SCOTUS rejects Indy lawyer’s Trump election lawsuit

An Indianapolis law firm’s suit seeking to overturn the results of the Wisconsin election on behalf of former President Donald Trump was rejected Monday by the United States Supreme Court, putting an end to the challenge.


William Bock III and attorneys at Indianapolis-based Kroger Gardis & Regas LLP used the suit to raise challenges to how the election was conducted weeks after Trump lost the Badger State to President Joe Biden by more than 20,000 votes.

The high court, without comment, denied a petition for writ of certiorari in its orders list Monday. The case, Donald Trump v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, et al., 20-883, was distributed for the court’s conference Friday.

Denial of the cert petition was the final stop for one of scores of lawsuits Trump and his allies filed that unsuccessfully sought through state and federal courts to overturn results of elections in several battleground states. At the district court, a Wisconsin judge called the remedy Trump and his Indianapolis legal team sought “extraordinary.”

“A sitting president who did not prevail in his bid for reelection has asked for federal court help in setting aside the popular vote based on disputed issues of election administration, issues he plainly could have raised before the vote occurred,” wrote Judge Brett Ludwig, a Trump appointee who heard the case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. “This Court has allowed plaintiff the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits. In his reply brief, plaintiff ‘asks that the Rule of Law be followed.’ … It has been.”

Trump’s Indianapolis legal team fared no better at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a panel of three judges appointed by Republican presidents agreed in an opinion issued on Christmas Eve. Judge Michael Scudder, a Trump appointee, wrote the opinion joined by Senior Judge Joel Flaum and Judge Ilana Rovner.

“The district court concluded that the President’s challenges lacked merit, as he objected only to the administration of the election, yet the Electors Clause, by its terms, addresses the authority of the State’s Legislature to prescribe the manner of appointing its presidential electors. So, too, did the district court conclude that the President’s claims would fail even under a broader, alternative reading of the Electors Clause that extended to a state’s conduct of the presidential election,” Scudder wrote. “We agree that Wisconsin lawfully appointed its electors in the manner directed by its Legislature and add that the President’s claim also fails because of the unreasonable delay that accompanied the challenges the President now wishes to advance against Wisconsin’s election procedures.”

Bock issued a statement pointing to Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent to the denial of cert in a Pennsylvania election case, in which Thomas and two other justices noted state legislatures’ roles in determining the manner of elections and the “unusually high number of petitions and emergency applications contesting those changes,” which included Trump v. Wisconsin Elections Commission.

“As Justice Thomas explained, ‘[c]hanging the rules in the middle of the game is bad enough. Such rule changes by officials who may lack authority to do so is even worse. When those changes alter election results, they can severely damage the electoral system on which our self governance so heavily depends,’” Bock’s statement said. “He observed, such last minute changes ‘sow confusion and ultimately dampen confidence in the integrity and fairness of elections.’ This is precisely what resulted from the changes made to Wisconsin election procedures by non-legislative, non-elected officials.”

“… (W) e were hopeful that the Supreme Court would grant certiorari in the Wisconsin election case to address the issue of changes to state election laws by non-legislative, non-elected officials in Presidential elections, as Article II of the Constitution vests authority for such changes solely in the legislature of each state,” Bock said.

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