I am neither American, nor a lawyer.

Rudy Giuliani is both.

The former New York mayor walked on stage to “Macho Man” before calling on Trump supporters to settle the dispute over the election via “trial by combat.”


I imagine that as the ex-mayor of New York, and someone whom the leader of free world relies upon in legal matters, he would know the law, but, just in case … can anyone confirm whether trial by combat is legal in the United States of America?

If so, how would it work? Would it be Trump vs Biden in person? Or could they each choose to nominate a champion to fight in their place? Would it be to the death, or just until one cries quarter? What weapons would be used? Where would the venue be? Since it would be a state matter, would any combatant who is fatally injured be entitled to a state funeral?

  • I don't see any evidence that this refers to trial by combat a la The Mountain and The Viper, as opposed the usual Republican call to violence when they don't get their way. Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 22:34
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    In the US, trial by combat decides who goes to prison. The survivor does, obviously. Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


Trial by combat was never formally abolished in the US. However, no case, criminal or civil, has actually used it. People have occasionally demanded it and in all cases have been seen as attention-seeking or insane.

Additionally, the procedure for choosing the president is laid out in the Twelfth Ammendment. Unsurpisingly, trial by combat is not mentioned.

This is the usual combination of Giuliani's dementia and Republicans using violence to attack the democratic process when it doesn't work in their favour.

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    recently tehre was a case where someone tried to invoke it and it was not only denied by the court, it was taken as an attack on the opposing side! Steve Lehto has the story for you.
    – Trish
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 22:39
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    @Trish Is this the case you're referring to? Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 22:41
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    "Trial by combat was never formally abolished in the US" - so, it was legally acceptable at one point? Is there any statute that authorizes it, or was it some form of common law, possibly inherited from Great Britain??
    – Mawg
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 22:48
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    @Studoku yes, that one
    – Trish
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 22:51

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