A three-judge panel of the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals rejected President Donald Trump’s latest effort to challenge the election results and ordered the Trump campaign to reimburse the state of Pennsylvania for cost of responding to the baseless appeal.
In their ruling, the judges echoed a string of other courts in finding the Trump campaign offered no evidence of any election fraud. Instead, the court said “the campaign’s claims have no merit” in a case that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court if Trump continues to appeal.
“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee and former law school professor, wrote for the three-judge panel. The court also ordered the Trump campaign to reimburse Pennsylvania for cost of responding to the appeal.
The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.
The 3rd Circuit called that decision justified. The three judges on the panel were all appointed by Republican presidents.
The ruling comes four days after Pennsylvania officials certified their vote count for President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Trump by more than 80,000 votes in the state.
Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis complained about “activist judicial machinery” in response to the ruling and pledged to bring the case to the Supreme Court.
“We are very thankful to have had the opportunity to present proof and the facts to the PA state legislature,” she tweeted, an apparent reference to the shambolic, fact-free presentation the campaign legal team gave some GOP lawmakers last week. “On to SCOTUS!”
Read the ruling below: