Wisconsin Supreme Court hears Donald Trump election challenge during rare weekend session

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Wisconsin Supreme Court hears Donald Trump election challenge during rare weekend session

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The entrance to the Wisconsin Supreme Court chambers in the state Capitol. 

In a rare weekend session, the Wisconsin Supreme Court this afternoon is hearing one of the last remaining election challenges from President just as a federal court on Saturday dismissed another one of Trump’s lawsuits seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s presidential election result. 

The state’s high court is expected to hand down a ruling ahead of Monday afternoon, when Wisconsin’s 10 presidential electors are set to vote for President-elect .

The hearing follows numerous defeats in court over the past week for Trump and his allies, who have attempted a litany of legal attempts to override the will of the people and overturn the presidential election. On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit from the state of Texas seeking to overturn the election results in Wisconsin and three other battleground states, and a Milwaukee County reserve judge handed Trump a defeat in his Wisconsin circuit court election challenge the high court is hearing at noon. 

Official results in Wisconsin show Biden winning the state by more than 20,600 votes, a thin margin nearly identical to Trump’s victory in 2016. In Trump’s case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, his attorneys are attempting to throw out about 221,000 ballots in heavily Democratic Dane and Milwaukee counties based on the argument that election officials there relied upon erroneous interpretations of state election law in determining which ballots should be counted. 

The Trump campaign has focused its efforts on those two counties despite the fact any of their allegations, if true, would have occurred across the state. The guidance elections officials in those two counties followed was consistent with guidance from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the agency created by the Legislature to advise local officials on matters of election administration. 

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And for the most part, the guidance followed in this year’s presidential election was the same guidance adhered to in 2016, when Trump won. On Friday, a reserve judge in Milwaukee County Circuit Court sided with Biden, ruling that election officials followed the law, affirming Biden’s win. 

The Trump campaign then appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case, which it accepted and put on the fast track. Last week, the high court rejected a request from the Trump campaign to bypass lower court and immediately take up the case. The court opted for the circuit court to adjudicate it first. 

The case represents an unusual plea for the courts to invalidate swaths of ballots deemed legal by multiple authorities by essentially changing the rules of the election after it has occurred. 

Legal experts have said the court would be highly unlikely to invalidate ballots after the election if voters were following the rules told to them by officials. If the court made any determination that changed the interpretation of existing election law, which is possible, it would likely apply to only future elections as to not disenfranchise voters. 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court consists of four conservative-backed members and three liberals, although one of the conservatives, Justice Brian Hagedorn, has proved to be a swing vote on the court. Last week, Hagedorn broke with his conservative colleagues who wanted the high court to immediately take up the case. 

Fave 5: Reporter Riley Vetterkind shares his top stories of 2020

It goes without saying this year has been a whirlwind, and it’s not even over yet. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our state and country with one of the foremost crises of the past century.

While some crises in our history managed to unite the nation, the story of this year’s crisis is much different. COVID-19 and the response to it have accelerated America’s and Wisconsin’s deep political divisions and leave our politics in a nearly constant state of disarray.

Here’s a look back at some of this year’s top stories in state government and politics. 

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2020-12-12T12:11:38-06:00December 12th, 2020|Categories: United States|Tags: , , |

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