“Trump’s Legal Blitz Isn’t Contesting Enough Votes to Win”

Bloomberg Law:

President Donald Trump’s hopes of reversing the outcome of the 2020 election in the courts are running into the reality that the numbers just aren’t there in terms of votes he can dispute — at least not yet.

In their most advanced legal challenge, the Trump campaign and the Republican Party are trying to have the U.S. Supreme Court toss Pennsylvania ballots that arrived after Nov. 3. But, with all but four of 67 counties reporting, state officials have only logged 7,800 such ballots, said Jacklin Rhoads, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania stood at more than 45,000 votes Monday afternoon, not including the late-arriving ballots at issue.

“If those ballots couldn’t change the election to make any difference to how Pennsylvania will be decided, then he doesn’t have a claim he can bring,” said Deborah Hellman, a University of Virginia law professor.

Trump has suggested that he’s counting on the Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority, including three justices he appointed, to rule for him in election disputes in any battleground states. But precisely what kind of disputes could result in the purge of enough votes to tilt the outcome in the president’s favor remains unclear. And even if he managed to somehow reverse the outcome in Pennsylvania, Trump would need to do the same in more states to actually notch enough electoral votes to win…

Guiliani said the campaign was looking at similarly challenging large numbers of ballots in Michigan and Wisconsin. The campaign has brought claims in Nevada and Arizona over smaller numbers of votes.

But legal experts said the idea that a court would take the drastic step of invalidating votes over such hypothetical claims was wishful thinking by Republicans.

“A court would not set aside the results of an election, or particular votes, based on violations of laws concerning observation of the counting process,” said Michael Morley, an assistant law professor at Florida State University who’s worked on election emergencies and post-election litigation. “Courts will not disturb election results based on unproven generalized claims about the theoretical possibility of fraud.”…

Even if Trump were to somehow wrest away Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes through the courts, Biden would still have enough other states to clinch victory, according to the Associated Press. And Biden is also still leading in Georgia, which could gain him another 16 electoral votes.

“The prospects that a legal challenge in court could reverse the outcome in a way that would produce a Trump victory get harder and harder if it’s not just one state that he has to flip,” said Steven Huefner, deputy director of an election-law program at Ohio State University. “A challenge in a single state is a long shot. Then he’s got three long shots, or something, that he has to make all in succession.”

And most of those challenges are far weaker than the one that could soon go before the U.S. Supreme Court. While that case will turn on a relatively sober determination of whether legislators or courts can determine election deadlines, most of the Trump campaign’s other lawsuits depend on wild insinuations of fraud, backed up by little or no evidence.

Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School questioned whether such evidence would emerge.

“This assumes that the problem is evidentiary,” Levitt said. “If the problem is that there really hasn’t been widespread voter fraud, there’s no evidence to present.”

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