “They’re getting absolutely nowhere in the courts, and they’ve got nothing to go on, legally or factually. Even if they did miraculously win a case or two, they have no chance to flip any state’s outcome. And even if they somehow pulled that off, they’d need to flip not one, not two, but three contested states. It’s over.”

Tulane Law Professor Ross Garber, an election litigation expert who is typically a voice of caution on such matters, also agreed with the categorical take on how President Donald Trump’s legal options are not long for this earth.

“I don’t think the president or his lawyers or surrogates have identified any conceivable path for him to retain the presidency,” he told Law&Crime in an email. “The big question now is how far he and his supporters will go to advance an agenda to help Trump personally and to undermine the legitimacy of a Biden Presidency and ultimately the underpinnings of our democracy itself.”

[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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