Saturday, December 2, 2023

Trump claims equal protection violation in PA votes


A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Saturday dismissed the Trump campaign’s 11th-hour attempt to throw out votes from the state, of which the majority went to Joe Biden in the presidential election earlier this month, The New York Times reports.

A quote by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington (Denisbin/Flickr Creative Commons)

In what Judge Matthew W Brann called “strained legal arguments without merit,” President Donald Trump’s attorneys claimed that voters in some Republican-leaning counties in the state were deprived of equal protection under the law, as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

The basis for this claim, according to the lawsuit filed on November 9, was that Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar had informed counties in the entire state how to “cure” mail-in ballots that were rejected for one reason or another. Voters, she said, could come into the election offices and fix the errors on their ballot so they would be considered valid.

Some counties that did not anticipate a large crop of mail-in votes didn’t pass this advice from the secretary of state on to voters, while others that were expecting many mail-in ballots did disseminate the information about curing their ballots.

“That some counties may have chosen to implement” Ms Boockvar’s suggestions while others did not, “does not constitute an equal-protection violation,” Judge Brann wrote in his decision.

Amendment 14, Section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

In addition to dismissing the suit on its 14th-Amendment claim, Judge Brann also found that the Trump campaign didn’t have “standing” to sue the secretary of state in this matter, as they had not shown that her actions caused any harm to the campaign. Only parties that actually suffer harm, and can prove it, are allowed to sue another party for the harm they caused.

The case is likely to be appealed, but the deadline for Pennsylvania to certify its vote in the presidential election is Monday.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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