Supreme Court dismisses GOP lawsuit; Biden names Austin as defence secretary

Austin will become the first Black person to lead the Pentagon if he is confirmed by Senate. Announcing the nomination, Biden said Austin had shown “exemplary leadership, character, and command”.
US President-elect Joe Biden announces nominees and appointees to serve on his health and coronavirus response teams during a news conference at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 8.(Reuters)
US President-elect Joe Biden announces nominees and appointees to serve on his health and coronavirus response teams during a news conference at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 8.(Reuters)
Updated on Dec 09, 2020 12:29 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Washington | ByYashwant Raj , edited by Vinod Janardhanan

US Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s Republican allies from Pennsylvania seeking to overturn the election outcome in the state, even as President-elect Joe Biden announced retired Gen Lloyd Austin as his nominee for secretary of defence.

Austin will become the first Black person to lead the Pentagon if he is confirmed by Senate. Announcing the nomination, Biden said Austin had shown “exemplary leadership, character, and command”.

He also spoke about having worked with the general as vice-president in the Obama administration.

Biden also presented his health team to lead his administration’s fight against Covid-19 and announced a three-step drive for his first 100 days in office — to urge everyone to wear masks, ensure the widest distribution of vaccines and safe and secure reopening of schools.

Trump’s efforts to overturn his defeat to Biden suffered a severe blow with the nine justices of the Supreme Court, including the three nominated by him, dismissing the lawsuit with a terse one-line order: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice (Samuel) Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.”

This was the first case seeking to the dispute the 2020 White House race to reach the highest court of the nation.

Biden’s team had no direct response to the order. But Ron Klain, his chief of staff, retweeted a post that summed up the situation succinctly: “Biden won again today so that’s kinda great.”

Trump might have hoped for a somewhat different outcome. “Now, let’s see whether or not somebody has the courage, whether it’s a legislator or legislatures, or whether it’s a justice of the Supreme Court, or a number of justices of the Supreme Court — let’s see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right,” he had said at a White House event just ahead of the court’s order.

Trump’s Republican allies in Texas have also filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court asking it to declare the election results Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia to be declared “unlawful”. The court has asked the four battleground states that the president lost to respond by Thursday.

The president is still in no mood to give up yet, but his legal challenges have been futile, as are his political attempts to get state legislatures and Republican legislators to overturn the results.

Democrats keeping a count said the president and his allies’ scorecard is one legal victory to 50 defeats. And now Rudolph Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, his lawyers spearheading those legal challenges and the political machinations, have both tested positive for Covid-19.

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