Wisconsin Supreme Court Tosses Trump Bid to Invalidate Votes
(Bloomberg) -- Wisconsin’s highest court rejected President Donald Trump’s lawsuit seeking to throw out thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots in two big Democratic-leaning counties over alleged irregularities, ruling that he and his campaign waited too long to sue.
Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, should have brought their claims much sooner instead of waiting weeks after the Nov. 3 election, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said in a 4-3 decision Monday.
“The campaign’s delay in raising these issues was unreasonable in the extreme” and it was seeking a remedy that would be unfair to election officials, other candidates and voters of the affected counties, the majority said.
The state’s high court compared the timing to waiting until after the last play of the last game to start “challenging the rulebook adopted before the season began.” The court had rejected the case once before, ruling Trump needed to start the case first before a trial judge, which the president then did.
The ruling comes as President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is close to being affirmed by the Electoral College, which votes Monday.
Other lawsuits by the campaign have failed in battleground states across the country, as have several cases brought by GOP allies and a former campaign lawyer who alleged a vast Democratic conspiracy. The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected a Hail Mary suit brought by Texas to flip the election to Trump.
In the Wisconsin ruling, a dissenting judge, Patience Roggensack, blasted the majority for cutting the case short when “a significant portion of the public does not believe” the election was conducted fairly. Roggensack pointed to evidence that a decision by Milwaukee’s canvassing board to fix defective witness addresses on some ballots was based on “erroneous advice” that could lead to similar problems being “repeated again and again.”
“Once again, four justices on this court cannot be bothered with addressing what the statutes require to assure that absentee ballots are lawfully cast,” Roggensack said. “The electorate expects more of us, and we are capable of providing it.”
Justice Annette Ziegler, in a separate dissent, said the majority was playing a game of “gotcha” by claiming Trump and Pence had waited too long.
“The majority seems to create a new bright-line rule that the candidates and voters are without recourse and without any notice should the court decide to later conjure up an artificial deadline concluding that it prefers that something would have been done earlier,” Ziegler wrote. “That has never been the law, and it should not be today.”
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