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Last ‘Kraken’ Slain: Court Notes ‘Federal Judges Do Not Appoint the President,’ Wonders Why Sidney Powell Asked


The last of the four lawsuits filed by President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Sidney Powell bit the dust late Wednesday in Wisconsin, where a federal judge noted that voters choose who goes to the White House in the United States.

“Federal judges do not appoint the president in this country,” U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper wrote in a 45-page ruling. “One wonders why the plaintiffs came to federal court and asked a federal judge to do so. After a week of sometimes odd and often harried litigation, the court is no closer to answering the ‘why.’ But this federal court has no authority or jurisdiction to grant the relief the remaining plaintiff seeks.”

The decision fell hours after a similar decision by a federal judge in Arizona, who found Powell’s claims of voter fraud entirely unsupported.

“Not only have Plaintiffs failed to provide the Court with factual support for their extraordinary claims, but they have wholly failed to establish that they have standing for the Court to consider them,” U.S. District Judge Diane Joyce Humetewa said. “Allegations that find favor in the public sphere of gossip and innuendo cannot be a substitute for earnest pleadings and procedure in federal court. They most certainly cannot be the basis for upending Arizona’s 2020 General Election.”

On Tuesday, federal judges in Michigan and Georgia reached the same conclusion.

The tensions of the national moment aside, Judge Pepper said that the case was simple.

“The election that preceded this lawsuit was emotional and often divisive,” the judge wrote. “The pleadings that have been filed over the past week are passionate and urgent. People have strong, deep feelings about the right to vote, the freedom and opportunity to vote and the value of their vote. They should. But the legal question at the heart of this case is simple. Federal courts have limited jurisdiction. Does a federal court have the jurisdiction and authority to grant the relief this lawsuit seeks? The answer is no.”

Powell compared her lawsuits to the “Kraken,” a mythical, octopus-like creature unleashed into popular culture in the film “Clash of the Titans.” Every tentacle of the litigation is now shredded, though she and her co-counsel Lin Wood have been pursuing appeals in the 11th Circuit for the Georgia case and Sixth Circuit for Michigan.

None of those appeals are expected to go far, and the rest of Judge Pepper’s opinion shows the deficiencies and carelessness in the lawsuit that makes the sea-monster dead in the water.

Powell wanted to the judge to order the disclosure of 48 hours of surveillance footage at the “TCF Center,” but that convention center is in Detroit, Michigan, the judge made sure to mention in a footnote.

Even botching the name of her client, Powell referred to her lead plaintiff William Feehan, a would-be Trump elector, as “Meehan.” The judge called out that typo, too.

That lack of attention to detail was emblematic of what the judge found to be a broader aimlessness of the entire enterprise.

“Even if this federal court had the authority to order the governor of the state of Wisconsin to certify the results of a national presidential election for any candidate—and the plaintiff has presented no case, statute or constitutional provision providing the court with that authority—doing so would further invalidate and nullify [Feehan]’s vote,” Judge Pepper noted. “The plaintiff wants Donald J. Trump to be certified as the winner of the Wisconsin election as a result of the plaintiff’s vote. But what he asks is for Donald J. Trump to be certified the winner as a result of judicial fiat.”

That, Judge Pepper would not do.

“This court’s authority to grant relief is confined by the limits of the Constitution,” she noted. “Granting the relief the plaintiff requests would take the court far outside those limits, and outside the limits of its oath to uphold and defendant the Constitution.”

(Image via Fox News screengrab)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."