IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC., et al., Plaintiffs, v. KATHY BOOCKVAR, et al., Defendants. No. 4:20-CV-02078 (Judge Brann) MEMORANDUM OPINION NOVEMBER 21, 2020
In this action, the Trump Campaign and the Individual Plaintiffs (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) seek to discard millions of votes legally cast by Pennsylvanians from all corners – from Greene County to Pike County, and everywhere in between. In other words, Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated. One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens.
That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more. At bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Therefore, I grant Defendants’ motions and dismiss Plaintiffs’ action with prejudice.
Plaintiffs’ only remaining claim alleges a violation of equal protection. This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together from two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent. The general thrust of this claim is that it is unconstitutional for Pennsylvania to give states discretion to adopt a notice-and-cure policy. Invoking Bush v. Gore, Plaintiffs assert that such local control is unconstitutional because it creates an arbitrary system where some persons are allowed to cure procedurally defective mail-in ballots while others are not.
Moreover, even if they could state a valid claim, the Court could not grant Plaintiffs the relief they seek. Crucially, Plaintiffs fail to understand the relationship between right and remedy. Though every injury must have its proper redress, a court may not prescribe a remedy unhinged from the underlying right being asserted. By seeking injunctive relief preventing certification of the Pennsylvania election results, Plaintiffs ask this Court to do exactly that. Even assuming that they can establish that their right to vote has been denied, which they cannot, Plaintiffs seek to remedy the denial of their votes by invalidating the votes of millions of others. Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they seek to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race. This is simply not how the Constitution works.
The “Obama appointee” who ruled against Trump, Judge Brann, was hand picked by Senator Toomey, is a former Republican Party official and a member of the Federalist Society. https://t.co/ZftXLhJkwl— Rick Hasen, Mr. Practicing Attorney (@rickhasen) November 22, 2020
It’s the all-purpose, burn-it-all-down, give-Joe-Biden-control-of-the-Senate conspiracy theory https://t.co/7CfBiU6Cwd— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) November 22, 2020