President Donald Trump prepares to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to Olympic gold medalist and former University of Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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“Releasing the kraken” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
President Trump and his allies have now lost 51 automate your posting-election legal battles, according to a tally kept by Marc Elias, Democrats’ top election attorney. And they’ve only come out victorious in one minor case.
It’s a stunning rebuke that shows how meritless their attacks on the election have been—and how little chance Trump has of overturning president-elect Joe Biden’s election victories in any of the states he won.
On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court flatly rejected a plea from Trump’s allies to have them toss out Pennsylvania’s election results. The order, issued by Justice Samuel Alito, had no dissents—indicating that all six conservative justices, including the three that Trump himself appointed, didn’t see much merit in the case.
“The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” read the terse one-line rejection.
But Trump wasn’t done not winning. On Wednesday night, Nevada’s Supreme Court unanimously tossed out an attempt from Trump’s campaign to reject Joe Biden’s comfortable win in that state. That affirmed a district judge’s ruling that “there is no credible or reliable evidence that the 2020 general election in Nevada was affected by fraud.”
Arizona’s Supreme Court unanimously rejected an effort by Arizona’s Republican Party chairwoman to undo the state’s certification of its election results on Tuesday, and a Georgia judge rejected a lawsuit attempting to make the state’s GOP governor and secretary of state decertify the election results as well.
Most states have already certified their election results, and Tuesday was “safe harbor day”—the legal deadline where if states have their elections resolved Congress must honor their electors. Next week, the Electoral College will officially vote, making Biden’s election victory that much more official. Wisconsin is the only state that didn’t make the cut because of an ongoing lawsuit, but it’s expected to have its electors set by the time the Electoral College votes.
A handful of House Republicans have threatened that they’ll object to confirming the Electoral College vote when Congress meets to confirm the election results in early January, but most legal experts believe that because enough states met the safe harbor deadline they won’t have a legal argument to do so.
That doesn’t mean that Trump is ready to call it quits—or that his baseless attacks on democracy aren’t doing any damage.
Trump pledged Wednesday morning that the major Pennsylvania case wasn’t actually his, even though it was brought by Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly, a close Trump ally and top surrogate in the state. The real action, he claimed, was in a new lawsuit brought by Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to overturn the election results in a number of other states.
As election law expert Rick Hasen put it, the case is “a press release masquerading as a lawsuit.”
Trump’s legal attacks are failing. But while the facts matter in court, they don’t matter so much in the court of public opinion — at least among Trump’s supporters. A new poll the liberal website Daily Kos released Wednesday found that just 13% of Republicans believed the election was “conducted fairly,” and only 18% accepted the election results.