Citing the Wisconsin statute that directs candidates who wish to appeal a recount to circuit court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday denied President Donald Trump’s petition in Trump v. Evers to take up its challenge of Wisconsin’s presidential election results.
“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,” Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote in a concurrence with the majority in the 4-3 order. “But challenges to election results are also governed by law.”
Hagedorn, a conservative, was joined by the Court’s three liberals, Jill Karofsky, Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet, in rejecting the Trump lawsuit.
Wisconsin statute, Hagedorn wrote, “provides that these actions should be filed in the circuit court, and spells out detailed procedures for ensuring their orderly and swift disposition.”
“I do think what they are doing is procedurally improper,” Evers’ attorney, Jeffrey Mandell, said of the Trump campaign’s petition to the Supreme Court before the Court issued its order. “An appeal from a recount must begin in a circuit court. That’s because it’s very fact-intensive, and trial courts are designed to examine the facts.”
In a dissent, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote, “If we do not shoulder our responsibilities, we leave future elections to flounder and potentially result in the public’s perception that Wisconsin elections are unfair.”
In a separate dissent, Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote that “the integrity of every election will be tarnished by the public’s mistrust until the Wisconsin Supreme Court accepts its responsibility to declare what the election laws say.”
Hagedorn replied to these criticisms: “Following this law is not disregarding our duty, as some of my colleagues suggest. It is following the law.”
The Trump campaign had sought to throw out more than 200,000 ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties, arguing that they were improperly cast under absentee voting procedures that have been in place for years. The campaign’s challenges of those ballots failed during the recount, and Gov. Tony Evers certified Wisconsin’s election results on Monday. 2020AP1971-OA