Democracy Ekes Out a Win in Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Suit

President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the presidential election suffered another blow Monday as the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling, rejected Trump’s lawsuit.

This was the court’s fourth ruling within 10 days against the president, and each ruling was 4-3 — an uncomfortably narrow margin when the health of our democracy is on the line. Justice Brian Hagedorn, who the AP characterizes as a “conservative swing” judge, joined three liberal justices in the majority in each case. In the most recent suit, the court ruled that one of Trump’s claims was without merit, and the rest were brought too late.

“Our laws allow the challenge flag to be thrown regarding various aspects of election administration,” Hagedorn wrote. “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.”

Trump was trying to invalidate upwards of 220,000 ballots cast in heavily Democratic Milwaukee and Dane counties, claiming that proper procedures were not followed when the state made it easier to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. Those are the same two counties where Trump asked for a recount that ended with President-elect Joe Biden getting 87 additional votes. Ultimately, Biden won the state by a 21,000 vote margin (0.6 percent).

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, during arguments on Saturday, Judge Jill Karofsky told Trump’s lawyers that their case “smacks of racism” because they targeted the most racially diverse areas of the state.

Karofsky joined Justice Rebecca Dallett in concluding that the election was fair. “Wisconsin voters complied with the election rulebook,” they wrote. “No penalties were committed and the final score was the result of a free and fair election.”

Trump, who in his business life before the presidency, frequently used lawsuits to bully others into giving him what he wanted, has submitted more than 50 lawsuits contesting the election, the vast majority of which have been rejected by the courts. The Wisconsin ruling comes just days after the Supreme Court refused to hear a Texas lawsuit claiming the election results in four swing states were not valid.

But let’s not forget that all of these lawsuits are smoke and mirrors, a craven attempt by Trump to shield himself from being branded the loser of this election. And he doesn’t mind if he undermines the public’s faith in our democracy and institutions in the process. But he did lose. By a definitive margin. And on January 20, 2021, he will no longer be the president.

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