Michigan’s top court spikes election lawsuit by Trump allies

Protesters stand outside the Richard H. Austin state office building during a rally in Lansing, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Michigan's elections board is meeting to certify the state's presidential election results. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2020. The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an unprecedented request to take control of ballots and ballot boxes from the Nov. 3 election and appoint someone to investigate claims of vote-counting fraud in Detroit.

The court said it is “not persuaded that it can or should grant the requested relief.” The order was 4-3, with a Republican-nominated justice, Elizabeth Clement, joining three Democrats in throwing out the lawsuit.

The case was filed days after the Board of State Canvassers certified Joe Biden's 154,000-vote Michigan victory over President Donald Trump. It was another lawsuit aimed at changing the outcome of the election.

There is no evidence of widespread election fraud anywhere in the U.S., experts say.

“I consider it imprudent to hear this matter, a conclusion only amplified by my view that it is irresponsible to continue holding out the possibility of a judicial solution to a political dispute that needs to be resolved with finality,” Clement said.

Three dissenting conservative justices said they were in favor of at least hearing arguments.

“The case before the court is no small matter. Election disputes pose a unique test of a representative democracy’s ability to reflect the will of the people when it matters most,” Justice David Viviano said. “But it is a test our country has survived, one way or another, since its inception. ... By closing the courthouse door on these petitioners, the court today denies them any ability to have their claims fully considered by the judiciary.”

The lawsuit by Trump allies took aim at a number of issues, including the mailing of absentee ballot applications by the Democratic secretary of state months ago.

“The time to challenge this scheme may have been before the applications were mailed out — or at least before the absentee ballots were cast — rather than waiting to see the election outcome and then challenging it if unpalatable,” Clement said.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and justices Megan Cavanagh and Richard Bernstein joined Clement in dismissing the case but didn't offer separate remarks.


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