Wisconsin Supreme Court Rejects Trump Election Lawsuit

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Wisconsin’s Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision Monday rejected a lawsuit from President Donald Trump’s campaign attempting to overturn his election loss in the battleground state.

The court’s three liberal justices were joined by conservative swing Justice Brian Hagedorn in ruling that three of the Trump campaign’s election claims were filed too late and one claim lacked merit, the Associated Press reported. The decision may have effectively ended the Trump campaign’s election challenge in the state.

The president’s lawsuit against Wisconsin’s elections commission sought to invalidate more than 221,000 absentee ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties for purportedly failing to meet certain requirements. The lawsuit also requested the Republican-led state legislature to appoint pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court previously declined to hear the lawsuit until it had gone through the state’s lower courts. A state court judge ruled against the election challenge Dec. 11 and the Trump campaign appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The court’s ruling Monday relied on a legal doctrine mandating that plaintiffs in a lawsuit should not unreasonably delay in seeking relief, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Hagedorn said the Trump campaign delayed in bringing its lawsuit forward and that ruling on an election more than one month later was “unreasonable in the extreme.”

“Our laws allow the challenge flag to be thrown regarding various aspects of election administration,” Hagedorn wrote in the majority opinion, using a sports analogy. “The challenges raised by the Campaign in this case, however, come long after the last play or even the last game; the Campaign is challenging the rulebook adopted before the season began.”

But the three dissenting conservative justices, including Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, argued that the court should have ruled on whether the absentee ballots in question were valid instead of rejecting the campaign’s claims outright, according to the Associated Press.

“A significant portion of the public does not believe that the November 3, 2020, presidential election was fairly conducted,” Roggensack wrote. “Once again, four justices on this court cannot be bothered with addressing what the statutes require to assure that absentee ballots are lawfully cast.”

Wisconsin’s electors met inside Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ office roughly an hour after the court’s decision to cast the state’s 10 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, WKOW reported. (RELATED: Trump Lawyer Says New Wisconsin Lawsuit ‘Won’t Change’ Biden’s Electoral Win)

But Republican state lawmakers refused to accept the decision and met at the State Capitol separately to put forward their own group of electors, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.