The Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision in a procedural ruling rejected a request from President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign Thursday to hear a lawsuit that would reject more than 221,000 ballots, ruling the case must first go through lower courts in accordance with state laws.
“I understand the impulse to immediately address the legal questions presented by this petition to ensure the recently completed election was conducted in accordance with the law,” conservative swing Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote. “But challenges to election results are also governed by law.”
JUST IN: In a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided it will not hear a lawsuit filed by Trump seeking to remove over 221,000 votes from Wisconsin’s certified presidential election vote total.
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) December 3, 2020
Hagedorn said the lawsuit must start in the lower courts so that the factual disputes can be decided.
“I do not know how we could address all the legal issues raised in the petition without sorting through these matters, a task we are neither well-positioned nor institutionally designed to do.”
Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack dissented, arguing that there is a time constraint in regards to certifying the election results.
“Four justices of this court are ignoring that there are significant time constraints that may preclude our deciding significant legal issues that cry out for resolution by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.”
Roggensack, joined by Justice Annette Ziegler in her dissent, said she would have heard the case and referred the fact finding to the lower courts, which could then report back to the high court for a ruling.
The Trump campaign asked the court to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in Milwaukee and Dane Counties, arguing irregularities such as election clerks filling in information on ballots missing information violated state law, according to the campaign’s complaint. However, the state’s Elections Commission gave the clerks the go-ahead to fix the ballots, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Roggensack said the court should have heard the case to determine whether the Elections Commission gave proper advice to the clerks on how to conduct voting.
The campaign also challenged votes from voters that declared themselves “indefinitely confined” which exempts them from having to provide voter identification
Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley called the majority’s decision a “death blow to democracy” in her dissent.
“The majority’s failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election. It will also profoundly and perhaps irreparably impact all local, statewide, and national elections going forward, with grave consequences to the State of Wisconsin and significant harm to the rule of law.”
Jim Troupis, the campaign’s Wisconsin counsel, said the court has made it clear that the issues raised are serious, according to an official statement.
“It was clear from [the Wisconsin Supreme Court] writings that the court recognizes the seriousness of these issues, and we look forward to taking the next step. We fully expect to be back in front of the Supreme Court very soon.”
There are two other lawsuits pending with the state’s high court seeking to invalidate ballots, according to the AP.