Breaking: Supreme Court Rejects Another Elections Suit, Sharp Words from Conservative Justice

Elections

Breaking: Supreme Court Rejects Another Elections Suit, Sharp Words from Conservative Justice

By Will Kenneally

December 4, 2020

FacebookTwitterGoogle ClassroomEmail
Vote Here sign

"Vote Here" sign at a polling place in Fitchburg Nov. 3, 2020.


The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected another challenge to the state election results, in a suit brought by the Wisconsin Voter Alliance. Conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn joined the court's liberals in a 4-3 decision.

In a concurring opinion, Hagedorn had strong words for the plaintiffs who wanted the high court to throw out the entire election results and have the state Legislature determine who will represent the state in the electoral college.

“This petition falls far short of the kind of compelling evidence and legal support we would undoubtedly need to countenance the court-ordered disenfranchisement of every Wisconsin voter,” he wrote.

He said the plaintiffs failed to provide enough evidence of voter fraud to support having the court consider the case. He added that the petitioners struck at the state’s faith in its elections systems.

“It can be easy to blithely move on to the next case with a petition so obviously lacking, but this is sobering,” Hagedorn wrote. “The relief being sought by the petitioners is the most dramatic invocation of judicial power I have ever seen.”

“Judicial acquiescence to such entreaties built on so flimsy a foundation would do indelible damage to every future election,” he added. “Once the door is opened to judicial invalidation of presidential election results, it will be awfully hard to close that door again.”

Here & Now senior political reporter Zac Schultz breaks down the court cases challenging the state's election results during a Dec. 4 segment.

Chief Justice Pat Roggensack argued however, that the court needed to hear the case.

“This is the third time that a majority of this court has turned its back on pleas from the public to address a matter of statewide concern,” she wrote, joined by the court's other conservatives.

“Those are scary thoughts, but Justice Hagedorn has the cart before the horse...Granting a petition does not carry with it the court's view that the remedy sought is appropriate.”

This suit is part of multiple challenges to Wisconsin’s elections in both state and federal court. Earlier this week, the state Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge by the Trump campaign and referred it to county court. The Racine County reserve judge presiding over the case set arguments to be heard no later than Friday morning.

This is in addition to a federal case the Trump campaign is pursuing to have the Republican-controlled state Legislature determine the results of the election. The court will hear arguments Thursday morning on the federal suit.

This is all ahead of the Dec. 14 deadline, when the electoral college will meet to cast final votes in the presidential election. Wisconsin’s election results were certified by the governor and chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Monday for Joe Biden.


Click Youth Media

Click is PBS Wisconsin Education’s youth media initiative.

We provide media production professional development for educators, support student journalism, and offer PBS Media Literacy Educator Certification to help teachers as they critically consume and create media with their students.

Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read full statement here.