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Trump has lost a string of blistering court rulings. A judge said one claim was ‘like Frankenstein’s monster’

Election workers perform in the ballot counting area at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Friday.VICTOR J. BLUE/NYT

On Friday, a Pennsylvania appeals court dealt another blow to the Trump campaign’s faltering attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The ruling, which blocked an effort to stop Pennsylvania’s voting certification in favor of President-elect Joe Biden, was one of more than 30 similar lawsuits filed over the last month — at least 26 of which have been denied, dismissed, settled, or withdrawn.

And while judges generally stray from particularly sharp or scathing language, rulings across the country have been widely described by journalists and experts as just that.

Here’s a look at some of the blistering court decisions made against President Trump and his legal team over the last month.


‘Calling an election unfair doesn’t make it so’

Pennsylvania’s Third Circuit of Appeals on Friday made the court’s unanimous decision clear in a 21-page ruling, written by Judge Stephanos Bibas, who Trump himself appointed to the bench in 2017.

“Calling an election unfair doesn’t make it so,” Judge Bibas said. “Fair, free elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

The ruling continued: “Voters, not lawyers, choose the president ... Ballots, not briefs, decide elections.”

The court accused the Trump campaign of engaging in “repetitive litigation” and pointed out that the public interest strongly favored “counting every lawful voter’s vote, and not disenfranchising millions of Pennsylvania voters who vote by mail.”

‘This claim, like Frankenstein’s monster, has been haphazardly stitched together’

Earlier this week in Pennsylvania, Judge Matthew Brann, a former Republican official and member of the conservative Federalist Society who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, dealt the Trump team another defeat.

The suit, which again attempted to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results, was likened to “Frankenstein’s monster” having been “haphazardly stitched together.” Brann also noted that the suit was filled with “strained legal arguments” and “speculative accusations” that were unsupported by evidence.


‘To halt certification at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and disenfranchisement’

In Georgia on Nov. 19, Judge Steven D. Grimberg, a federal judge in Atlanta appointed by Trump, also had some strong words in court.

“To halt the certification at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and disenfranchisement that I find have no basis in fact and law,” Judge Grimberg said, turning down an emergency request from a Trump supporter, L. Lin Wood, to halt certification of the vote in Georgia.

“Although Wood generally claims fundamental unfairness, and the declarations and testimony submitted in support of his motion speculate as to widespread impropriety, the actual harm alleged by Wood concerns merely a ‘garden variety’ election dispute. Wood does not allege unfairness in counting the ballots; instead, he alleges that select non-party, partisan monitors were not permitted to observe the audit in an ideal manner. Wood presents no authority, and the Court finds none, providing for a right to unrestrained observation or monitoring of vote counting, recounting, or auditing.”

‘Inadmissible hearsay within hearsay’

On Nov. 6, Judge Cynthia Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims dismissed a Republican-led lawsuit attempting to stop the count of absentee ballots in the state.

“This ‘supplemental evidence’ is inadmissible as hearsay,” Judge Stephen said of an allegation from a Michigan GOP lawyer alleging misconduct in Detroit. The lawyer, Jessica Connarn, said she was told by someone that workers counting absentee ballots were “changing the dates the ballots were received.”

“The assertion that Connarn was informed by an unknown individual what ‘other hired poll workers at her table’ had been told is inadmissible hearsay within hearsay, and plaintiffs have provided no hearsay exception for either level of hearsay that would warrant consideration of evidence,” Judge Stephens said.


‘Plaintiff’s affiants did not have a full understanding of the absentee ballot tabulation process’

In Michigan about a week later, Judge Timothy Kenny of the Third Judicial Circuit Court, which covers the Detroit area, dismissed a Republican-led suit seeking to stop the certification of the vote in Wayne County.

The lawsuit brought by two Republican poll challengers made sweeping allegations that unregistered voters were allowed to cast ballots, late absentee ballots had been backdated, and that ballots had been processed with false information.

In his ruling, Judge Kenny said that witness testimony supporting the lawsuit had been severely undermined by that of elections officials overseeing the counting process.

“Plaintiffs’ affiants did not have a full understanding of the TCF absent ballot tabulation process,” Judge Kenny wrote, referring to the Detroit convention center where vote counting took place. “No formal challenges were filed. However, sinister, fraudulent motives were ascribed to the process and the City of Detroit. Plaintiffs’ interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible.”

Globe wire services were used in this report.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.