(Headline USA) In what some may consider another major flub and others a rare moment of candor, Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden acknowledged having the “most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization” in history on Saturday.
Democrats are assembling an army of powerful lawyers for the possibility that the race for the White House is decided not at the ballot box but in court.
Attorneys for the Republicans and the Democrats are already clashing in courts across the U.S. over mailed-in ballot deadlines and other issues brought on by Democrats seeking to capitalize politically on the coronavirus pandemic.
The race is already thought to be the most litigated in American history, with some 260 lawsuits arising from the coronavirus by one tally.
The Biden campaign’s army of lawyers also have been engaging in legal war games, churning out draft pleadings, briefs and memos to cover scenarios that read like the stuff of a law school hypothetical more than a real-life case in a democracy.
Democrats’ fall-back legal strategy includes a special national litigation team with hundreds of lawyers led by Walter Dellinger, acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration, and Donald Verrilli, a solicitor general under President Barack Obama, among others.
Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel to Obama, and Biden campaign general counsel Dana Remus are focused on protecting the rights of voters, who have been enduring long lines at polling places around the country on the belief that the presidential election will be decided by their ballots.
Both sides are informed by the experience of the 2000 election, which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.
But this year, the stakes have been raised by potential for voter fraud. With increased voting by mail sowing doubt about the integrity of the result, lawyers are preparing for a return trip before the high court.
That team is headed by notorious election lawyer Marc Elias of the law firm Perkins Coie, the likely architect of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s Steele Dossier strategy who also has built a reputation for masterminding suspicious election-night reversals for Democrats.
One of his most famous victories was the Minnesota race in 2008 that gave disgraced former Sen. Al Franken the edge over then incumbent Republican Norm Coleman.
That razor-thin loss, courtesy of Elias’s discovery of extra ballots in Democrat precincts, gave Democrats the 60th seat needed for a filibuster-proof super-majority in the first two years of President Barack Obama’s administration, allowing Congress the votes it needed for the controversial healthcare overhaul in the Affordable Care Act.
“When Democrats want to tilt elections in their favor outside the ballot box, who do they call? Marc Elias and Perkins Coie,” an RNC website says.
Elias, incidentally, was one of the first Democrat figures to call for increased mail-in voting on the very day that President Donald Trump declared a national health emergency over the COVID pandemic.
Already, he and his team at have filed lawsuits seeking to force states to extend mailed-in ballot collection deadlines and other things.
In one case, the Supreme Court this week allowed Pennsylvania to count mailed-in ballots received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election, rejecting a Republican bid to block the extension.
Elias pushes regular updates about developments in his lawsuits to nearly 150,000 followers on Twitter, as well as the occasional jibe at the president and his Republican counterparts.
“Being called a ‘partisan hack’ by a lawyer for Donald Trump is a badge of honor I will wear proudly for a lifetime,” he wrote in a tweet this week.
However, Trump and the Republican National Committee are ready to answer back in the event that Elias attempts to reverse a Trump victory.
“We’ve been preparing for this for well over a year,” Republican National Committee Chief Counsel Justin Riemer told The Associated Press. “We’ve been working with the campaign on our strategy for recount preparation, for Election Day operations and our litigation strategy.”
Behind the scenes, Trump and Republicans have been putting together a legal team that includes Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s lead attorneys during the impeachment trial and the special counsel’s Russia investigation and an experienced litigator before the Supreme Court.
Republicans have hired dozens of attorneys and retained prominent national firms to challenge Democratic efforts to expand ballot access in key battleground states.
Thousands of volunteer lawyers are prepared to assist with Election Day operations and poll watching and other issues, Riemer said.
A group called Lawyers for Trump, whose advisory board includes Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, is recruiting retired lawyers and law students. Jones Day is among the prominent global law firms expected to play a role.
Attorney Will Consovoy, who has represented Trump in such cases as his long-running fight to prevent a top New York prosecutor from getting his tax returns, is also likely to be a key player in any election legal fights.
Riemer said it’s not as though the party is going to call up a random attorney on Election Day and say, “Hey, are you busy? Do you want to litigate a recount?”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press