Paul M. Davis, the Texas lawyer who was fired from his in-house counsel job after he recorded himself among a mob at the U.S. Capitol Complex on Jan. 6, has filed legal documents which set a new floor for legal embarrassment in U.S. jurisprudence. The documents employ a series of awkward references to — and ideas from — the temporary government of the Kingdom of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings.
Davis’s lawsuit bombastically attempts to assert that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president and that a rightful heir to that office will someday return. Until then, the case foolishly argues that a federal judge might be able to appoint a group of “stewards” from the cabinet of former President Donald Trump to run most of the government from the White House. That should occur, the lawsuit lawlessly speculates, after the Secret Service escorts Biden and his wife out of the executive residence at the order of a federal judge.
Davis’s co-counsel on the case is Kellye SoRelle, a Texas lawyer otherwise known for recording video which right-wing conspiracy theorists claimed showed a Pelican case full of fraudulent 2020 election ballots in Detroit. It was really a case full of television gear from local ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV.
Before we embark upon our Trumpian trip to Toklein’s Middle Earth, some background is necessary.
The original 54-page lawsuit, captioned Latinos for Trump v. Sessions, explicitly states it “does not seek to change the declared winner of any election that took place in the past year.” Or so it claims. Rather, it alleges that various changes to state election laws in the wake of COVID-19 violated the federal Help America Vote Act. It claims this legal collision “deprived every single U.S. Citizen, including Plaintiffs, of their sacrosanct Constitutional right to participate in the democratic election” and violated the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The original paperwork erroneously and forgetfully rants that voting was a “most basic right guaranteed to every American since the founding of the Republic.” That is legally incorrect. Enslaved Black men didn’t obtain a nominal constitutional right to vote until the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870; most Blacks in the South didn’t actually register until the 1965 Civil Rights Act was passed nearly a century later. Women didn’t obtain suffrage until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920. Native Americans didn’t fully obtain the right to vote until the Snyder Act was passed in 1924.
The lawsuit later admits that minorities have been, at times, “deprived of their right to legally cast a vote.” It then argues that the 2020 election process disenfranchised Black people and Latinos and that “every member” of Congress (along with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris) was “not legitimately elected.” The rationale for these assertions is because “patently illegal” ballots were allegedly employed.
The evidence that will come forth in the course of this lawsuit will establish an intentional concert of conduct between federal, state, and local government officials and various partisan enterprises that should be considered a boot to the throat of every American who believes that the Constitution of the United States guarantees every citizen the right to a government elected by the People.
Later, it contains somewhat of a call to arms:
Plaintiffs’ urgent plea before this Honorable Court is to now join with them, in this current Constitutional Crisis, when all other safeguards set forth in the Constitution of the United States for checks and balances on unlimited, tyrannical government power have been breached, to muster the same courage displayed by the Founding Fathers of our Republic, who so willingly and boldly sacrificed their blood, their tears, their fortunes, whether meager or vast, and even their very lives, to win their freedom from a tyrannical monarchy across the ocean.
The relief sought when the suit was filed was a temporary restraining order against “each illegitimate member” of Congress. Such orders were requested to prevent each senator and representative “from taking any further legislative action” on any issue whatsoever. Other restraining orders were sought to prevent “the legal enforcement of any action taken” by Congress, including “counting the Electoral College votes and confirming Joe Biden as President-Elect” or any action to “impeach and convict” Donald Trump. The suit also self-servingly sought to prevent federal authorities “from arresting and/or holding in custody Plaintiff’s undersigned lead counsel, Paul M. Davis and co-counsel, Kellye SoRelle, and any plaintiff or potential witness” over what occurred at the Capitol Complex on Jan. 6. Finally, it asked a federal judge to exalt “The Honorable” Donald Trump as the “only lawfully and constitutionally remaining federal public official” and to order him “to take all reasonable and necessary action consistent with the Take Care Clause of Article II, Section 1 and all the original intents and purposes of the Constitution of the United States to preserve the lawful and orderly continuity of government.”
But — remember — Davis et al. claimed they did “not seek to change the declared winner of any election that took place in the past year, including the 2020 Presidential Race and the 2021 Georgia Senate Runoff.” Indeed, the lawsuit noted what it was not:
This is not a Sidney Powell lawsuit. This is not a Rudy Giuliani lawsuit. This is not a Lin Wood lawsuit. This is not a Team Trump lawsuit. This is not a Republican lawsuit. This is not a Democrat lawsuit.
That background brings us to the latest documents and their Middle Earth analogies.
After a few lines of formalities, a six-page Amended Motion filed Thursday argued yet again for a restraining order.
“Gondor has no King,” the document says in its second paragraph, “to invoke a very appropriate quote from the J.R.R. Tolkien epic classic, ‘Lord of the Rings.'”
A footnote explains the analogy:
During the course of the epic trilogy, the rightful King of Gondor had abandoned the throne. Since only the rightful king could sit on the throne of Gondor, a steward was appointed to manage Gondor until the return of the King, known as “Aragorn,” occurred at the end of the story. This analogy is applicable since there is now in Washington, D.C., a group of individuals calling themselves the President, Vice President, and Congress who have no rightful claim to govern the American People. Accordingly, as set forth in the Proposed Temporary Restraining Order, as a remedy the Court should appoint a group of special masters (the “Stewards”) to provide a check the power of the illegitimate President until this Constitutional Crisis can be resolved through a peaceful legal process of a Preliminary Injunction Hearing and a jury trial on the merits.
The argument picks up after that footnote by asking a federal judge to act with “courage” and to “take a stand against tyranny”:
The Judicial Branch is currently the only remaining legitimate branch of government and therefore has a duty uphold the checks and balances in the Constitution to curb the unlawful power grab perpetrated on the electorate by Defendants. The Court must immediately act to check the power of the Legislative and Executive branches by placing them into a state of stewardship to preserve the status quo ante, pending a preliminary injunction and then until a trial on the merits. Plaintiffs hereby request that the Honorable Court enter the Temporary Restraining Order attached hereto enjoining the illegitimate 117th Congress and 46th President (collectively, the “Usurpers”) from enacting any new legislation or making any substantial departures from United States policy, foreign and domestic, as it existed prior to their unlawful usurpation of power on January 3, 2021 and January 20, 2021, respectively by appointing a group of trusted special masters to provide oversight to the Usurpers.4 This concept is similar to the concept of placing a corrupted business in receivership or in bankruptcy law, which places a “trustee” in charge of the “debtor-in- possession” during the bankruptcy case to rehabilitate the corrupted organization.
The foregoing argument contains precisely zero references to any legal authority whatsoever for support. Later, the document quotes the Declaration of Independence to wildly assert that the current “United States federal government” has, through “repeated injuries and usurpations,” taken tyrannical control of — you guessed it — the United States federal government. It analogizes the current cohort of politicians with King George III during the American Revolution. Moreover, it says:
If the Court does not act to intervene, Plaintiffs and Counsel have essentially signed their own death warrants by filing this lawsuit exposing the shocking unlawful acts of the Defendants, the powerful elite figures who acted, funded, directed, and/or otherwise conspired in furtherance of their malevolent scheme to crush the freedom and individual rights of the People by replacing our republican form of government with a group of Usurpers.
Later, it claims the United States will become like the People’s Republic of China — a “republic in name only,” it argues — because the U.S. government “belongs to a tyrannical, authoritarian, communist police state that engages in atrocities against humanity, including the active persecution of proponents of free speech, democracy, Christians, and anyone else who poses a view that does not demonstrate absolute and unquestioning loyalty to the state and whatever ideologies it chooses to cram down the throats of its citizens.”
The only legal authorities cited in first five pages of the document are a federal rule of civil procedure which sets forth procedural parameters for injunctions and restraining orders and three standard cases involving restraining orders and injunctions. In one of the cited cases, the U.S. Supreme Court let the government do what it wanted; the Court rubbished claims by environmentalists that the U.S. Navy needed to heed environmental laws while conducting training exercises off the coast of California.
The election-connected lawsuit by SoRelle and Davis goes on to repeat a plethora of paranoid right-wing fears. Back to the arguments:
The risk of the United State government descending into such an oppressive police state is tangible and imminent given the rampant cancel culture that has emerged to terminate and intimidate anyone who supported the previous administration combined with the powers granted to government agencies to spy on U.S. Citizens is a perfect storm for such a scenario. Internet searches regarding cancel culture will bring up headlines describing tangible fear from those on the political right of being eventually rounded up into Soviet-style gulags or “reeducation camps.”
The document does not acknowledge that such dissenting views are circulating freely in the United States precisely because the First Amendment remains in effect. Such an acknowledgement would negate the argument that such views are being “terminate[d].”
The document goes on to argue that the monetary damages caused by the seating of the alleged illegal government are incalculable. It cites a few more civil procedure cases, then re-asserts that states conducted the 2020 election in violation of the Help America Vote Act and thus counted “illegal” ballots.
The filing alleges that Virginia, for instance, “[f]ail[ed] to verify an absentee voter’s identification in person prior to accepting [a] marked a ballot as ‘eligible’ when” that voter cast his or her first ballot in a federal election. It also alleged a “[f]ailure” in Virginia “to collect identification with the ballot” and to “maintain such identification paperwork with the ballot in order to mark the ballot as ‘eligible’ and maintain an adequate ‘audit trail’ as required” by federal law.
But the claim is somewhat diluted by a declaration in yet another footnote that there was “previous miscommunication” between the plaintiff making the Virginia claims and the attorneys pressing the case: “it was misunderstood that Mr. Macias voted in North Carolina rather than Virginia.” Despite the now-corrected mixup, the lawsuit asserts that “Virginia’s [election] law appears deviously crafted to paint the ‘illusion’ of compliance [with federal law] when in fact it is NOT compliant.”
Joe Biden won Virginia with 54.11% of the vote; Donald Trump gleaned 44.00%. Some 451,138 votes separated the men. Virginia has voted for Democrats for president in the last four relevant elections, so Biden’s victory was not a statistical surprise.
The lawsuit document ironically raises similar complaints about Alabama. That state voted for Trump in 2020 and has consistently voted for a Republican in every presidential election since Richard Nixon’s victory in 1972 — with the exception of Jimmy Carter in 1976.
The newest documents contain a proposed 10-page temporary restraining order. It seeks to have a judge declare that “all members of the 117th US Congress, who were elected in the 2020 elections . . . shall be temporarily barred from holding public office.”
“Congress’s act in confirming Joseph Biden as the President-Elect and Kamala Harris as Vice President-elect were unlawful acts by an illegitimate Congress,” the document also asks a judge to declare.
Furthermore, it asks a judge to appoint a Gondor-esque “committee of special masters.” It suggests the “special masters” should be called — you guessed it — the “Stewards.” The “Stewards” should be picked from Donald Trump’s lawfully-seated cabinet, the documents wildly assert, and should be given the run of the White House. The lawsuit asks a judge to order the Secret Service “to escort Joe Biden and Jill Biden out of the White House and to their personal residence,” where President Biden will be able to make some decisions — but only under the approval of the “Stewards.” The “Stewards” would also have control of the so-called “Nuclear Football” under the case’s preposterous list of suggestions.
The litigation also brazenly asserts that certain people, including former Vice President Mike Pence and his staff, should “be barred from holding any position in government or administration of government” pending further judicial proceedings.
It gets even more bizarre from there. The document asks a judge to declare that any police force — referred to in the document as “Police State Agencies” — cannot arrest the lawyers who filed the case or anyone else who voted in the 2020 election for “peaceably” protesting. (People who committed “an overt and intentional act of violence” toward a police officer “that resulted in significant injury” could be arrested, as could a few other types of offenders.)
The signature block on the bottom of the proposed order is worth noting (highlights ours):
Perhaps it’s also worth noting that the “steward” of Gondor, Denethor, went crazy, set himself on fire, and jumped off a massive cliff to his death while he was engulfed in flames.
The lawsuit is probably headed for a similar yet much storied fate on the ash heap of failed 2020 election-related litigation.
Davis says he was not inside the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 and, to date, has not been criminally charged.
The relevant documents are below:
[Image of Paul M. Davis via Social Media by way of KDFW-TV. Image of Aragorn via Lord of the Rings/New Line Cinema]<
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