Donald Trump’s diehard supporters are often accused of living in fantasyland, but one court case recently launched to try to reinstall him as president has surprised even the most hardened observers of Trumpian strangeness by citing as evidence a mythological realm from The Lord of the Rings
The case was launched in Texas, in the name of small conservative groups including Latinos for Trump and Blacks for Trump, and was filed by Paul Davis, an attorney who lost his job after posting Instagram videos of himself at the attack on the Capitol.
The case offers a baseless mix of allegations of electoral fraud common among the Trump base and calls for the voiding of every vote cast in the election – which was won handily by now-President Joe Biden, who was sworn in this week.
But – unusually for a legal strategy – the case cites as evidence to back up its pro-Trump claims the tragic fate of the kingdom of Gondor, one of the central realms of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy classic, whose exiled ruler, Aragorn, was played onscreen by Viggo Mortensen.
“Gondor has no king,” the lawsuit states, a footnote providing an explanation of the woeful fate of Tolkien’s entirely imaginary land populated by dragons, wizards, hobbits and elves, all threatened by a baleful Dark Lord backed up by an army of orcs and with famously little time for due democratic process.
The suit explains how Gondor’s throne was empty and its rightful kings in exile, presumably positing the idea that Trump is the true king of America – a land happily monarch-free since 1776.
“This analogy is applicable since there is now in Washington DC a group of individuals calling themselves the president, vice-president and Congress who have no rightful claim to govern the American people,” the case states.
It adds: “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.”
The lawsuit then suggests that America’s version of the stewards of Gondor should be selected from among – surprise, surprise – Trump’s cabinet members, who should run the country.
Legal experts have taken a tough line.
“One thing that Americans learned during the post-election litigation is how little patience courts have for absurd legal arguments,” Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, told Salon in a thorough takedown of the case and its legal merits.
“This legal effort to declare Congress illegitimate will be laughed out of court and could lead to sanctions for the lawyer bringing such a claim.”