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‘Tears and Legal Bills’: Legal Experts Point and Laugh as Trump’s Legal Team Sweats It Out at Third Circuit


President Donald Trump’s last-ditch efforts at undoing the vote in Pennsylvania suffered a series of significant setbacks on Tuesday. One of those obstacles was the Keystone State’s certification of the 2020 election results, which finally and official determined Joe Biden the winner of the commonwealth’s electoral votes.

The fact of that certification, of course, makes the campaign’s ongoing litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ever more tenuous and unlikely to succeed. To that end, Democrats and Pennsylvania officials each filed their own scathing briefs that invoked pop cultural references like Monty Python’s famous Inquisition sketch and Frankenstein’s monster’s monster, respectively.

Those briefs were viewed as “super-strong.”

But to hear legal experts tell it some more, the Trump campaign’s case here was essentially over before it ever even started.

National security attorney Bradley P. Moss was brief in his estimation: “It’s all over except for the tears and legal bills.”

“For those who are curious, we should learn relatively soon whether the Third Circuit want to have oral argument on the Trump case or not,” noted appellate attorney Raffi Melkonian via Twitter. “On the merits, this case doesn’t warrant argument. Most cases aren’t argued. But maybe if the Court wants to give Trump his day in court.”

“On the other other hand, any argument would be a circus, and I don’t think anyone needs that,” Melkonian added. “On balance, if I were a judge I’d not have an argument but would instead write a clear and calm opinion rejecting the claims.”

It didn’t get much better from here.

Third Circuit appellate attorney Matthew Stiegler, who is co-authoring a forthcoming amicus brief in the case, also doesn’t expect much in the way of oral arguments:

Eugene Mazo, the Visiting Associate Professor at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, told Law&Crime in no uncertain terms that Trump’s efforts were doomed to failure in Pennsylvania and every other state where the 45th president and his allies have waged dozens of serially unsuccessful legal battles.

“[M]y professional opinion is that Trump has no chance to win this election,” Mazo said in an email. “All of the states will try to certify their votes by Dec. 8, which is the ‘safe harbor’ deadline under the Electoral Count Act of 1887 — the federal law that dictates how and by when electoral votes must be counted. If they don’t do that, they will cast their ballots on Dec. 14. So Trump is simply out of time.”

Federal criminal defense attorney Tor Ekeland also tersely dismissed the litany of the Trump campaign’s failed legal fights.

“The courts shouldn’t be used as a theater to assuage the bruised egos of the immature,” he said in an email.

Regardless of those fast-approaching temporal constraints and the general feasibility of their task, Trump’s legal team has promoted the Third Circuit lawsuit to their still-faithful followers as the 45th president’s best chance to get his claims before the U.S. Supreme Court–a conservative-dominated institution which Trump has repeatedly said he hopes will make the final call over the fate of the 2020 contest between himself and Biden.

Legal journalist and lawyer Brad Heath earlier rubbished those hopes:

Lawyers also took aim at Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis for her lack of attention to detail on the matter:

[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

Editor’s note: this article has been amended post-publication to include an additional quote.

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