Vastavam web: A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state, sidestepping a decision on the merits of the claims and instead ruling that the case must first wind its way through lower courts. In another blow to Trump, two dissenting conservative justices questioned whether disqualifying more than 221,000 ballots as Trump wanted would be the proper remedy to the errors he alleged.
The defeat on a 4-3 ruling was the latest in a string of losses for Trump’s post-election lawsuits. Judges in multiple battleground states have rejected his claims of fraud or irregularities. His lawsuit echoed claims that were earlier rejected by election officials in those counties during a recount that barely affected Biden’s winning margin of about 20,700 votes. Trump’s attorney Jim Troupis said he would immediately file the case in circuit court and expected to be back before the Supreme Court very soon. It was clear from their writings that the court recognizes the seriousness of these issues, and we look forward to taking the next step, he said in a statement.
In asking the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, Trump had argued that there wasn’t enough time to wage the legal battle by starting with a lower court, given the looming Dec. 14 date when presidential electors cast their votes. We do well as a judicial body to abide by time-tested judicial norms, even and maybe especially in high profile cases, Hagedorn wrote. Following this law is not disregarding our duty, as some of my colleagues suggest. It is following the law. Trump filed a similar lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday.
Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, in a dissent where she was joined by Justice Annette Ziegler, said she would have taken the case and referred it to lower courts for factual findings, which could then be reported back to the Supreme Court for a ruling. But she also questioned whether disqualifying ballots was appropriate, saying that “may be out of reach for a number of reasons. Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote that the court forsakes its duty by not determining whether elections officials complied with the law and the inaction will undermine the public’s confidence in elections.
Trump’s lawsuit challenged procedures that have been in place for years and never been found to be illegal. He claimed there were thousands of absentee ballots without a written application on file. He argued that the electronic log created when a voter requests a ballot online the way the vast majority are requested doesn’t meet the letter of the law. He also challenged ballots where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted a practice that has long been accepted and that the state elections commission told clerks was OK.