Karofsky Calls Trump Suit ‘Un-American’
Justice charges suit is "so your king can stay in power” at state Supreme Court hearing.
Liberal justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court grilled an attorney for President Donald Trump‘s campaign during oral arguments Saturday, with one calling the president’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s election results racist and “un-American.”
If there was any doubt, the case highlighted fierce opposition to Trump’s arguments by some members of the court, which has already ruled 4-3 to reject two other lawsuits filed by allies of the president.
Justice Jill Karofsky, one of the court’s liberals who was elected with the help of Democrats in April, told Trump campaign attorney Jim Troupis the lawsuit was discriminatory against voters in Dane and Milwaukee.
“Two counties that are targeted because of their diverse populations. Because they’re urban. I presume because they vote Democratic,” Karofsky said. “This lawsuit, Mr. Troupis, smacks of racism.”
Repeatedly during arguments, Karofsky pressed Troupis to show specific examples of voter fraud, which are not included in the Trump campaign’s lawsuit.
“What you want is you want us to overturn this election so that your king can stay in power,” Karofsky said. “And that is so un-American. And for you to say that anyone in Wisconsin engaged in fraud, for you to perpetuate that fallacy on the people of Wisconsin and the people of the United States in America, in what has been called the most significant election in our lifetime, is nothing short of shameful.”
Karofsky told Troupis America was founded on the idea of self-governance, not “governance from a king.” Troupis countered with his own take.
“I believe that this country was founded on the principle of the rule of law,” Troupis said. “When we forget the rule of law, when we forget to enforce mandatory statutes as are involved here, we have lost our country.”
Those include roughly 170,000 ballots for people who voted in person before Election Day. The Trump campaign argues they didn’t use the same application as other absentee voters who cast ballots by mail.
The Trump campaign challenged another 28,000 ballots from voters who said they were “indefinitely confined,” which lets them submit an absentee ballot application without providing a copy of a photo ID.
Trump also wants to strike about 5,500 ballots where clerks completed a witness’ address, which is allowed under Wisconsin Election Commission guidance.
In addition, Trump would reject about 17,000 ballots collected at “Democracy in the Park” events sponsored by the city of Madison earlier this year. Republicans raised concerns about those events before they were held but never challenged them in court.
Repeatedly during arguments Saturday, Karofsky, who is from Dane County, and Justice Rebecca Dallet, who is from Milwaukee County, pressed Troupis on why Trump was only challenging ballots in those counties and not others.
“You are alleging to this court that there were improper procedures taking place. Yet the only votes you want to throw out are the votes in the two largest counties — the two most diverse nonwhite, urban counties — and the two counties that have the most significant votes for Joe Biden,” said Dallet.
Troupis suggested Biden’s campaign could have asked for a recount in Wisconsin’s 70 other counties had it wanted to.
Conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn, the court’s swing vote on several recent cases, said much less during arguments Saturday, but he did ask attorneys questions about the “laches” principle typically followed by courts in election challenges. Put simply, “laches” prevents parties from retroactively bringing lawsuits for issues that could have been disputed ahead of time.
Chief Justice Patience Roggensack focused her remarks on Madison’s Democracy in the Park events, where poll workers collected ballots at parks during two weekends before early voting started. Early voting began Oct. 20 while Democracy in the Park took place on two weekends in late September and early October.
“My concern is that this is early voting,” Roggensack said. “People brought their ballots. Somebody witnessed the ballots for them, and they collected the voted ballots.”
Also potentially telling during Saturday’s arguments were comments from Justice Rebecca Bradley, the court’s most outspoken conservative. Bradley questioned whether the court could overturn ballots from all “indefinitely confined” voters.
“The problem with that that I see is that there are people who were probably legitimately, and in accordance with the law, indefinitely confined,” Bradley said. “And so that would require the court to toss those ballots as well.”
Bradley asked Troupis whether it would be helpful if the court were to address some of the claims the Trump campaign raised in its lawsuit even if justices decided he had filed too late to overturn the results of the election.
For Trump and his allies, the state Supreme Court case is the last one still pending in a Wisconsin courtroom.
Another federal lawsuit seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s election, filed by attorney Sidney Powell, was rejected late Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Pepper. Powell has appealed the ruling.
Liberal Justice Calls Trump’s Lawsuit To Overturn Election ‘Un-American’ was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
- Data Wonk: New Voters Won the 2020 Election - Bruce Thompson - Jan 20th, 2021
- GOP State Legislators Asked Pence to Not Certify Election - Melanie Conklin - Jan 14th, 2021
- Rep. Hintz: Condemns Republican Legislators’ Lies and Dangerous Rhetoric - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Jan 14th, 2021
- Tiffany, Fitzgerald Object To Some Biden Electors - Shawn Johnson - Jan 7th, 2021
- Sen. Baldwin: “It’s Disgraceful” - Urban Milwaukee - Jan 6th, 2021
- Rep Moore Blames Trump for Today’s Chaos - Urban Milwaukee - Jan 6th, 2021
- Rep. Gallagher: “We are witnessing absolute banana republic crap in the United States Capitol right now” - Urban Milwaukee - Jan 6th, 2021
- Back in the News: Cleta Mitchell Resigns from Foley Firm - Bruce Murphy - Jan 5th, 2021
- Gallagher Assails GOP Push to Nullify Election - Rob Mentzer - Jan 5th, 2021
- Back in the News: Foley Firm Faces Blowback on Trump Call - Bruce Murphy - Jan 5th, 2021
Read more about 2020 General Election here
- Federal Judge Tears Apart Election Lawsuit - Graham Kilmer - Jan 4th, 2021
- Op Ed: Hagedorn Wisconsin’s Person of The Year - John Torinus - Dec 30th, 2020
- Trump Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Wisconsin’s Election - Graham Kilmer - Dec 29th, 2020
- Trump campaign: Takes Wisconsin constitutional fight to Supreme Court - Donald Trump - Dec 29th, 2020
- Wisconsin Republicans Join New Federal Election Lawsuit - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 23rd, 2020
- Justices Face Anti-Semitic, Misogynist Attacks After Trump Ruling - Ruth Conniff - Dec 18th, 2020
- Ron Johnson Parrots Trump’s Rejected Legal Arguments - Shawn Johnson - Dec 17th, 2020
- Murphy’s Law: Why Republicans Won’t End Election Complaints - Bruce Murphy - Dec 14th, 2020
- Statement of Republican Electors Meeting - Republican Party of Wisconsin - Dec 14th, 2020
- AG Kaul Issues Statement on Wisconsin Supreme Court Ruling on the Challenge to Wisconsin’s Election Results - Josh Kaul - Dec 14th, 2020
Read more about Trump's Election Lawsuits here