If there’s anything to pay attention to following President-Elect Joe Biden’s projected win, it’s the petulant behavior currently going on in our courts. Attorney Daniel Goldman said it best in a tweet on Wednesday:
“No one has the ‘“right”’ to behave like a petulant child and be a sore loser. And no one has the “right” to file frivolous lawsuits. Lawyers are sanctioned for wasting the courts’ time when they do so. There is no evidence of voter fraud, and there never has been. Time to move on.”
No one has the “right” to behave like a petulant child and be a sore loser. And no one has the “right” to file frivolous lawsuits. Lawyers are sanctioned for wasting the courts’ time when they do so. There is no evidence of voter fraud, and there never has been. Time to move on.
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) November 11, 2020
Additionally, it’s a waste of campaign dollars. But more importantly, the behavior conducted by the Trump campaign’s legal team is not only embarrassing and petulant, but a complete disservice to the legal profession and arguably a violation of the most sacred ethical rules.
Or perhaps, some attorneys, like Jenna Ellis, senior legal advisor to Trump’s campaign, are pursuing what they legitimately (yet delusionally) believe to be a constitutional mission to make a mockery out of the entire electoral process.
As of right now, Biden is ahead by 46,000 votes in Pennsylvania, according to The Washington Post.
But Trump campaign dollars are being spent with counsel in court litigating against the Montgomery County Board of Elections to discuss “approximately 600 ballots.” In reality, the actual number of ballots, according to Judge Richard P. Haaz is 592. Oh, and President-Elect Biden is ahead by 130,000 votes in Montgomery County.
“It ain’t over, till it’s over,” says Ellis, referencing the late baseball great Yogi Berra and the National League pennant race from 1973. In what can only be described as the worst hangover of modern times, the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election has left the U.S. more than divided–it’s created a serious degradation of our legal system via the U.S. Constitution and the electoral process in which it set up 144 years ago.
Yet, the entire legal team for the Trump campaign seems to be absolutely bonkers. For one, Ellis, who in her capacity as senior legal advisor to the campaign, continues to argue under the belief that there is electoral fraud, while fellow Trump campaign attorney, Jonathan S. Goldstein says otherwise.
On Tuesday, Judge Haaz of the Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County asked Goldstein for a specific answer to the question of whether or not he is “claiming that there is any fraud in connection with these 592 disputed ballots?”
And Goldstein’s response?
“To my knowledge at the present, no.”
Judge Haaz immediately responded with, “are you claiming that there is any undue or improper influence upon the elector with respect to these 592 ballots?”
And Goldstein’s response?
“To my knowledge at present, no.”
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) November 11, 2020
So, what the hell are these lawsuits based on? And why is the legal team an absolute mess?
A child having its toy taken away from them? Yes.
Attorneys hoping to cash a big check and forgetting their own legal, ethical obligations? Definitely.
To add to an already tissy fit, on Wednesday, Ellis, chose to forgo tactics and instead, become an agent of chaos, creating the #PresidentElectChallenge on Twitter, whereby a user changes their display name to read ‘President-Elect,’ followed by their name.
And that’s exactly what Ellis did, with her new display name reading “President-Elect Jenna Ellis,” poking fun of the media’s (and arguably the entire country’s) reference to President-Elect Joe Biden.
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) November 11, 2020
To accompany her display name change, the attorney tweeted:
“If Joe Biden can pretend to be president-elect in media, so can I! I have just as many states that have certified my incoming administration as he does. I’m ready for my primetime interview, @jaketapper.”
A strange and concerning move by an attorney who is supposed to “represent” and speak out on behalf of the Trump campaign. To those 1Ls just starting off your legal education, here is what NOT to do if you are ever in a position of power and influence. Don’t join a legal circus. It’s the easiest way to diminish the value of your own law license.
Like a moth to a flame, of course, Ellis’ tweet and statement went viral, inspiring others who feel the same as Ellis and the Trump campaign, by using the hashtag #PresidentElectChallenge, and changing their display names to “President-Elect.”
— President-Elect Christian Collins, MCTV 🎙 (@mediachristian4) November 10, 2020
Ellis’ tweet has garnered over 4.5K retweets and over 20K likes as of publishing time, advocating on behalf of the Trump campaign that the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections are called fairly and “all legal votes are counted.”
In a recent Fox News Opinion published by Ellis, she writes in support of electoral accuracy, stating, “we all want to know who will be president for the next four years. But all Americans should want accurate results above all, no matter who they supported in the race.”
Actions speak louder than words, and this is a clear disregard for what could be considered a tactful legal strategy. It’s unbecoming of an attorney or anyone who claims to be leading by example and fighting for our U.S. Constitution.
The main problem with Ellis’ statement and there are many, is that it’s just outright wrong. The ongoing refusal to concede to what the Associated Press has dubbed a “projected victory” by former Democratic vice president, Joe Biden, has made a complete mockery of what our Electoral College and democracy is supposed to represent. Oh and our legal system.
“You can’t go to court just because you don’t like the vote totals,” Ohio State election law professor Ned Foley said on MSNBC over the weekend. “You have to have a legal claim, and you have to have evidence to back it up. And that’s just not there.”
That’s what I teach in law school, at least, which Ellis also mocked me (and indirectly every law professor at The University of Dayton School of Law) for on Twitter:
Oh I didn’t realize we can just presume accuracy and ignore all the illegality and constitutional issues because reasons and media. LOL I see why you teach law instead of practicing… clearly you have no idea how litigation works.
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) November 8, 2020
Prior to this historical election, the longest contested presidential election was in 2000, when it took 35 days for Democratic Vice President Al Gore to concede to the Republican nominee, George W. Bush. However, that delay was the result of a ballot dispute in the state of Florida–five fewer than the number of states in which Ellis and Trump’s legal team are disputing results.
The Trump campaign currently has pending court challenges with plans to seek voter recounts in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, in hopes that this will overturn what the Electoral College, voters, the U.S., and the media have all deemed it to be a projected victory for former Democratic vice president, Joe Biden–now President-elect Joe Biden.
And what do the states have to say?
Michigan, what say ye?
“This court finds that while there are assertions made by the plaintiffs that there is no evidence in support of those assertions,” said Judge Timothy Kenny in denying a request to delay certification of election results.
“On this factual record, I have no basis to find that there’s a substantial likelihood of success on the merits as relates to this defendant, nor am I convinced that there is a clear legal duty on behalf of anyone who is properly before this court to manage this issue,” said Judge Cynthia Stephens in denying a separate request to stop the state’s vote counting.
There is nothing wrong with challenging votes, but make sure there is actual proof behind those claims. On Wednesday, The New York Times revealed that it had contacted the offices of the top election officials in every state on Monday and Tuesday to ask whether they suspected foul play or had evidence of illegal voting. Officials in 45 states responded directly to The Times, whereas for the four remaining states, The Times spoke to either other statewide officials or found public comments from secretaries of state.
Arizona, what say ye?
“Don’t promote disinfo! Stop spreading #SharpieGate claims,” said Chris Krebs, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
The agency debunked the claim on its Rumor Control website, which fact-checks election misinformation, according to NPR. Republicans in the state dropped the Sharpie lawsuit Saturday but then filed a separate suit alleging other votes in the state were incorrectly rejected.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, called the suit a “repackaging” of the Sharpie conspiracy theory, in a local TV interview. Hobbs called the claims “baseless” and an attempt at “grasping at straws.”
Georgia, what say ye?
“The court finds that there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7:00 p.m. on [Election Day], thereby making those ballots invalid,” Judge James F. Bass wrote, in dismissing the case.
“My job is to follow Georgia law and see to it that all legal votes, and no illegal votes, are counted properly and accurately,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.
“As secretary of state, that is my duty, and I will continue to do my duty. As a Republican, I am concerned about Republicans keeping the U.S. Senate. I recommend that Sens. Loeffler and Perdue start focusing on that.”
Nevada, what say ye?
The Nevada Republican Party claimed that “irregularities have plagued the election” in Clark County, the state’s most populous county, without providing evidence. Federal Judge Andrew Gordon then rejected the Trump campaign’s legal request arguing that the county should not be able to use a machine to verify signatures.
“There’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections,” said Frank LaRose, a Republican who serves as Ohio’s secretary of state. “The conspiracy theories and rumors and all those things run rampant. For some reason, elections breed that type of mythology.”
Steve Simon (D-MN), Minnesota’s secretary of state also added that “[he] d[idn’t] know of a single case where someone argued that a vote counted when it shouldn’t have or didn’t count when it should. There was no fraud.”
And the list goes on. To LaRose’s point, elections do in fact breed special mythology. As for the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, it’s an entirely new breed. And one that other countries are laughing at.
And why? Because of an administration that just doesn’t want to transition power. Imagine a modern-day Chancellor Palpatine, who for four-years has publicly manipulated those most loyal to him, into quite literally believing that no matter what comes from the 2020 Election, that there can only be one winner: Trump. And that’s evident even from a November 2 White House Briefing whereby President Trump stated:
“We will state the truth in full, without apology: We declare that the United States of America is the most just and exceptional Nation ever to exist on Earth.”
Yes, his truth, the only truth–that he won the election. No, if’s, and’s, or but’s.
Of the six states in dispute, Biden is projected as the winner in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nevada, and is leading in the ballot counting in Arizona and Georgia.
“Troubling” doesn’t even come close to describing the severity and danger the Trump administration is attempting to create.
But what’s worse? That we have an entire campaign that refuses to accept a truth in which the entire U.S. watched, observed, and accepted on Saturday, November 7, 2020, or that campaign donations are being wasted in flooding the legal system with baseless claims that quite frankly, defame and slander every constituent who voted for Biden in this 2020 election?
There’s a fine line between an attorney’s ethical obligations to “zealously represent” their client and “recklessly representing” their client. But it’s another thing entirely to then make a mockery out of our legal system and the so-called “constitutional principles” you so desperately claim you’re advocating for? Why become an agent of chaos?
“As a constitutional law attorney, and someone who is on the legal team, my job of course is to remain committed and fight for every legal vote to be counted. That’s what President Trump wants as well,” Ellis told a Colorado Fox News-affiliate on Monday.
In another interview with The Daily Camera, Ellis argued that “[w]e have a system of free and fair elections in this country that must be preserved…[w]e are fighting for election integrity, not just for the outcome of the 2020 presidential race, but for all elections in the future.
“Election integrity”…an interesting choice of words. And unfortunately, it’s being bastardized by those in positions of power and influence to lead us out of these agonizing four years and this horrific year of death and loss, thanks to COVID-19.
Regardless of party affiliation, presidential candidates deserve respect. But most importantly, our constituents and country are owed the same. For without democracy, our right to vote wouldn’t exist. And now, it’s being called into question out of sheer greed.
But, I guess you can’t teach law, right?