U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at La Crosse Regional Airport in La Crosse, Wisconsin, October 27, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
A federal judge in Wisconsin on Saturday bluntly dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump challenging Joe Biden‘s win in that state, further cementing Biden’s victory in the national presidential election.
Trump’s latest court loss — one of almost 60 in the past month by his campaign and allies in state and federal courts — came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a likely fatal blow to his bid for a second term.
The Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit by Texas that sought to revoke Biden’s national victory by attacking results in four key states.
The high court’s denial came after it likewise refused to hear a challenge to Biden’s win in Pennsylvania filed by a congressman there.
In the Wisconsin case, Trump was suing the state elections commission.
The judge in the case, Brett Ludwig, who was appointed by Trump to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, on Thursday held a hearing where the president’s lawyers made their arguments to set aside the result of the state’s popular election, which Biden won by more than 20,000 votes.
“This is an extraordinary case,” wrote Ludwig in his decision Saturday.
“A sitting president who did not prevail in his bid for reelection has asked for federal court help in setting aside the popular vote based on disputed issues of election administration, issues he plainly could have raised before the vote occurred.”
“This Court has allowed plaintiff the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits,” the judge wrote.
“In his reply brief, plaintiff ‘asks that the Rule of Law be followed’ …. It has been,” the judge continued.
Ludwig dismissed the lawsuit “with prejudice,” underscoring his belief that Trump had no valid claim.
Trump’s lawyers had argued that guidance issued by the Wisconsin Elections Commission related to absentee ballots, “along with election officials’ conduct in reliance on that guidance,” deviated so much from state election law “that the election was itself a ‘failure,’ ” Ludwig wrote.
But Ludwig wrote that Trump “has not proved that defendants violated his rights under the Electors Clause.”
“To the contrary, the record shows Wisconsin’s Presidential Electors are being determined in the very manner directed by the Legislature, as required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution,” the judge said.
Trump has claimed for weeks that he was swindled out of a win in the national election, and by extension in the Electoral College, by illegal changes to voting procedures in a number of states, and by widespread fraud in states that sealed Biden’s victory.
No court has accepted those claims, and Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly failed to produce evidence in court that would substantiate their allegations of massive fraud.
The Electoral College is set to meet Monday, and to give Biden 306 electoral votes, 36 more than he needs to win the White House.
Trump’s only possible course to overturning Biden’s victory now appears to somehow have Congress refuse to certify the election’s result.
Ludwig noted that the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a dissent in the 2000 case that ended the counting of ballots in Florida for the election contest between President George W. Bush and Al Gore, wrote that Congress on “the sixth day of January” rules on “the validity of electoral votes.”
Trump’s campaign earlier this week cited Ginsburg’s comment when it brushed aside the significance of last Monday’s “safe harbor” deadline, by which states had to certify their election results.
“The only fixed day in the U.S. Constitution is the inauguration of the President on January 20 at noon,” the campaign said in a statement on Monday.
“Despite the media trying desperately to proclaim that the fight is over, we will continue to champion election integrity until every legal vote is counted fairly and accurately.”