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Wisconsin Supreme Court Tosses Lawsuit Against Ballot Boxes

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


There’s more drama in the Badger State.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has rejected an election lawsuit brought by a conservative businessman in an effort to halt the use of absentee ballot boxes in future elections.

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Conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn sided with Democrats to deliver a 4-3 ruling to toss the case.

Hagedorn joined liberal justices in declining to hear the lawsuit filed against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Madison, Milwaukee, and others.

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The lawsuit was filed by Jere Fabick, a prominent Republican donor and president of Fabick Cat, the Caterpillar equipment and engine dealer.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported:

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Justices in the majority relied upon procedural reasons not to hear the case over concerns from a minority of conservative justices that the state’s highest court is avoiding taking on important cases.

Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States on Wednesday, vowing to end the ‘uncivil war’ in a deeply divided country reeling from a battered economy and a raging coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.

“While this court must not shrink back from deciding challenging or politically fraught questions properly before us, neither should we be eager to insert ourselves at the expense of time-tested judicial norms,” Hagedorn wrote for the majority.

The report added:

Hagedorn said Fabick’s arguments were not “cleanly presented,” that the case raised novel procedural arguments that would have prevented the court from addressing the meat of the case.

Fabick had appealed directly to the state’s high court to stop cities and towns from using absentee ballot drop boxes as well as from filling in missing witness address information on absentee ballots.

Fabick also sought to have the court deem illegal the practice of accepting the return of absentee ballots from individuals other than the electors themselves, practices used in cities and towns across Wisconsin during the November elections cleared by the state’s elections commission.

Absentee ballot boxes and community ballot collecting initiatives were heavily scrutinized both before and after the November election.

Fabick’s attorneys argued the elections practices challenged in the suit were not authorized by state law, and the Wisconsin Elections Commission and certain municipalities, particularly the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, overstepped state law.

Chief Justice Annette Ziegler and justices Patience Roggensack and Rebecca Bradley dissented.

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“The majority order denies Fabick’s petition. In order to do so, it labors on for four pages trying to excuse itself for preventing the court from reviewing critical issues of state-wide concern,” Roggensack wrote.

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