I think they finally did it. I think they broke my brain.

Thanks to Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Four Seasons Total Landscaping, and Sidney Powell's crackhead "kraken" suits, we might actually be living through the dumbest coup attempt ever.

But when White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany made a guest appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, it only got dumber from there.

In the midst of a rant about how Trump would have won if only we hadn't gone to the trouble of having an election, the Harvard Law graduate decided that laws and constitutional doctrines were actually just "gimmickry tricks" designed to steal the 2020 election right from the tiny hands of Donald Trump.


Here's the quote, for those who are seeking to avoid bleeding from the ears:

"Here's what they did, Sean. Here was the clever little trick, and it happened in Nevada. When the claims were brought beforehand, when we warned and said, 'Hey mass mail-in voting's a problem,' we brought these courts, we brought these claims to a court of law. They said, 'Hey, your claim's not ripe, come back after the election.' We bring it after the election to the same court and they say laches, which is a legal doctrine saying, 'Your claim is too late.'

It can't be not ripe and then be too late. Those are the kind of gimmickry tricks that happened."

Setting aside for a moment the burning question of who "they" is (Democrats? Courts? Judges? The entire US legal system?), I think what the Harvard Law graduate is saying here is that courts applying the law is nothing but a "gimmickry trick" designed specifically to keep her boss from winning a second term.

Since losing the election to Joe Biden, the Trump team has filed a whole bunch of dumb, very bad lawsuits in an effort to subvert the rule of law and the will of the people.

The legal victories just keep coming ... for Joe Biden. (How many times are we going to make this man win the election?!) With some new losses this week, the Trump campaign is now 1-59 in its legal challenges to the 2020 election. And that one yuge win? It was that their little gremlins got to stand a little closer to Pennsylvania poll workers while they counted votes. And it was eventually reversed on appeal.

Are you tired of all the winning yet?

Lots of Trump lawsuits all around the country have been dismissed for alllllll kinds of reasons. You don't go 1-59 without some real crackpot shit going on.

Kayleigh specifically whined about Nevada, so let's take a look at the Nevada cases to see if we can try to make coherent sense of any of this. (Spoiler: We can't. At least, not without a whole bunch of psychotropic drugs. But that won't stop us from trying!)

In Nevada, Trump and other Republican candidates lost a whole bunch of lawsuits.

  • In August, the Trump campaign sued the Nevada secretary of state in federal court, arguing that mail-in ballots are unconstitutional because they say so. US District Judge James Mahan dismissed the case in September because the campaign didn't have standing to sue on behalf of Nevada voters.
  • The day before the election, Clark County Judge James Wilson denied a Trump campaign attempt to stop counting mail-in ballots in Clark County, home to Las Vegas and the largest, most diverse, and most reliably blue part of the state. Judge Wilson ruled the campaign had presented "no evidence of any debasement or dilution of any citizen's vote" and lacked standing to bring equal protection claims. The campaign dropped this case while it was up on appeal.
  • On election night, the Nevada Supreme Court denied an attempt by the Trump campaign to stop counting votes in Clark County.
  • On Nov. 6, when votes were still being counted, a federal judge denied a GOP attempt to slow down the count by stopping poll workers from using an automated signature matching program when counting ballots. US District Judge Andrew Gordon found that the GOP challengers had failed to produce evidence to back up their claims of "irregularities" in the state and therefore had not demonstrated a likelihood of success.
  • On Dec. 8, Carson County District Judge James Russell dismissed a case that alleged — we shit you not — there must have been voter fraud in the state because Tucker Carlson said so. The Nevada Supreme Court unanimously upheld the trial court's finding that the Trump campaign had "no credible or reliable evidence" and had failed to demonstrate "under any standard of proof" that there had been large-scale voter fraud in the state.

None of these suits put a dent in Biden's 33,596-vote win over Trump in Nevada. And none of them were even dismissed for ripeness or laches.

How the hell do they teach standing at Harvard Law?!

Maybe Kayleigh took Civ Pro from Alan Dershowitz? (If so, our condolences to both of them.)

Actually, the fact that Kayleigh even knows words like ripe and laches probably puts Kayleigh ahead of the entire Trump legal team, but that is a very low, very weird bar. And probably not quite the standard Ivy League law schools hope to set for their alums.

Most of the things Kayleigh seems to be calling "gimmickry tricks" are constitutional doctrines courts apply because of Article III of the US Constitution. That's the part of the Constitution that sets up our federal court system, and it says that US courts can only hear actual "cases [or] controversies" between parties. Because of this, parties have to have standing before they can sue in federal court.

While standing is about who can bring a suit, ripeness is about when a suit can be brought. Basically, it says that an injury has to be real and not just some event that may or may not happen in the future. So if an injury is entirely speculative, like, say, "we might not win the election," the case can be dismissed for ripeness.

Laches, something everyone except the lawyers on Trump's legal team has learned more about in the last few weeks, is also about when a suit can be brought, only this time it's about bringing a suit too late. If, for example, you feel a state election law is unconstitutional, you don't get to just sit around with your thumb up your ass and then, only after the election has been held and you have lost, try to get millions of votes thrown out.

Each of these doctrines is literally centuries old. We are unclear on whether the Founders and old English jurists who created them were time-travelers or if they just had a prophesy of the 2020 US election. Someone should ask Kayleigh.

Sadly for the press secretary, none of the Nevada suits were dismissed for ripeness, none of the dismissals relied on laches, and standing was only decisive in one of the cases. (And in that case, if the Trump campaign had thought they had an actual case, they could have represented a Nevada voter with standing instead of just suing on behalf of the campaign.)

Oops?

But man, this gimmickry trick conspiracy sure is vast! Not only does it include centuries-old legal doctrines, but it also reaches the highest ranks of our federal judiciary. It includes no less than 86 judges, several of whom (including fully 1/3 of the Supreme Court) were appointed by Donald Trump, himself!

Republicans and Democrats, elected and appointed, new and veteran, state court and federal court, trial court and appellate court judges across the country have rejected ridiculous Trump suit after ridiculous Trump suit.

As US Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a 2017 Trump appointee, wrote when rejecting one of Trump's bullshit Pennsylvania suits, "Voters, not lawyers, choose the President."

But nice try, Kayleigh. It's a proud day for Harvard.

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Jamie Lynn Crofts
Jamie Lynn Crofts is sick of your bullshit. When she’s not wrangling cats, she’s probably writing about nerdy legal stuff, rocking out at karaoke, or tweeting about god knows what. Jamie would kindly like to remind everyone that it’s perfectly legal to tell Bob Murray to eat shit.
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