Graham Kilmer

Supreme Court Denies Trump’s Wisconsin Election Lawsuit

Lawsuit targeted 220,000 absentee ballots in Milwaukee and Dane counties.

By - Feb 22nd, 2021 04:06 pm
U.S. Supreme Court Building. Photo is in the Public Domain.

U.S. Supreme Court Building. Photo is in the Public Domain.

The U.S. Supreme Court has put the final nail in a lawsuit brought by former President Donald Trump attempting to overturn the election results in Wisconsin.

On Monday the court denied an appeal from Trump’s legal team to review the case, which had previously been tossed by a circuit court judge and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The lawsuit was aimed squarely at disenfranchising Democratic voters in the state, asking the court to throw out 220,000 absentee ballots from Milwaukee and Dane counties.

The suit specifically targeted votes cast by people who had indicated they were voting absentee because they were indefinitely confined. It also argued that the form used to file an in-person absentee ballot — early voting — was not a sufficient application. It argued that municipal officials couldn’t provide witness signatures. Finally, the suit tried to have ballots collected at events held by the City of Madison where voters could turn in absentee ballots invalidated.

Had the absentee ballots from these two Democratic strongholds been invalidated Trump would have had a majority of votes and secured the state’s 10 electors.

Jim Troupis, an attorney from Cross Plains, represented Trump in the case. Troupis himself voted absentee in the Presidential election. Had his lawsuit succeeded, he would have invalidated his own ballot.

Reserve Circuit Court Judge Stephen Simanek heard the case and concluded that the election officials in Dane and Milwaukee counties properly and transparently conducted the recount and that the Trump campaign did not prove that state election laws were not followed.

Troupis and the Trump campaign next appealed the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Despite the court being weighted in favor of Republicans with a majority of conservative justices, the court narrowly rejected the lawsuit in a 4-3 vote.

Justice Brian Hagedorn joined the court’s three liberal justices — Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet, and Jill Karofsky — and wrote the majority opinion in which he said the request to have ballots from indefinitely confined voters rejected “has no basis in reason or law; it is wholly without merit.” And the other arguments brought by the campaign were null, he wrote, because the Laches Doctrine prohibits a plaintiff from unreasonably delaying a claim. In short, because the Trump campaign did not sue following his victory in 2016, when the same laws and practices were in effect as in 2020, the campaign had no standing to make the claims because of the delay in bringing the case.

Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to take the case up. It denied a motion brought by the Trump campaign in early January, less than 10 days before President Joe Biden was to be sworn in, to expedite review of the case. Now, it has also denied a request for a Writ of Certiorari, which is an order from the court to review the outcome of a case from a lower court.

This means the decision of Judge Simanek will stand as the final ruling for the case.

Categories: Politics, Weekly

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