In an opinion piece for Politico, an exasperated Kimberly Wehl -- a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law -- said it is time for judges who are being forced to rule on accusations of voter fraud by Donald Trump's lawyers to lay down the law and penalize them for wasting the court's time.
Following the ultimate smackdown on Friday by the Supreme Court, which refused to even consider a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Wehl said now is the time for judges to put a halt to the Republican election fraud charade.
Pointing out that the president's lawyers currently have won only one case out of the 55 presented to the courts, the law professor wrote, "The defeats are piling up so fast—the Supreme Court summarily rejected two lawsuits inside of four days—and the judges’ rebukes have been so withering that many people outside the legal profession wonder why trained lawyers are being allowed to persist in this doomed effort to overturn the results of an election that has been described by the president’s own elections officials as the “most secure in American history.” Isn’t there some kind of rule against this?"
As you might expect, she stated there is.
"In federal court (where 11 of the cases have been brought) it’s called Rule 11. And courts have used it many times to discourage the very kinds of legally insufficient and bad faith claims that have been advanced by Rudy Giuliani and his so-called elite strike force of attorneys," she wrote before pointing out that the president's lawsuits have been dismissed with astonishing speed which is an indication of how specious they are.
"The insufficiency of the claims is evidence of bad faith, and that is precisely what Rule 11 is designed to punish. Trump supporters’ litigious assault on the 2020 election results is even more troubling than most groundless claims because it creates a perverse incentive for candidates and parties to abuse the courts for political gain in future high-profile elections," she explained. "Rule 11 is a 'stop-and-think' mandate, which basically requires lawyers and parties to certify when signing their names to federal court filings that they have some law and some facts on their side."
She went on to explain the lawsuits filed by Trump's attorneys and his allies are "... are scandalously thin on the law. They are also thin on facts," which should set the stage for future sanctions.
"Rule 11 sanctions are normally triggered when the offended party files a motion. The alleged wrongdoer gets 21 days to fix the problem, else the court gets involved. Courts can also prompt sanctions on their own—or 'sua sponte.' If it’s a party that brings up sanctions, courts can order monetary fines to be paid to the court under Rule 11 (not to the other party, for fear of creating incentives to seek sanctions as a moneymaking enterprise)," she explained before adding, "Moreover, courts can sanction parties and lawyers in ways that do not involve money. At the federal level, nonmonetary sanctions have included public reprimands, orders to undergo legal education, referrals to the bar for disciplinary proceedings, warnings, suspension or even disbarment, forced admission of the facts alleged by the other side, and bans on a party or attorney (e.g., Powell or Giuliani) from bringing similar suits without advance permission from the court."
"Rule 11 provides a final basis for sanctioning lawyers and parties, and it’s critical. Whenever a paper is filed in a federal court, the person signing the paper certifies that 'it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass' or 'cause unnecessary delay.' The dozens of lawsuits that nitpick the hard work of hundreds of thousands of election officials, poll workers and volunteers as a basis for overturning Biden’s win are not about achieving justice. They are about hard-line politics, pure and simple," she concluded.
You can read more here.