WASHINGTON — Former president Donald Trump has officially lost all of his postelection legal challenges in the US Supreme Court, after the court announced Monday that the justices had refused to take up his final case out of Wisconsin.
Trump and his Republican allies lost more than 60 lawsuits in state and federal courts challenging President Joe Biden’s wins in Wisconsin and a handful of other key states. They petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a small number of these cases, and the justices either rejected them right away or didn’t take any action before Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, a clear sign that they wouldn’t interfere.
Even after leaving office, Trump continued to press a case he’d brought against state election officials in Wisconsin. He filed a brief on Feb. 9 that argued the fight wasn’t moot now that Biden was in the White House because the challenges he’d raised to how the state expanded absentee and mail-in voting during the pandemic could come up again in the future; a federal appeals court had tossed the case on Dec. 24, finding Trump’s legal arguments lacking and also concluding that he’d waited too long to file the case in the first place.
The justices didn’t address any of Trump’s arguments — either on the substance of the challenge or his arguments for keeping it alive after Biden took office — in Monday’s order, simply including it on a long list of cases that they were declining to hear. The court also denied a petition filed by conservative attorney L. Lin Wood Jr. asking the justices to take up an election challenge he’d filed in support of Trump in Georgia and lost in the lower courts; Wood was banned from Twitter in January after using the platform to promote the Jan. 6 insurrection and promote election conspiracy theories.
Trump and his allies had used postelection legal challenges to promote lies about widespread voter fraud, and they denounced the judicial system, including the Supreme Court, as biased when they repeatedly lost. Judges at every level — including some who were nominated by Trump — concluded that these cases were either procedurally deficient or, after reviewing the evidence, meritless. The only case Republicans won, in Pennsylvania state court, involved a small number of absentee ballots that arrived in Pennsylvania after Election Day and were nowhere near enough to change the results.
Trump had said in September that he was "counting" on the Supreme Court to "look at the ballots" given the expansion of mail-in voting nationwide, but the high court repeatedly refused to entertain Trump and his supporters’ last-ditch efforts to challenge Biden’s win. The justices in December swiftly rejected a Trump-backed attempt by the Texas attorney general’s office to sue four states that Biden had won, as well as a challenge brought by Pennsylvania Republicans. On Jan. 11 — less than a week after a mob of hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol and briefly stopped lawmakers from certifying Biden’s victory — the justices issued a set of orders denying requests by Trump and other Republican challengers to act on petitions challenging lower court losses before Inauguration Day.
A handful of cases remained active even after Biden took office, and on Feb. 22 the Supreme Court issued a round of orders officially refusing to hear cases that Trump had brought in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (he filed multiple cases in that state), as well as other Republican-backed challenges in Pennsylvania and Michigan.