Court Battles

Judge floats sanctions for attorneys who sought to block Congress from counting electoral votes

Greg Nash

A federal judge on Monday rejected a legal effort from groups of Trump voters to block Congress from officially counting the Electoral College votes and suggested the attorneys involved may be subject to sanctions.

In a seven-page decision, Judge James Boasberg denied the group’s request for a preliminary injunction against Congress and Vice President Pence, in his capacity as president of the Senate, from certifying the results of the election.

It was yet another defeat for the dubious last-ditch legal maneuvers aimed at overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Boasberg, an Obama appointee to the federal district court in D.C., tore into the plaintiffs in his decision, saying it was “not a stretch to find a serious lack of good faith here,” and warning that they may be subject to sanctions from the court.

“Their failure to make any effort to serve or formally notify any Defendant … renders it difficult to believe that the suit is meant seriously,” the judge wrote. “Courts are not instruments through which parties engage in such gamesmanship or symbolic political gestures. As a result, at the conclusion of this litigation, the Court will determine whether to issue an order to show cause why this matter should not be referred to its Committee on Grievances for potential discipline of Plaintiffs’ counsel.” 

Erick Kaardal, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond when asked for comment. 

The lawsuit was filed late last month by voters from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — battleground states that Biden won. They made varying allegations of fraud, which have largely been debunked, and claimed that longstanding federal and state elections laws are unconstitutional.

The decision comes just days after a federal appeals court threw out a similar lawsuit from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) seeking to allow Pence to undo Biden’s win.

Boasberg on Monday showed little patience for their claims and said the D.C. federal court had no jurisdiction over the many state officials listed as defendants in the case. 

“Plaintiffs’ theory that all of these laws are unconstitutional and that the Court should instead require state legislatures themselves to certify every Presidential election lies somewhere between a willful misreading of the Constitution and fantasy,” the judge wrote.

Tags Joe Biden Louie Gohmert

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