Just imagine how widespread a fraud you would have to have in order to be able to change an election where one candidate has won by 20,000, 30,000, 35,000 votes. No court is going to look at a challenge based upon fraud unless there is credible evidence, not only of the fraud but also that it would affect enough ballots to overturn the election. And that’s a lot of ballots.
Merits of multi-state legal challenges against results of the United States elections by President Donald Trump have been run down by Barry Richard, a veteran lawyer who represented then-Republican candidate George W. Bush in the 2000 election Supreme Court battle.
Former vice president Joe Biden has been declared president-elect by pretty much everyone, including the conservative media. But President Trump and his Republican allies are attempting to delegitimize the election by presenting a range of legal claims – including fraud and widespread electoral irregularities – which they have so far failed to produce evidence to substantiate.
His campaign on Tuesday said it would file a federal lawsuit in Michigan with the aim of stopping the state’s top election official from certifying Biden’s win, similar to one filed in Pennsylvania a day earlier. Biden leads Trump by more than 148,000 and 46,000 votes in both states, respectively.
“Just imagine how widespread a fraud you would have to have in order to be able to change an election where one candidate has won by 20,000, 30,000, 35,000 votes,” Richard told the BBC Business Daily podcast Monday. “No court is going to look at a challenge based upon fraud unless there is credible evidence, not only of the fraud but also that it would affect enough ballots to overturn the election. And that’s a lot of ballots.”
Trump will need to overturn results in at least three separate states to deliver an electoral college in his favor but the veteran Florida lawyer sees little legal hope this time around for a party he helped win a presidential vote two decades ago and expects the claims to be shut down by courts at the state level.
Typically, American states are in charge of elections, including the presidential vote, and have individual electoral laws. So, election cases need to have merit at the state level before they can be heard at federal or Supreme courts unless there’s a separate federal issue.
The Supreme Court may look at election cases, Richard noted but pointed out that the court has so far refused to allow federal courts overturn state interpretations. To him, the foremost judicial body or the lower federal ones “do not want to get involved” in this election nor want to “decide who the president is going to be” and will not take the case unless they “have no choice.”
There has been speculation that if it does get to the Supreme Court, the predominance of conservative judges at the court would help Trump in this case but such claims were denounced by Richard, who described them as “very cynical” and falsely “assuming that the members of the Supreme Court are corrupt and would just vote in favor of whoever appointed them.”
Trump is reportedly trying to bolster his legal team with new additions. Asked if he would join the cause if approached, Richard said: “No, I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think any professional lawyer who knows election law would tell him that he has any chance here. And I don’t think that he can increase his chances of winning by just adding lawyers to his team.”
International observers – such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Organization of American States – have said the election was fair and free of major irregularities. They have criticized Trump for “baseless attacks on the integrity of the vote and repeated attempts to cast aspersions on the election process,” as reported by Bloomberg.
While his team fends off the slew of legal challenges, Biden has wasted no time announcing plans for his presidency, most of which is to undo policies implemented by the Trump administration. He’s made tackling the coronavirus pandemic his top priority following the win and has already set up a task force on the pandemic.
The Democrat has also revealed his intention to rejoin the Paris Climate agreement which the U.S. left, end the travel ban on citizens from a number of mostly Muslim countries as well as reinstate the Obama era policy that grants immigration status to undocumented migrant children.