Donald Trump’s efforts to over5turn the election in the courts has become a clown show. After the “Four Seasons Landscape” debacle, one of Trump’s numerous election lawsuits was filed in the wrong federal court. “Like, the really wrong court,” Law And Crime reports.
The Trump legal team this week filed a Michigan-focused federal lawsuit in the Washington, D.C.-based Court of Federal Claims–which has no authority to hear an electoral fraud themed lawsuit whatsoever.
Noting the mishap, University of Texas Law Professor Steve Vladeck shared his astonishment on Twitter.
“The Trump campaign has filed a wide-ranging lawsuit challenging the counting of votes in Wayne County (Detroit) not just in a federal district court in Michigan, but in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in D.C. — which has *no jurisdiction* in such cases,” he said.
The attorney of record claims the whole ordeal was simply a mistake–and one that certainly wasn’t his.
“PACER misfiled this case,” attorney Mark F. “Thor” Hearne II told CNN’s Katelyn Polantz.
Trust in the integrity of the Trump campaign’s legal personnel, however, is currently at an all-time low.
“Not credible—PACER doesn’t choose what court a case is filed in,” noted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti via Twitter. “The lawyer does.”
The Trump campaign later upped the ante by documenting the mistake in a court filing that pawned off responsibility of the federal court system’s information technology.
“Plaintiffs represented by Thor Hearne and True North Law, LLC filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan,” the filing notes–a case previously reported on by Law&Crime. “As a result of an electronic error in the PACER filing system this matter was also filed in this court. We understand that this filing error in the electronic filing system is not uncommon.”
This filing only made things worse. After that, #AppellateTwitter sprang into action.
“ECF doesn’t work that way,” National Security Counselors Executive Director Kel McClanahan said via Twitter–referring to the federal Judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system which allows case documents to be filed online. PACER is the system that allows the public to access files submitted via the CM/ECF. For more information on how these systems communicate with one another see here.
“The systems don’t even talk to each other,” McClanahan continued. “I couldn’t accidentally file something in the W.D. Mich. any more than I could accidentally file it in Australia. What is not beyond possibility is a stupid lawyer who is barred in two courts clicking on the wrong ECF bookmark by mistake [and] not realizing it until later. That might not be uncommon in the legal circles in which Trump’s lawyers travel.”
So they filed their complaint in the wrong court. After the judge fixed the problem, they nonetheless filed the wrong kind of motion to fix it, which the judge had to write another order about.
To be clear, these are not complicated things for lawyers to do. https://t.co/sPfNdhG36R
— Raffi Melkonian (@RMFifthCircuit) November 13, 2020
The Trump campaign’s lawyers have escalated the situation—from telling a CNN reporter an implausible tale to repeating it in a court filing. pic.twitter.com/XJFFhn5kdb
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) November 13, 2020