Election 2020

Another Court Loss for Trump Campaign in Wisconsin

A recently appointed "Trump Judge" explains why the Trump campaign's legal claims are without merit

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Friday evening, the Supreme Court refused to hear Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's effort to invalidate the certified election results in four states, concluding Texas lacked standing to challenge election administration in other states. On Saturday, a federal district court judge in Wisconsin issued an opinion explaining why, on the merits, Texas's substantive arguments were without merit. And, as occurred on the Supreme Court, a judge appointed by President Trump, Brett Ludwig, ruled against him.

Judge Ludwig's opinion in Trump v. Wisconsin Elections Commission crisply and clearly explains why the allegations that Wisconsin's election results were the result of unlawful changes in state election rules are without merit.

Judge Ludwig's opinion begins:

This is an extraordinary case. Plaintiff Donald J. Trump is the current president of the United States, having narrowly won the state of Wisconsin's electoral votes four years ago, through a legislatively mandated popular vote, with a margin of just over 22,700 votes. In this lawsuit, he seeks to set aside the results of the November 3, 2020 popular vote in Wisconsin, an election in which the recently certified results show he was defeated by a similarly narrow margin of just over 20,600 votes. Hoping to secure federal court help in undoing his defeat, plaintiff asserts that the defendants, a group of some 20 Wisconsin officials, violated his rights under the "Electors Clause" in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. Plaintiff seizes upon three pieces of election guidance promulgated by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC)—a creation of the Wisconsin Legislature that is specifically authorized to issue guidance on the state election statutes—and argues that the guidance, along with election officials' conduct in reliance on that guidance, deviated so significantly from the requirements of Wisconsin's election statutes that the election was itself a "failure."

Plaintiff's requests for relief are even more extraordinary. He seeks declarations that defendants violated his Constitutional rights and that the violations "likely" tainted more than 50,000 ballots. Based on this declaratory relief, his complaint seeks a "remand" of the case to the Wisconsin Legislature to consider and remedy the alleged violations. Plaintiff's ask has since continued to evolve. In his briefing, he says he wants "injunctive relief" requiring the Governor "to issue a certificate of determination consistent with, and only consistent with, the appointment of electors by the Wisconsin legislature." In argument, counsel made plain that plaintiff wants the Court to declare the election a failure, with the results discarded, and the door thus opened for the Wisconsin Legislature to appoint Presidential Electors in some fashion other than by following the certified voting results.

Defendants want plaintiff's claims thrown out, arguing his complaint fails to state a claim and raising several knotty issues of federal jurisdiction. With the Electoral College meeting just days away, the Court declined to address the issues in piecemeal fashion and instead provided plaintiff with an expedited hearing on the merits of his claims. On the morning of the hearing, the parties reached agreement on a stipulated set of facts and then presented arguments to the Court. Given the significance of the case, the Court promised, and has endeavored, to provide a prompt decision. Having reviewed the caselaw and plaintiff's allegations, the Court concludes it has jurisdiction to resolve plaintiff's claims, at least to the extent they rest on federal law, specifically the Electors Clause. And, on the merits of plaintiff's claims, the Court now further concludes that plaintiff has not proved that defendants violated his rights under the Electors Clause. To the contrary, the record shows Wisconsin's Presidential Electors are being determined in the very manner directed by the Legislature, as required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. Plaintiff's complaint is therefore dismissed with prejudice.

Judge Ludwig walks through the jurisdictional questions, concluding that he may address the Trump campaign's claims before explaining why these claims fail on the merits. As Judge Ludwig explains, Article II of the Constitution empowers state legislatures to determine the "manner" in which presidential electors are selected, and this allows state legislatures to delegate substantial responsibility for election administration to an agency like the Wisconsin Election Commission. Further, when the WEC exercises such authority, it does not in any way violate Article II. This is significant because the substantive claims in Wisconsin are parallel to the substantive claims made about the elections in Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania in various suits, including Texas v. Pennsylvania, and the vast majority of such claims are equally without merit.

Judge Ludwig's opinion concludes:

Plaintiff's Electors Clause claims fail as a matter of law and fact. The record establishes that Wisconsin's selection of its 2020 Presidential Electors was conducted in the very manner established by the Wisconsin Legislature, "[b]y general ballot at the general election." Wis. Stat. §8.25(1). Plaintiff's complaints about defendants' administration of the election go to the implementation of the Wisconsin Legislature's chosen manner of appointing Presidential Electors, not to the manner itself. Moreover, even if "Manner" were stretched to include plaintiff's implementation objections, plaintiff has not shown a significant departure from the Wisconsin Legislature's chosen election scheme.

This is an extraordinary case. 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. 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." (Pl. Br., ECF No. 109.) It has been.

Some Trump supporters are inclined to suggest the campaign's court losses are the result of progressive judicial activism or #Resistance judging. This is nonsense. Dozens of election suits have been filed, and dozens of judges of all political stripes and judicial philosophies have ruled against the claims put forward by the Trump campaign and its allies. In this case, the opinion was written by a judge appointed by President Trump in September. Trump and his allies claim they want their legal claims heard by judges who will apply the law. They have been.

UPDATE: Rick Pildes has more on the decision at the ElectionLawBlog.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: December 13, 1873

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  1. Make America Great Again 2024

    1. You got no issues with a guy so clearly established above as advocating for an antidemocratic result?

      1. You got no issues with a guy trying all the legal options he can think of?

        1. Tired of winning yet, bigots?

          Since the mid-’50s, I mean.

          1. Democrats can only win by cheating. They will make the US a permanent one party state as they have with California.

            1. Here’s a factual tidbit for you: California is not a one-party State.

              Do you ever get tired of tasting the bullshit which comes out of your mouth?

          2. “Bigots.” You clever Dick, you.

        2. Filing dozens of baseless suits trying to throw out tens of millions of legal ballots while spewing lies on Twitter and cable news about imaginary voter fraud is technically legal, but still highly undemocratic. Calling them “legal options” is a bit of stretch. I could file a Write of Execution with the Supreme Court asking for all the residents of Maine to be shot, and that filing would not be illegal, but still very wrong and disturbing.

        3. I’ve got lots of issues. Among them, several people have been killed in more street battles brought on by the president encouraging his cult to take to the streets and filled their heads with tales of fraud and stolen elections. Several people shot and stabbed in my home state over this weekend.

          Those deaths are squarely on Trump and his cult.

          Denounce his lies for what they are, or be an enemy of America. Things are not usually this simple, but this is.

          1. Several people have been killed in street battles? Sure. Your grasp of reality is no better than the “rampant fraud” folks.

          2. several people have been killed in more street battles brought on by the president encouraging his cult to take to the streets and filled their heads with tales of fraud and stolen elections

            My goodness you’ve stretched the words “brought on by” to their breaking point. Did you mean something more like “happening subsequently to?”

            1. Do you approve of the Proud Boys and their tactics?

              1. Do you chase squirrels for a hobby?

                1. Considering Proud Boys are the ones who did the thing described in ‘several people shot and stabbed’ in DC, I’d say it’s hardly whattaboutism.

                  1. Considering Proud Boys are the ones who did the thing described in ‘several people shot and stabbed’ in DC, I’d say it’s hardly whattaboutism.

                    You are your own personal disinformation channel, my friend. I’d ask for factual backup, but by now I understand that’s not your style.

                    1. Shots fired by one proud boy, counterprotestor hit and on the ground now. #OlympiaProtest
                      https://twitter.com/Shauna_Sowersby/status/1337846690884141056

                    2. #ProudBoys ruthlessly assault a non-violent couple tonight in DC. #DCProtests
                      https://twitter.com/indesist/status/1337979973924163586

                    3. Seeing some ugly, violent scenes tonight in downtown DC. Brawls, beatings, harassment of anyone perceived by Proud Boys as “antifa.” Here’s one that just happened near Thomas Circle. Two young Black men were the targets. No police here, though they were on other streets
                      https://twitter.com/HannahAllam/status/1337934372759068673

                    4. You are your own personal disinformation channel, my friend. I’d ask for factual backup, but by now I understand that’s not your style.

                      Just because you don’t want to believe it doesn’t mean I’m lying.

                    5. It’s cute how you jumped in defending the hyperbole of “people killed in street battles” and “several people shot and stabbed” by the Proud Boys, and the best you can do is scrape up Twitter posts showing contextless snippets of unidentifiable people fighting from hundreds of feet away and (this takes the cake) a video of a sole dude holding a Trump flag with both hands being chased/maced by a crowd of Antifa thugs incredibly labeled as “Shots fired by one proud boy, counterprotestor hit and on the ground now.” People as usual counting on folks just reading the tweet and not actually watching the video.

                      That’s pretty pathetic gruel, even for you.

                    6. You quote the thesis here at 3:07. It was not about killings.
                      Changing goalposts is as bare an admission of defeat as I’ve seen from you.

                    7. 1. Your little set of mislabeled Twitter vignettes shows neither killings nor shootings/stabbings by Proud Boys.

                      2. You yourself tied the Proud Boys to killings at 2:23.

                      I understand you’re out of moves and are trying to distract. But come on.

              2. Do you approve of antifa and BLM and their tactics?

                1. Not Antifa, as I’ve posted here quite a few times before. Yeah BLM. Because they’re not rioting, despite your attempt to conflate.

                  1. BLM is not rioting? LOL.

                    What do you call it when they attack outdoor diners at restaurants? When a mob of them traps a diner and force them to speak their slogan.

                    How about when they block traffic and pull people out of their cars and beat the shit out them?

                    BLM is violent.

                    1. Them?

                      How does one spot BLM?

              3. “Do you approve of the Proud Boys and their tactics?”

                Too late for such concern. Months of left wing violence openly or tacitly approved by actual government officials.

                When will you learn that the other side always gets a turn at bat?

                1. That’s not how this works. Under no moral calculus is it cool to say ‘the other side was bad, now it’s our turn for political violence.’

                  All you’re doing is advocating for political violence. All the rest is just rationalization.

                  At least Ed is nuts. You’re the worst.

                  1. “no moral calculus ”

                    Not talking about “moral calculus”, just reality.

                    When one side engages in political violence without punishment , the other side will eventually respond in kind.

                    9 months of tolerance and even approval of arson, looting, beatings by your side leaves you lacking any moral standing in any event.

                    1. So, are you now basically cool with killing liberals in the streets, because that’s what reality requires?

                    2. “are you now basically cool with killing liberals in the streets”

                      Don’t get burned by those strawmen.

                      Nobody should be killed on the streets and at no point did I imply I approved of it.

                      Learn some history, reaction always follows revolt. Left wing violence [minimized and tolerated by you], left unchecked for months, will sooner or later lead to opposing violence.

                      The time to stop liberals being stabbed was 9 months ago, but you thought the left wing violence would help your political goals.

                    3. I asked because I wanted to know. Because you seem to be making excuses for right-wing street violence, and I’m not seeing any limiting principle to your nihilistic rationalization.

                      You’re Ed-ing very hard with your ‘I’m not approving, I’m just predicting.’ But I’m glad you haven’t gone full mask-off yet.

                    4. Nobody should be killed on the streets and at no point did I imply I approved of it.

                      You absolutely approve of it. You’re either for violence or against it, and you’re not against this.

              4. At this point? Please don’t ask me to answer that.

                Personally, I’ve been f***ed over by the (civil) legal system more times than I care to think about it. Maybe half the time I was in the wrong, maybe 4/5ts of the time, but not all of it….

                I looked at Donald Trump as “hope & change” — “hope & change” that was very clearly sabotaged, but I still had hope.

                Now I have no hope….

          3. Last I heard, some antifa goon had shot and killed a Trump supporter. Then there was the Seattle zone which had a couple of murders. Don’t forget the Republican baseball game shot up by a Democrat.

            1. We’re talking about this weekend. Don’t forget the guy whose mom drove him across state lines with a gun to shoot some protesters.

              That’s a dumb game. The Proud Boys were just roaming the national mall beating randos up; say what you will that’s not an Antifa or BLM method, that’s these wackadoos.

              1. Don’t forget the guy whose mom drove him across state lines with a gun to shoot some protesters.

                So simply being a known lying sack of shit isn’t enough for you, and you’re now going for dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks lying sack of shit status? The “his mom drove him across state lines with a gun” trope was well established as bullshit within days of the incident…and the “to shoot some protesters” add-on is beyond asinine, even by your low-as-whale-shit-at-the-bottom-of-the-Mariana-Trench standards.

                1. Huh.

                  I was wondering what happened to the dumbest, least truthful poster on the VC.

                  Like everyone else, I just assumed you were posting as Dr. Ed.

                  1. Nah. Ed’s nuts. WYOT’s hateful.

                    1. I hate the willfully dishonest regurgitation of agenda-driven bullshit. You’re cool with it and actively defend it, so long as it comes from those on your side. I sleep well with the knowledge of where I am in that comparison.

                    2. Yeah, I’m sure you sleep like a baby. You’re a delightful person.

                2. I was wondering what happened to the dumbest, least truthful poster on the VC.

                  You lost track of yourself?

              2. “Don’t forget the guy whose mom drove him across state lines with a gun to shoot some protesters.”

                If you are referring to Kyle Rittenhouse, no, his mother did not drive him up here to Kenosha on the day of the riots where he shot several people (He claims in self defense).

                Fact-checking the Kenosha shootings involving Jacob Blake, Kyle Rittenhouse

                And yes, the Proud Boys are a bunch of nut jobs.

                1. You’re the first of the Trumpists on here to condemn political violence from the right. This is Not Good.

                  You linked fact check does not make the case you claim it does. What do you think it contradicts?

                  1. I am not a Trumpist. I thought Trump the lesser evil against Biden, but I would have preferred both of them losing (yes, I know that’s not a realistic policy)

                    There is supposedly a photo of his mother holding a rifle in Kenosha. In point of fact, that photo was taken two days earlier in Madison.

                    Everything I recall reading at the time is that he caught a ride up to Kenosha with friends also coming to Kenosha to participate in counter protests.

                    I live less than 10 miles from where the riots and the shootings in Kenosha happened.

                    1. policy->possibility.

              3. “We’re talking about this weekend. ”

                Convenient. Let’s ignore the entirety of the last 9 months.

                1. This thread follows from De Oppresso Liber’s post. If you want to start another thread arguing that the past 9 months mean the right gets to start stabbing people, go ahead.

                  1. “Gets”? Not a matter of approval.

                    “will” do so because they saw the other group of idiots get away with it.

                    You expect a monopoly on street violence by one side because they went first. Naive or stupid, can’t tell.

                    1. Nah, your excusing it.

                      You suck.

                    2. “your”

                      you are

                    3. Got me there!

                      Just saying ‘this is the backlash, whatcha gonna do’ is denial of agency of your side in service of allowing their violence.

                      I said at the time we should throw the book at the rioters (most here said until I said that about the protesters I must love violence). You can’t be moved to go that far, eh?

                    4. “denial of agency of your side in service of allowing their violence”

                      DC is controlled by your side, so is Olympia. You stop it.

              4. What, 6 months of violence from the left doesn’t count because it wasn’t this weekend? Come on, man, be objective.

                The Proud Boys are a bunch of wannabe nazi assholes. But the left has been doing it for a long time, with no criticism from the left’s leadership. If Trump had won the election the entire country would be on fire right now.

                You really didn’t think the right wasn’t gonna start this shit from their side?

                1. I’m not saying it doesn’t count. I reply in more detail to you on left and right violence generally below.

                  I’m saying 1) the argument here is about De Oppresso Liber blaming Trump for the violence yesterday, and people’s excuses of it,
                  and 2) any past left-wing violence does not make recent right-wing violence okay.

                  Lots of Trump supporters here seem to be fine with right wing violence, and that’s pretty screwed up. You are not one of those,

                  1. I don’t have a strong opinion as to Trump’s responsibility for the violence yesterday. I don’t believe that Trump assertively wants violence in the streets – as flawed as he is (and maybe I’m just naive) I just can’t put that on somebody without something much more overt than Trump has done or said. Did he contribute with his being prone to verbal diarrhea and his tendency to choose phrases poorly and his ridiculous claiming to be an election victim. Maybe. Arguably. I don’t know.

                    Obviously (and I think you picked up on it) I detest the Proud Boys and think the violent among them should be kept away from the rest of us. To call them idiots is to insult idiots. It’s just really unfortunate that the left (including Democratic officials and the media) acted like they did toward this year’s onslaught of left-wing violence. No moral high ground for them – they gave it up to ignore and in come cases support violence from their side. And yes, support – one example of which: “well, people get pushed so far and violence is their only recourse”.

                    Because now there’s really nobody in a public position that can criticize the violence and be credible.

              5. Well, maybe, we need to kill some of yours…

                1. Wiemar Republic, anyone?

                2. You need to shut the fuck up.

        4. I have issues with anyone filing frivolous lawsuits. I’m not going to vote for the McDonalds coffee plaintiffs attorneys either.

          1. Am I remembering right – didn’t the plaintiff win the Mcdonald’s coffee lawsuit? Is a lawsuit frivolous if you win? 🙂

          2. Somehow, in 26 years, you haven’t managed to learn about the merits of the lawsuit and why she WON.

        5. You got no issues with a guy trying all the legal options he can think of?

          First, that does not describe what’s going on here; filing frivolous suits is not a legal option.

          But second, I do, actually, have a problem with what you describe. “No law explicitly forbids it” is not a way to run a railroad. People have to act in good faith, not simply do anything they can get away with, or the system cannot function.

  2. If the legal profession were following its own ostensible standards, wouldn’t there be sanctions against lawyers who bring increasingly farfetched actions such as this in an attempt to subvert or delay critical governmental processes? If the applicable limit of frivolity/dishonesty hasn’t yet been reached, is that because there *is* no limit, or because it the limit has been set even further out than Trump’s enablers have so far ventured?

    1. How about the lawsuits that started all of this, that led to the changes?

    2. The legal profession definitely does not do a very good job of policing this kind of thing. The prospects of any kind of sanction or discipline for anything short of an outright intentional lie are vanishingly small, and even that’s far from a guarantee.

      1. And for people who don’t believe that, google Richard Liebowitz, the copyright attorney who has been mentioned on the VC on multiple occasions over the last year. This guy has been filing frivolous complaints and lying to judges repeatedly, and even practicing without a license in some jurisdictions, and still has a license. (He was recently suspended from the SDNY, but even that only on an interim basis.)

    3. Professional boards are loathe to punish their practitioners to begin with. Doctors, lawyers, they are all like that. Not sure why – probably some combo of professional courtesy and “there but for the grace of God go I”.

      Add the political stuff that comes with this and I doubt any of the state boards want to go near it.

      1. So, notwithstanding the no-doubt-stirring language in state bars’ ethics codes, the *de facto* standards wrt stuff like this are either nonexistent, or so far out there that in practice, pretty much anything goes.

        Not that I’m surprised, but it still bears saying: That stinks.

  3. And to think that it’s pro se plaintiffs who have a bad reputation for filing frivolous lawsuits.

    1. Can’t wait until the Trump campaign goes full sovereign citizen and starts putting false liens on Joe Biden’s house.

      1. You mean, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

    2. Is this one really frivolous, like the Texas suit was? The potentially injured party – the Trump campaign- claimed that Wisconsin didn’t follow the rules set by the legislature. It’s at least plausible.

      The remedy they asked for was totally frivolous. But not necessarily the suit itself.

      1. I think the remedy requested is inseparable from the law alleged to be broken in determining whether a suit is frivolous. Usually we consider a suit with damages estimated at $10 million over something that belongs in small claims court to be frivolous.

        1. They’re caught in a Catch-22 on the remedy. Their margin of loss is so big that they have to ask for something ridiculous or there’s no point in filing to begin with, but the laughable remedy requested substantially reduces their chance of winning.

          They really need to quit.

        2. I actually don’t read the opinion as taking the remedy into account in concluding that the claims are meritless.

          1. Sure. I’m just talking generally though.

          2. This decision I don’t know if he considered the remedy or not. There have been others of the 50 or 60 or 80 or whatever we’re up to now where the judge refers to the “extraordinary” remedy requiring extensive proof.

      2. It certainly wasn’t frivolous in the same way as the Texas suit (for instance, Trump pretty clearly had standing here). And indeed, it probably comes closer to the threshold. But yes, it was frivolous.

        1. I disagree that he pretty clearly had standing; the other federal judges to consider this argument have mostly rejected that, holding that only the state legislatures do. But I agree that the claim that he has standing is colorable. It’s still frivolous for multiple reasons:
          1) It deserved to fail for multiple threshold reasons. Standing, laches, 11th amendment, abstention. (This is pretty much the only judge to get past those.)
          2) The remedy sought is absurd and vexatious.
          3) The notion that the specific complaints about election administration violate the Electors clause is one that has been repeatedly rejected by every federal court. While those decisions weren’t precedential here, at some point you don’t get to keep forum shopping in the hopes of finding a judge who will buy it.
          4) The Wisconsin state courts have expressly rejected the argument that any of these things violated the Wisconsin election code.

    3. I thought the judge’s, “The legislature specified that the method of choosing electors would be an election, and there was an election, so, Constitution satisfied!” ruling was a bit frivolous itself.

      1. Ok, Brett, so enlighten us. How did Wisconsin deviate from the legislature-approved method of choosing electors?

        1. Careful in what you ask for. Brett’s about to come back with his lies about the election software again.

  4. The lesson is simple — stuffing ballot boxes is legal and we have to do it too. Rural areas need to have 300% voter turnout as well, that can be done…

    “Rule of law” died this week.

    1. Why do you hate the Constitution?

    2. Dr Ed, as I stated in the previous thread, your real complaint is that your side didn’t succeed in again depriving the majority of its choice for president. So suck it up. The minority can’t win all the time.

      1. As Adam Serwer says “When they say the 2020 election was stolen, Trumpists are expressing their view that the votes of rival constituencies should not count, even though they understand, on some level, that they do. They are declaring that the nation belongs to them and them alone, whether or not they actually comprise a majority, because they are the only real Americans to begin with.”

        Ed is using claims of mass fraud to paper over his actual belief, which is this. Sure on some level he actually believes there was mass cheating. But he also believes Trump won in a landslide because of his appeal to the “Joe Sixpack” archetype. It’s not difficult to figure out that Trump’s “landslide” in his mind consists overwhelmingly of members of this archetype going to the polls in droves for Trump. It’s even less difficult to imagine what this archetype looks like in his head. The possibility that there are more people don’t look like this fictional creation of his mind, and certainly don’t vote like them, doesn’t occur to him because they’re not Real Americans™ anyway. And if the result is one where Real Americans ™ don’t prevail, then he’ll use every flimsy justification and absurd piece of reasoning to convince himself that that can’t possibly be correct and those votes can’t be real.

        1. If a police department loses chain of custody of evidence, should it not be excluded at trial?

          You’re not saying the department tampered with it, only that no one knows that it wasn’t.

          Or do you oppose the exclusion of evidence?

          1. No. What I’m saying is that you are cognitively incapable of accepting these results because in your mind there is no possibility that Real Americans wouldn’t vote for Trump so you have to come up with increasingly elaborate reasons to justify your dismissal of the votes for his opponent.

            You still have a small level of shame where you don’t want to outright admit that you think votes for Democrats should not count, but you’ll probably be at that point soon enough.

            1. Excellent analysis. Dr Ed 2 is almost there…

            2. No, what I’m saying is that the cops claiming the perp is guilty isn’t good enough.

              Or do you routinely plead your clients guilty for evidence that shows up at 4AM in the evidence room?

          2. If a police department loses chain of custody of evidence, should it not be excluded at trial?

            No. Chain of custody goes to weight, not admissibility.

            1. Might that vary by jurisdiction?

              I know someone whom I’m convinced was guilty who walked free because the drugs “couldn’t” be admitted…

              NB: I wasn’t there, and all I know is what I was told…

        2. Damn right. This country was built by white Protestants. Not by Sub-Saharan Africans, not by Mexican mestizos, not by Somali Muslims, or any of the other worthless third worlders who now have infested our shores.

          1. Actually it was built largely by the people who our white ancestors enslaved.

            Carry on with your suppressed homosexual fantasies and race-baiting bigotry.

    3. “I fervently believe other people are breaking the law” is not really an excuse to break the law.

      1. “Government has no authority “to license one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow the Marquis of Queensbury Rules.””

        RAV v. St Paul

        1. Again, you have no proof of fraud so your premise here doesn’t work.

      2. “I fervently believe other people are breaking the law” is not really an excuse to break the law.

        How could anyone disagree on paper? And yet we got here via four years of wailing that “Trump’s unconstitutional, dictatorial conduct must be stopped at all costs!” So there’s that.

        1. And yet who broke the law on the left? Who even talked about it on here?

          1. I guess we’ll never know exactly who and how, since the story seems to be shaping up to be that nobody on the face of the earth has sufficient standing to find out.

            1. I guess we’ll never know exactly who and how

              Then it looks like we have 1) posters on here who are real, and 2) your own fevered imagination.

              So maybe stick with reality for this one, eh?

              1. You forgot 3) your amorphous word salad. No idea what you think you were saying that was responsive to what I said. If on the other hand you were just carrying on with your preplanned dialogue regardless of what I said, my bad.

                1. Ed is advocating breaking election laws.

                  I said no matter what he thinks the other side did, you don’t get to break the law.

                  You said well the left thinks the right is awful bad.

                  I asked you if the left thus broke the law.

                  You said we’ll never know.

                  I said that’s really weak.

                  You now say you’re confused.

                  I’d say you’re smarter than that, but know you’ve got nothing.

                  1. I said that’s really weak.

                    For reals? Maybe try using those words next time instead of all the other ones that didn’t say that at all.

                    I’d say you’re smarter than that, but know you’ve got nothing.

                    Yes, Sarc — that’s the smug refrain. And that’s my point. The holders of the actual internal information at issue saying “ha ha — you can’t PROOOOVE we did anything wrong” should be of zero comfort to anyone (and in any other circumstance indeed is not), and yet here it’s become a battle cry.

                    1. The holders of the actual internal information at issue

                      What the hell are you talking about? You mean all those GOP election officials?

                    2. And with that, you’ve used up your troll points for this thread.

                    3. Life of Brian,

                      The holders of the actual internal information at issue saying “ha ha — you can’t PROOOOVE we did anything wrong” should be of zero comfort to anyone

                      Who do you think has the burden of proof when alleging massive voter fraud?

                      Not sure what internal information you want. As far as the substantial proof that the election was fair and legit, local officials say it was (by their official acts, if not otherwise, though often otherwise too), Republican observers have produced nothing supporting the outlandish claims, most of the specific allegations (computer software, more than 100% of registered voters voting, etc.) have been rebutted, there were recounts in various places, then more officials indicated the results were valid, and then state officials then certified the results. In the face of this, you have to produce something. You don’t get to go on an endless fishing expedition. You have to show something. Otherwise, every election is subject to “I don’t feel this result is right, and I know you’ve gone through the ballots, and I know we had observers in the room, and I know a state official from my party has certified all this, but I want my attorneys to have access to the original ballots, etc., so that we can look for fraud”. Yeah, no. That’s not how the system is set up.

                      If you think that will lead to less chaos, feel free to lobby for changes in your state. But the election laws have plenty of checks and balances and your gut feeling is not enough to go on browsing through all the material (much of which is public anyway) and that which isn’t was gone through with Republican observers there.

                      But keep believing the truth is being kept just out of Trump’s reach. That’s why he resorts to baseless, evidence-free claims of winning every state. Every state. That’s whose credibility you rely on.

  5. I knew Judge Ludwig from time at Foley&Lardner. Not super-well, it’s a large firm and we didn’t work directly together. But even if we didn’t always agree about water-cooler talk on social issues, he’s smart and I completely respected him; was glad to see him elevated to District Court. I am completely confident he’s not part of some Trumpist fever-dream “deep state”.

  6. The backed up the trucks in the middle of the night with boxes of unfolded mail in ballots, with just Biden checked off. The Republicans should do the same next time. That explains how Biden did better than Democrat Representatives.

    Biden, not my President. He will do as he is told by Kamala Harris, the representative of tech billionaire interests. They want access to the China market, and will do anything to please the Chinese Communist Party.

    The biggest losers in 2020? The core Democrat constituents. The tech billionaires want cheap labor, and it will be Open Borders time. From laborer to professional, illegal aliens will suppress American wages to enrich the tech billionaires. These illegals will also be voting to make the US a permanent one party state. I strongly urge ICE to import a lot of Mexican lawyers who would love to make $40000 a year.

    1. That is absurd. If you are going to make up lies about voting fraud at least make them reasonable. You could put all the ballots needed to give Biden the win for an entire state in one car or SUV.

      1. And why, if you’re going to cheat, do you just put in fake Biden ballots and not check of down-ballot Democrats? They’re smart enough to pull off the scam, but not smart enough to do it right?

        1. That is not a fair criticism. I am a liberal and I believe that the Dems are fully dumb enough to not check off the down-ballot races. I do support the Democratic platform (mostly), but they are utter political idiots.

          1. You don’t have to be political geniuses to fix an election any more than to fix the brakes on a car. You only have to know how to hire fixers.

          1. This is just fan fiction.

            1. SarcastrO, you just insulted fan fiction everywhere. The troll masquerading as DavidBehar can’t write fact or fiction; it just spews nonsense.

              1. Fair enough, fan fiction is generally written with love not tossed off for convenient rationalization.

                Thoughts on a better term.

                1. “They were in a rush” is, honestly, my all-time favorite response/answer on the Volokh Conspiracy. Bravo!

                  It’s hard to imagine anyone writing something so stupid . . . so utterly lacking in conviction. But no matter how low you set the bar; someone always manages to slither under it.

                  Priceless. The Dems had this foolproof plan to steal the election. Must have taken weeks or months to set up. But they totally forgot to fill out ballots in advance. “Oh shit. We need to get in fake ballots by 8 pm. And it’s 4 pm already. No time to fill out votes for those critical senator and representative races. All Biden, and only Biden!!!”

                  And in his mind; this argument makes perfect sense.

                  It’s why I almost never accuse people with pro-Trump TDS of dishonesty . . . I really believe that they really believe their own shit. They are just dumber than a box of rocks. Or are mentally ill, and those people are to be pitied and not bullied.

                  As I said: Priceless.

      2. No Molly, you underestimate the extent of the Trump landslide.

        1. It’s impossible to underestimate the extent of the Trump landslide.

        2. Trump got more votes than any candidate in history. He could not overcome the truckloads of unfolded mail in ballots with just Biden checked off, delivered at 3 AM.

          1. Trump got more votes than any candidate in history.

            Sure, if you ignore the candidate who received about 7 million more.

        3. And you overestimate the size of a piece of paper.

      3. Your punishment will be the consequences of Democrat governance in furtherance of Chinese Communist Party interests. The tech billionaires that own the media and the Democrat Party will add $trillion to their net worths. Wages for everyone else will be totally crushed by the tech billionaire Open Borders policy.

        Biden, recognize the Mexican lawyer license as valid in all 50 states, so we can get $40000 great lawyers.

        1. Mexico is even more overlawyered than the US, thus their totally out of control crime rates. They would love to dump these toxic lawyers on the US. Open the borders to lawyers making $40000, and automatically recognize their Mexican lawyer licenses in all 50 states by federal statute.

          1. Canadian law schools are cheap — not much more than a US state university — and a Federal statute permitting them to practice in the US would be interesting…

    2. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal (via Rick Hasen’s election law blog):

      A Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission told legislative committees Friday that he has “not seen credible evidence of large-scale voter fraud in Wisconsin during the November election.”

      “There were no dumps of ballots during the night, none,” Dean Knudson told lawmakers looking into the conduct of the Nov. 3 election that Democrat Joe Biden won by about 21,000 votes over President Donald Trump.

      “There is no evidence of any fraud related to Dominion voting machines in Wisconsin,” Knudson said. “Counting in Wisconsin did not stop and restart. Election observers were allowed to be present throughout Election Day and election night proceedings. The number of voters on our poll books match the number of ballots cast.

      “There has been no criminal evidence presented to the Elections Commission that any of these problems occurred in Wisconsin,” he said.

      1. And it’s also worth repeating for the factually challenged Trumpists in the audience: Trump is complaining about Milwaukee and Dane (Madison) counties.

        Neither county *even*uses* Dominion voting machines. The counties in WI that actually do … voted primarily for Trump.

      2. He should have come to Philadelphia.

        1. And yet, this post by Prof. Alder is about Wisconsin.

          Do try to keep your fact-free imagination at least remotely on target.

          1. Harris will insist that you house homeless Democrats in your upstairs bedrooms in the suburbs.

      3. Oceana. He forgot that we’ve always been at war with Oceana.

        I mean, seriously. The vote count reports across all the upper Midwest stopped like clockwork on election night. We were all there. There are plenty of contemporaneous discussions about it that have so far survived the memory hole.

        But as if by magic, the Edison feeds now show a nice slow and steady increase all through the period. So presuming that’s the actual data that hit the feeds that night, apparently we’re left to understand that the updates just weren’t being reported by the media until the counts had swung the “correct” direction (and the west coast polls had closed). Deeply disturbing in its own right.

        1. So you have no proof, just what you recall and you don’t really have the expertise to interpret, but that hasn’t stopped you from weaving not one but two scenarios out of them.

          1. So you have no proof, just what you recall

            Feel free to reread what I actually said. That wasn’t it.

            Secondarily, for future reference please provide an ex ante standard for what you would consider “proof” rather than your typical “nope — not that!” I can’t wait.

    3. The backed up the trucks in the middle of the night with boxes of unfolded mail in ballots, with just Biden checked off.

      No. They didn’t. That’s a total crock of shit.

  7. To all the Trumpers who claimed for weeks that they wanted a fair hearing and a ruling on the merits. Well, here it is and you all still lost. You all claimed that the voting was done against the constitution as if it was an obvious fact that everyone was ignoring, but this judge took your arguments and shredded them.

    1. See you in 2024, with our billion unfolded mail in ballots delivered late at night.

      1. It would be funny if the Rs try to do what they are accusing the Ds of doing. They would fail and get caught.

      2. Conspiracy to commit election fraud is a crime, and you’ve just advertised your intent to do so.

        Please keep your word, so that by 2025 we will be free of your bullshit conspiracies and ViOlatIOns of The FallACY of IrreLEvanCe!.

  8. I think Judge Ludwig’s opinion nicely captures the fundamental problem with the core constitutional claims in the whole series of lawsuits. Only a “significant” departure from the legislative scheme for conducting elections results in not appointing electors in the “manner” specified by the legislature. And the various minor interpretive disputes Trump’s “clever lawyers” have managed to dredge up simply aren’t anywhere close to significant enough to alter the “manner” of appointment within the meaning of the Electors Clause. The clause simply doesn’t federalize every garden-variety dispute of state election laws.

    And this is especially true where the state legislature itself has authorized state officials, commissions, and tribunals, and not federal courts, to administer elections, issue guidance, and resolve disputes. Federal judicial interference with and nullification of this legislatively mandated authority would itself be altering the “manner” of appointing electors established by the state legislature.

    1. Shorter Ludwig: “The acknowledged violations were not significant. I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition that this opinion is too narrow to contain.”

      (Except that there is no hope of his proposition being solidly proven after 350 years.)

      1. There were no “acknowledged violations.”

    2. The legislature specified that the electors be selected by an election. There was an election, Constitution satisfied! Everything else is just trivial details.

      1. Does the constitution prohibit election fraud?

  9. And then there’s this: https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2020/12/13/tempers-flare-as-trump-supporters-rally-in-washington

    Get used to it as a lot of people presumed the courts would act.

    Its gonna be a very long four years….

    1. Oh look, more evidence (as if it’s needed) that organized right-wing violence is dangerous to constitution and country.

      1. The left has lost the moral authority to complain about political violence. You’ve pissed away for a generation.

        1. The left isn’t out stabbing and shooting people.

          The right has done both yesterday.

          Rioters after Floyd should have been and and were arrested. Protesters were legit.

          1. I didn’t say the right had any either. But the left ( who were and are stabbing and shooting and beating and burning) certainly doesn’t.

            The silence this year from the leadership of the left regarding political violence was appalling.

            1. the left (who were and are stabbing and shooting and beating and burning)

              This is…quite a limit on who counts as the left.

              Plenty of Biden quotes condemning the riots.
              https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-biden-condemn-violence/fact-check-joe-biden-has-condemned-violent-protests-in-the-last-three-months-idUSKBN25V2O1

              Also Obama.

              1. I didn’t see Obama.

                But I did see Biden, and it was weak. He first condemned political violence GENERICALLY, and then named one group by name. A right-wing group that to my knowledge had not done anything violent ever, or at least not for a long while. Seriously, Biden is pathetic if that’s the best he can do.

                When your side is fucking up (left or right), then call them out. If the pols would just do that it would help a ton. But they won’t because votes are more important to them than morals or ethics.

            2. I’m not saying the left doesn’t have it’s violent yahoos, but they don’t define the left, and they’re not condoned by the Democratic Party.

              The right’s violent yahoos don’t yet define the right, but the GOP seems to keep getting photographed with them in a way not happening on the other side. And the GOP freaking *canonized* Kyle Rittenhouse. He got a sponsorship FFS.

              1. “they’re not condoned by the Democratic Party”

                Gaslito at his finest.

                We all heard the mayors of Seattle and Portland encouraging riots.

                1. We all heard the mayors of Seattle and Portland encouraging riots.

                  Only if you confuse riots and protests.

              2. “And the GOP freaking *canonized* Kyle Rittenhouse.”

                Yes, they have. And even as someone who is fairly hard line on 2A and somewhat inclined to credit his claims of self defense, I don’t get that either.

                1. I think it’s not hard to figure out.

                  I’m heartened by your condemnation of the Proud Boys. Look at how many here are not willing to do that, and think about what that implies about what they want to happen (but won’t do themselves)

                2. I live in WI, I’m on the liberal side of the spectrum, and I think Rittenhouse has a colorable self-defense claim. He shouldn’t have been there and may have committed other criminal violations, but I will not be surprised if the self-defense claim works.

                  That he and his family are now conservative heros and probably multi-millionaires … I have an issue with that.

        2. Nonsense, bevis. Don’t parrot Limbaugh or whoever.

          “The left” didn’t commit political violence, and has plenty of moral authority to complain about it. Some thugs, possibly with left-wing views, did. Most of the people demonstrating were not involved in the violence. In fact, most of them were gone by the time the violence happened.

          That by no means robs others of the right to complain about political violence.

          And if you want to complain about officials endorsing violence, Here’s Biden on the subject.

          How does that compare with Trump?

          1. Well, then, fine. The right didn’t commit political violence yesterday. Some thugs, possibly with right-wing views, did. Most of the people there were not involved in the violence.

            See how consistent logic is supposed to work? No, you most certainly don’t. Because your brain has been warped by your political views. It’s a consistent thing with you, unlike some of the other liberals around here.

            It shows in your invoking Limbaugh as if it’s a tremendous insult to me and my point of view. If somebody makes an argument you don’t like you can throw out some rightist boogeyman and that serves as a counterpoint in your zealot brain. I don’t remember ever having listened to the guy, because he’s a lot more like you than me. From what I understand, his political views override any sense of objectivity or consistent logic. That’s you pal, not me.

            1. The right didn’t commit political violence yesterday. Some thugs, possibly with right-wing views, did. Most of the people there were not involved in the violence.

              Some thugs, with known right-wing views, who are quite popular on the right, and who have been cheered on, rather than denounced, by Donald Trump committed violence.

              And there are way more of these thugs on the right than on the left.

              As for Limbaugh, if you’re not parroting him you’re parroting someone equivalent. If you think writing, The left has lost the moral authority to complain about political violence. You’ve pissed away for a generation. doesn’t mark you as a zealot think again.

              1. The left has lost it. That’s my opinion. It’s not parroting anybody. Y’all sat around for the last 6 months watching looting and lower economic class people get burned out of their businesses and people being beaten and intimidated by mobs and didn’t say a fucking word. In many cases you encouraged and defended it. You can try to disclaim it now, but it’s just not doable. What’s done is done.

                I’m not of the left or the right, and I’m certainly not a zealot. I didn’t even vote for president. You think that anybody who disagrees with you or your side about anything is a zealot because that’s the way people like you think.

                And by the way, saying that someone is just parroting (Limbaugh, Fox News, the Kochs, insert left-wing boogeyman here) is just totally fucking stupid. Moronic. You can’t come up with a reasonable reply so you throw out the names of bad, bad people to claim falsely that I’m listening to them It’s a sign of the inability to reasonably discuss.

                You give BLM and Antifa a pass for their violence and call out the Proud Boys Zealots on the right call out BLM and Antifa while defending the Proud Boys. I find all of them disgusting. That’s the difference between zealotry (you) and objectivity (me).

                Respond if you want, don’t if you don’t. You’re not worth wasting intellectual time on.

                1. You’re ‘objective’ by lying about what ‘the left’ did or didn’t condemn, while ignoring that Trump is literally encouraging his idiots to continue their sedition, and is in fact THE PRIMARY SOURCE of the lies which drive them to action?

    2. I’ll take worrying about what a few rioters will do over worrying that the US president will destroy the constitution and the country.

    3. “Oh, gee, guys. See? I don’t like this anymore than you do, but *shrugs* that’s what happens when evil demoncrats use blood sacrifice to convince Beelzebub to grant you an election.

      See, I’m reasonable.

  10. Thank you, Prof. Adler, for bring a whiff of decency and sanity to this paltry, partisan blog.

    1. Artie, Democrats can only win by massive cheating. Republicans should start doing the same.

    2. Has RALK been a sock puppet for Adler all along?

      This would explain a lot.

      1. …like what?

  11. I also think Judge Ludwig’s opinion alludes to the institutional problem. Elections, like any complex human endeavor, tend to have various glitches, problems, and disputes. If elections had to be perfect to be valid, there could never be any valid elections.

    Moreover, demanding perfection is a common argument of opponents of something. Opponents of capital punishment routinely demand perfection in capital trials. Opponents of obscenity laws used to demand a perfect definition of obscenity. And so on.

    By demanding perfect popular elections, and insisting on invalidating imperfect ones, Trump and his supporters are for all practical purposes acting to oppose the practical availability of popular elections as a manner of selecting the president, attempting to gum up its works at retail in the same way that opponents of capital punishment actively gum up the works of the death penalty by demanding perfect capital trials. And in the same way as opponents of abortion seek to gum up the works of abortion clinics by demanding perfection in licensing and other details. It’s a common tactic used across the ideological spectrum by ideological opponents of something.

    Thus, in using these tactics, the same ones used by anti death penalty lawyers, anti-abortion lawyers, etc., these lawyers are acting as de facto ideological opponents of popular election itself, as anti-election lawyers.

    THAT is a remarkable development.

    1. As Rudy said, “The media doesn’t decide elections, courts do.”

      Notably absent from that statement is the voter.

      1. Crazy Uncle Rudy’s been having a hard month, cut him some slack!

        “Voters, not lawyers, choose the President,” declared U.S. Circuit Court Judge Stephanos Bibas, a former prosecutor and law professor appointed in 2017 by Trump, as he rejected an attempt to throw out Pennsylvania’s votes for Biden.

      2. “The voters do not decide elections, that is for Democrat party machines in six cities to figure out…”

  12. This makes it one-for-sixty in post-election suits.

    So much winning. So much winning.

    1. Are you counting the U.S. Court of Federal Claims filing fee refund fail in that?

      1. Hadn’t heard about that one. I sounds hilarious, you have a link?

  13. One can accept that there is no evidence of widespread fraud that would lead to a change in the outcome of the election, and still want to quantify *any* extent of fraud, can’t one? Did Biden win by 4.4%, 4.3%, 3%, 2% or a solid 1%? Fraud comes in so many ways at so many levels my list will be incomplete:
    1st Level
    1. Outright creation of ballot/votes by non-existent voters
    2. Duplication of votes by voters
    3. Creation of eligible voters from ineligible residents
    2nd Level
    1. Failure to qualify a vote by established documentation criteria
    2. Rescuing disqualified votes by means outside established guidelines
    3rd Level
    1. Manipulating the voting process to increase or decrease voter registration, balloting, etc. outside established guidelines
    2. And a bunch of the Trump ploys proffered to the courts

    Come 2024, whatever fraud mode(s) that may have occurred, if not rooted out and revealed, the most successful will be the preferred fraud mode to accentuate.

    1. I think one of the major issues which was not straight up “fraud” but a significant factor was the failure of some internal controls due to mail in ballot procedures that were never used before. My questions are less like “how many illegal votes were stuffed into the ballot boxes?” and more like “why were signature verifications not used?” or “how prevalent was the practice of not utilizing technology that is very reliable at verify signatures?” Same with courts that violated clear guidelines drawn by the legislatures to extend mail in ballot deadlines or such.

      The “fraud” here was not some guy finding the extra votes in a dummy drop box. it was more nuanced and complex. That is why it needs a serious inquiry.

  14. And now we get to the dangerous part of the program. The blindness the Left has developed on how strongly people feel about this is amazing and part of the danger.

    Without any structural outlet left, (except for objections in the House when the electoral college vote is counted which will fail), we now enter the dynamic portion of the program where literally anything could happen. And that will not be good for anyone.

    1. I think everyone understands that people like you and Dr. Ed feel strongly about this. What I don’t understand is why you think sane people should be adjusting their behavior to accommodate your delusions.

      1. Hi, Nos. Enjoy adjusting your upstairs bedrooms to the homeless Democrats Harris will force you to accommodate in the suburbs.

        1. What will you say if your land appropriation scenario never comes to pass?

          That’s right, nothing. Because you’ll be on to the next delusional BS.

          1. Glad to see that you are finding objective truth now…

        2. You know, for years I defended Republicans against liberal claims about the extent of racism embedded in the former’s movement. But the Trump era has made it clear that liberals were right about that issue.

          “Vote for Trump or blacks will ruin the suburbs by putting other black people there.”

          Trump used Booker as his boogeyman; Behar uses Harris. Behar doesn’t even pretend to hide it.

      2. “sane people should be adjusting their behavior to accommodate your delusions”

        Statements like this are part of the problem. Keep in mind the Left’s treatment of people who say that about other issues in society. Take for instance “racism”. If someone says they do not believe we live in a racist society full of systemic discrimination you call them a racist and make fun of them for being dumb. People on the Right have been subjected to this behavior and had the false reality jammed down their throat for so long that they are not going to all the sudden start embracing objective truth. So don’t be surprised when they are not buying it now.

        1. The left is mean to me that’s why I’m crazy!

          1. Just curious, are you trying to prove my point?

            1. Insisting that I not be dismissive of your anti factual arguments or else you will co e up with more is not really convincing me of your bone fides.

              1. Calling some “anti-fact” (that is fun new word BTW!) does not make it so.

                1. No, the fact that you bring up stuff that didn’t happen makes it so.

                  1. You like to throw out bald accusations without any meat. Like this one.

        2. We don’t live in a world with systematic racism, that’s a lie! Now let me explain how these six corrupt counties, which completely coincidentally have large populations of POC, engaged in a mass fraud to steal the election from Real Americans.

        3. The leftist hysteria about “systemic racism” is ridiculous because it’s wrong, not because it’s coming from the other team. You don’t get to have a turn to deny reality just because you really really want to.

          All things considered, the Republicans got a pretty good result out of the election. The focus should be on how to build on that by capturing both of the Georgia senate seats. The louder people like you spout this bullshit, the more you jeopardize that, the closer you come to giving Biden complete control of two branches of the government (which would be bad).

          1. OK yeah we are supposed to believe in systemic racism but not that there are some serious anomalies with this election. Keep on barking up that tree. It is working great!

      3. Read George Santana on the value of knowing history.

        1. Maybe both sides will say “enough is enough, we can’t continue down this path…” and we can just call a stop to all the shams. Or maybe there is something behind the conspiracy theory that the internet will go dark for 10 days starting New Years Eve while assets are positioned to execute Order 66.

        2. And also his cousin, Carlos Santayana!

            1. More Carlos.

              Two of the songs on which I learned there might be more to bass guitar than plodding.

              1. Are you trying to provide further proof to my point? People see you treating this like a joke but you are the only one who thinks it is funny.

        3. Did he say that you should fabricate helpful anecdotes to illustrate the point you’re trying to make? Or did you learn that lesson somewhere else?

    2. Jimmy, I think a lot of BLM/Antifa stuff was ignored because Trump was POTUS and eventually would step in. Now that he isn’t, I don’t think it will be ignored.

      It’ll be interesting to see if Biden’s Inauguration has the same problems with protesters that Trump’s did….

      1. The progressives are not happy with the situation. I’ve heard many make statements they wish Trump won another four years as that would spurn “revolution” (funny how the media treats statements like that compared to one offs from the right, anyway). It would not surprise me in the least if the ‘direct action’ or ‘peaceful protests’ continue under Biden but fail to get any attention from the media.

        Political violence has now been “normalized” by the media this Summer. That is what happens when you fail to cover or treat riots as such. Now those cards are off the table. And hence why we are entering such a dangerous time.

        1. If you’ve been talking with accelerationists and thinking they’re normal leftists you are nitpicking without even realizing it.

          1. No I am talking about normal run of the mill leftists. The “that is not representative of mainstream leftists” is a BS argument that is not in the least accurate. Own your extreme ideas just like you demand the right does.

            1. Yeah, no.

              You’re either lying or quite misinformed. I’m thinking lying. Because you lie a lot on here.

              I’m a liberal not a leftist, but I check out their forums. Anyone arguing Trump should win so it gets worse is shouted down pretty quick for multiple reasons, both practical and deontological.

              So quit lying about the other side to make your side’s extremism look better, you tool.

              1. “I’m a liberal not a leftist…”

                That says it all. More excuses. Own your extremists just like you demand the right do the same. Or do you want to continue playing by two rulebooks?

    3. The blindness the Left has developed on how strongly people feel about this is amazing and part of the danger.

      Here’s the thing, JTD.

      The fact that you, or someone else, feels strongly about something doesn’t make it true.

      It’s not an argument for the proposition you feel strongly about.

      It’s not evidence for the proposition you feel strongly about.

      It doesn’t mean everyone has to scurry around trying to prove you wrong, or that you are right if they don’t do that.

      1. But we are supposed to do this for “systemic racism” or “global warming” or (insert other left wing fake reality), right?

        1. Even if you’re right (you’re not), as Noscitur said, ‘You don’t get to have a turn to deny reality just because you really really want to.’

          But also you’re wrong.

          And also also, you’ve never actually cared about the truth – I’ve come to realize you’re one of the few actual bad faith posters around here. Your trying to grasp onto an excuse is way late, and at this point almost certainly just more bad faith.

        2. The solution to your adversaries making arguments and staking positions based on delusions is to criticize them and stake you own positions based on reality: it’s not a license to insist that people respect your own delusions.

          Moral people see wrongdoing and aspire to do better. If instead, you see it as an opportunity to be even worse, it may be time for a little introspection.

      2. It doesn’t mater if the something is true or not. If enough people feel strongly enough about it to resort violence over it, ignoring them will end badly.

        That said, I don’t think there are enough people, who are willing to take bad feelings over the outcome of the election that far, to be a real danger.

        1. If enough people feel strongly enough about it to resort violence over it, ignoring them will end badly.

          Isn’t this just the heckler’s veto but with guns?

        2. What is the appropriate response, Matthew, when they won’t accept reality?

          How should we deal with people who are so enamored of their delusional beliefs that they are willing to commit violence in support of them?

          You know, I don’t honestly know the answer, but I do know it’s not letting them have their way to avoid the violence. What do you think?

          1. “What is the appropriate response…when they won’t accept reality?”

            If you are on the Left and are confronted with someone who say does not believe the BS that our society is packed full of racists, then you “cancel” them, get them fired from their job, drag their name through the mud, and make every effort to kick them out of civilized society.

            Where do you think people on the right get their ideas from and their justification for using the same tactics?

            1. Where do you think people on the right get their ideas from

              Der Stürmer?

              1. They view that publication as ‘too leftist.’ You need to go much, much further right, and down into the sewers to find the source of their ideologies.

                I hope legitimate conservatives make a return, and quickly. Trumpers have no business representing any significant portion of the political spectrum.

  15. I’ve never commented on Volokh, but those of you who read the Reason comments will recognize my username.

    I just read the decision in this case. I’m not a lawyer but I have to admit I was disappointed by the reasoning and scope. I say this a someone who strongly believes this election was generally fair and free of substantial fraud.

    First, the decision seems to say that as long as there is a popular election in some guise, there is no Article II violation, since this is the manner chosen by the Wisconsin Legislature. But that seems way too narrow a reading of “manner”. Surely, the Wisconsin Legislature intended that said popular vote be carried out in a manner consistent with other aspects of state law. The Trump campaign isn’t alleging that there was no popular vote, but rather that it was conducted in a manner that violated state law, thus subverting the Legislature.

    The decision doesn’t completely dodge this point, because it goes on to say that the WEC guidance was consistent with Wisconsin law, but it doesn’t seem to actually address any of the specific claims made by the Trump campaign. It seems to just assert that the WEC’s actions were OK.

    I was hoping for more. I’d appreciate if’s someone with actual legal expertise could address some of these points. Am I misunderstanding something?

    1. I think one problem with your first point is that a federal court doesn’t have jurisdiction to determine if a state organ violated state law. The state Supreme Court decision on that issue is final. The federal court is limited to violations of federal law, or US constitutional issues.

      1. Thanks, and that makes sense. But it seems like the judge already opened that door when he decided to rule on whether the election was carried out in the “manner” specified by the Legislature in State law. Seems like he is interpreting “manner” just broadly enough to allow him to issue a decision, but narrowly enough to avoid getting into the substance of the actual complaints.

    2. Hey, dude. Nice and thoughtful post! Full disclosure – I’m a liberal, and so have biased lenses in how I see the pro-Trump antics here.

      The Elections Clause gives the running of elections to the states, with Federal oversight via Article I powers, the Civil War Amendments, and the Nineteenth, Twenty-fourth, and the Twenty-sixth Amendments.
      Congress has exercised that power in a number of ways, notably the Voting Rights Act and the Motor Voter Act. It can even to some extent regulate primaries.

      It is an open question what the contours are where a state’s administration of elections becomes manifestly insufficient but not under any of the current federal statutes.
      But despite the caterwauling of Trump, that would be well beyond what we’re seeing here, which is why that’s not the argument being put forth by the Trump side. Rather, they are arguing that judicial review by state courts is an insufficient internal control. That would seem to go against the Tenth Amendment, but we’re not even reaching that point because the evidence is pretty much just pounding on the table.

      1. Thanks.

        It seems entirely proper to me that state courts be the one to decide if state agencies violated state law. For that matter, if anyone should be suing the WEC, it should be the Wisconsin Legislature, in state court (assuming they feel there was a violation).

        It just seems like this judge is trying to have it both ways. Given the language used in the summary, I was hoping the decision was going to address the (lack of) merits in the specific claims.

        But I guess that will have to wait for a state court ruling. (Or was there one already?)

    3. What provisions did the commission violate?

      One of Trump’s claims seems to have to do with voters casting absentee ballots who were not entitled to do so. But the Wisconsin voting laws say(emphasis added):

      6.85  Absent elector; definition.
      (1)  An absent elector is any otherwise qualified elector who for any reason is unable or unwilling to appear at the polling place in his or her ward or election district.
      (2) Any otherwise qualified elector who changes residence within this state by moving to a different ward or municipality later than 28 days prior to an election may vote an absentee ballot in the ward or municipality where he or she was qualified to vote before moving.
      (3) An elector qualifying under this section may vote by absentee ballot under ss. 6.86 to 6.89.

      Then:

      6.86  Methods for obtaining an absentee ballot.
      (1) 
      6.86(1)(a)
      (a) Any elector of a municipality who is registered to vote whenever required and who qualifies under ss. 6.20 and 6.85 as an absent elector may make written application to the municipal clerk of that municipality for an official ballot by one of the following methods:
      1. By mail.
      2. In person at the office of the municipal clerk or at an alternate site under s. 6.855, if applicable.
      3. By signing a statement and filing a request to receive absentee ballots under sub. (2) or (2m) (a) or s. 6.22 (4), 6.24 (4), or 6.25 (1) (c).
      4. By agent as provided in sub. (3).
      5. By delivering an application to a special voting deputy under s. 6.875 (6).
      6. By electronic mail or facsimile transmission as provided in par. (ac).
      (ac) Any elector qualifying under par. (a) may make written application to the municipal clerk for an official ballot by means of facsimile transmission or electronic mail. Any application under this paragraph need not contain a copy of the applicant’s original signature. An elector requesting a ballot under this paragraph shall return with the voted ballot a copy of the request bearing an original signature of the elector as provided in s. 6.87 (4). Except as authorized in ss. 6.87 (4) (b) 2. to 5. and 6.875 (6), and notwithstanding s. 343.43 (1) (f), the elector shall transmit a copy of his or her proof of identification in the manner provided in s. 6.87 (1) unless the elector is a military elector or an overseas elector or the elector has a confidential listing under s. 6.47 (2).

      So where is the complaint?

      1. Just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to say Trump had a valid complaint, only that I would have liked to see the judge go into more detail about why. Just as you have done here (thanks for that).

      2. The complaints have to do with,

        1) Ballot “curing”. Argued to be dubious itself, (No provision in the law for it.) and done in a manner contrary to equal protection, they didn’t do it everywhere.
        2) Absentee ballots sent out without applications, which the law has no provision for doing.
        3) An event in Madison where elections officials assisted people in applying for absentee ballots, which were then filled in and accepted by the officials. On the basis that is was just an ad hoc form of early voting before the legal start of early voting, and that state law requires absentee ballots to be set to or turned in at actual election offices.

  16. If you beleive that the law was followed and the decisions were actually made on the merits – then you beleive that the election was conducted in a fashion that it was not possible to have fraud sufficient to alter the outcome.

    This is not a question of delegation of authority.
    Neither the legislature not the WEC have the authority to authorize a fraudulent election.

    Regardless, the entirety of this can be tested – both before and after the fact – and regardless of the poor decisions of courts with near certainty WILL be tested in the future.

    More than enough people beleive the 2020 election was conducted with great fraud using processes that avioded catching that fraud. If only a tiny portion of those people decide that the remedy in 2022 and 2024 is to engage in the same kind of fraud on their own – we may find out whether 2020 was fraudulent or not.

    One of the problems with every single court decision against Trump is that they all start with two presumptions:

    That the burden of secure elections rests with those challenging them – this is an error that is in much of our legal system.
    But it is very close to the surface in elections. It is the responsibility of the government to do its job properly – and that includes a legal structure for elections that assures that fraud can not alter the outcome.

    That the remedy of tossing hundreds of thousands of legitimate votes is so draconian that we can not even look for fraud. It is irrelevant how draconian the remedy is – If we do not trust the results of the election.

    This election is very dangerous. It is inarguable that states did not follow their own laws.

    1. So far, the only people who have been busted for fraud that I have heard/read are confirmed – like requesting absentee ballots for dead relatives – have been a very, *very* small number of … GOP voters. Like … two. Turns out the system is actually OK at detecting that.

      If we see a great increase in the number of people trying to vote their dead relatives because they mistakenly think “the left” did it … that will mean more people get caught for voting their dead relatives, and lose their own franchise.

      We have a few years to strengthen the system, educate voters on actual reality-based facts (not the alternative kind), and build our nation’s confidence.

      1. “We have a few years to strengthen the system, educate voters on actual reality-based facts (not the alternative kind), and build our nation’s confidence.”

        Yes now that everyone is dashing to accept objective truth as the new standard we do have a lot of work to do. Many left wing fake realities need to be debunked. Fortunately I am sure Twitter will tag anything like BLM with “this claim is disputed” and Facebook will censor everything about fake global warming.

      2. There is a difference between being able to prove that election fraud exists – that is quite trivial, and proving that John For committed election fraud – which is quite hard.

        If you go to the polls and vote in an election, and you claim to be someone you are not, and you vote. Once you have left the polls how is someone going to charge you much less convict you ?

        If you voted as someone who was dead, or underage, or not real or any of the thousands of people on election roles what are not legitimate voters, we can after the fact establish that a vote (or many) but we can not find the perpitrator, much less convict them.

        My example was of inperson fraud which is far harder to vote fraudulently than mailin elections.
        And more important, organized inperson fraud on any scale is nearly impossible.

      3. I am not interested in a red/blue fight over voter fraud claims – but every charge of attempted mailin fraud in 2020 I am aware of was of a democrat. I have no doubt that some republicans commit voter fraud. I am sure there must be actual cases corresponding to the vague references you cite, but every single instance I have actually heard of was a democrat.

        I would further note of specific relevance to this election 3 election officials in Philadelphia plead guilty in 2020 to ballot stuffing – they sat in front of voting machines and fed the same ballot in over and over – potentially thousands of times.

      4. No the system is NOT OK at detecting that.
        In 2016 in NH with inperson voting and voter id, about 5500 people unable to prove NH residence – New voters with no valid NH license or Photo ID or other proof residence were allowed to vote.
        Over the next 9 months 2000 of those got NH DL’s or bought property or in some other way created a public record that they resided in NH. The remaining 3500 essentially disappeared.
        It is unlikely that every single one of those votes was fraud.
        It is highly likely that most of them were.

        Again that was with inperson elections and voterID.
        Trump lost NH by about that margin of votes, and The Senate seat turned on about 1/2 that number of votes.

      5. I would be very concerned about YOU “educating voters”.

        You clearly are not very knowledgeable about both the frequency and the ease with which voter fraud is and can be committed.

        My NH example is just one of many – in each election there are several precincts with more votes that registered voters – that is a common place problem.

        Aside form the specific issues that you raise about people requesting ballots for dead relatives, mailin voting framatically expands the oportunity for all kinds of organized voter fraud.

        Mailin voting does not meet the requirements for “secret ballots” – Voters have a blank ballot that can be filled out in the presence of others before voting. This makes both inducement and coercion possible, which is not possible in absentee or in person voting.

        With inperson voting today, filled in ballots are only handled by the voter through scanning and counting. It is dramatically harder to insert filled ballots into the election – though the 3 Philadelphia 2020 election fraud guilty please were for ballot insertion into an inperson election. Regardless it is far easier to insert ballots into a mailin election.

        You MAY argue that Guiliani’s hearings did not prove that ballots were added to the 2020 election, he absolutely proved that they could have been added – that there are not sufficient checks to prevent that.

        Hearings in GA did not demonstrate that DVS voting systems were automatically changing votes, but they absolutely did demonstrate that ballots could be added to the system, that the same ballot could be counted many times, that blank ballots could be scanned and then voted by election judges, that the votes on ballots could be changed trivially by election adjudicators, and that the audit trail of the voting system was so limited that none of this could be detected.

        Finally – like it or not one of the things we know about elections historically is that if fraud is possible – it will occur. Whether that is small instances like voting for a deceased relative – or larger ones like scanning and counting the same ballot thousands of times.
        In 2020 $15B was spent on the election. About $10B by democrats, and $5B by republicans. Obviously there was alot of money at stake. Where a great deal of money hinges on the outcome of an election – you can be sure someone will be willing to act unscrupulously if they are not likely to be caught.

        Clearly YOU are not very well “educated” about elections.

        1. Mailin voting does not meet the requirements for “secret ballots” – Voters have a blank ballot that can be filled out in the presence of others before voting. This makes both inducement and coercion possible, which is not possible in absentee or in person voting.

          Absentee and mail in voting are the same thing.

      6. We have had “a few years to strengthen the system ….” for decades.

        The US has a long history of voter fraud. Lincoln coerced soldiers into voting for him. Johnson’s ballot stuffing is legendary, and there is the legendary 1960 Nixon/Kennedy election with 60,000 votes by dead people.

        The 2000 election did not devolve into claims of voter fraud. But it should have scared all of us into improving our elections. Instead we made them worse.

        Regardless, conducting a secure and trustworthy election is NOT difficult – assuming that we actually want to.

        But it is not possible to have a trustworthy election if we election laws are not enforced.

        We can all debate what the outcome would have been had the laws been enforced.

        But there is zero debate that election laws were ignored in this election, and that the courts refused to do anything about that.
        There is no means to preclude election fraud that will work if the measures to prevent, thwart or catch fraud or even error, are not followed.

  17. This is pretty much the comment thread:

    Reasonable Man: “If we are going to recognize objective truth in politics maybe we should start with many other areas as well…:

    Left wing bigot: “Shut up you right wing fool. You are an idiot. You are so dumb you don’t even know how dumb you sound. Idiot!”

    Reasonable Man: “That was my point. We should take these things seriously…”

    Left wing bigot: “Shut up you right wing fool. You are an idiot. You are so dumb you don’t even know how dumb you sound. Idiot!”

    Repeat 180 times.

      1. You keep on validating my point, but I’m sure you think you are clever.

      2. Sarcastr0, does it hurt to file your teeth to make them so sharp? Or do you have dental implants?

    1. Really? You are quite forgetting the Right wing that has utterly rejected the entire concept of truth. The number of Trump lies is staggering, and his supporters believe him. You probably can come up with some example of untruths that the left believe, but they will be few, and likely ones that you say they believe but really don’t.

      1. So basically you just reaffirmed my summation of this thread. Thanks.

        (I’m really starting to like all the validation the left-os around here are giving me.)

        1. Well, we all know how you’ve spent your life seeking validation from anyone and everything.

          Keep searching.

          1. Yup. Keep ’em rolling. This is great stuff.

      2. MollyG – is that so ?

        Is it the right wing that sold guns to mexican drug lords that got US DEA agents killed ?

        Is it the right wing that used the IRS to target disfavored political groups, and lied about it and then failed to prosecute ?

        Is it the right wing that lied repeatedly to the american people and under oath about Benghazi ? Keeping your Doctor ? Keeping your insurance ?

        Is it the right wing that spied on journalists ?

        Is it the right wing that spied on Senators ?

        Is it the right wing that spied on political opponents ?

        Is it the right wing that impeached a president for calling for an investigation into influence peddling that there is now a grandjury empaneled and atleast one guilty plea over ?

        Is it the right wing that spent 4 years trying to sell this collusion delusion nonsense ?

        Is it the right wing that is in bed with the chinese ?
        The Russians ?
        The Iranians ?
        Pretty much all our “enemies”.

        Is it the right wing that completely ignored election laws in this past election ?

        Is it the right wing that built cages for children at our southern border ?

      3. Not a Trump fan. Did not vote for him.

        But I would still love to hear what “staggering lie” Trump has told ?

        Please enlighten us.

        Something on the order of
        “I did not have sex with that woman” or
        “benghazi was a spontaneous response to an internet video” or
        “I never said I opposed Fracking”

  18. The Democrats cheated by flooding America with illiterate third worlders that Americans didn’t want or need, purely for votes.

  19. The judge said “This is an extraordinary case. 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. 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.” (Pl. Br., ECF No. 109.) It has been.”

    The election was unique and unlike any previous elections esp. in re to a massive, mainly Democrat organized mail in voting, ballot deadline extensions, and removal of signature matching requirements… which not only encourage fraud but basically guarantee. How this judge can say that these are “issues that (the Trump campaign and / or Republican campaign mechanism could have anticipated this and dealt with it, is wrong and a massive distortion of what happened. In fact the statement is laughable.

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