An Arizona appellate courtroom dominated
Thursday that the Arizona Republican Get together and its legal professionals should pay the
attorneys’ charges for the Arizona Secretary of State’s Workplace in a lawsuit
that challenged how Maricopa County audited ballots within the 2020
election and sought to cease the county from certifying Donald Trump’s
The lawsuit challenged procedures for
post-election hand counts on the grounds that the county’s use of a
“vote heart” mannequin as an alternative of voting precincts meant the audit that was
performed was unlawful.
However a trial courtroom decide mentioned the case was with out advantage, and dominated that the AZGOP was responsible for the cash
it price the Secretary of State’s Workplace to combat the lawsuit as a result of it
was each groundless and introduced in unhealthy religion, and that it was little
greater than an try to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
On Thursday, an Arizona Court docket of Appeals panel upheld the ruling
that the Republican Get together and its attorneys should pay $18,237.59 to the
Secretary of State’s Workplace — and mentioned it could additionally require them to pay
the workplace’s prices for the enchantment. That quantity has not been decided.
The AZGOP was represented by Phoenix
attorneys Jack Wilenchik, Dennis Wilenchik and Lee Miller, a former
assistant secretary of state. It’s unclear if the get together will enchantment the
appellate ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court docket.
“We had been stunned by the courtroom’s
choice, and will probably be talking with authorized counsel quickly to debate the
greatest path ahead. We’re dedicated to making sure that elections are honest
and correct,” the get together mentioned in a press release supplied by a spokeswoman.
The lawsuit was filed greater than a
week after the 2020 election, and argued that the state legislation requiring
restricted post-election hand-count audits conflicted with the state’s
Elections Procedures Guide, making it unlawful to pick ballots for the
audit from voting facilities as an alternative of by precinct.
State legislation requires every county to
hand depend 1% of all early ballots, in addition to the ballots from 2% of
precincts after every election. The Election Procedures Guide issued by
the secretary of state permits counties that use voting facilities as an alternative
of precincts, an inventory that features Maricopa County, at hand depend the
ballots from 2% of voting facilities as an alternative.
Maricopa County Superior Court docket Decide John Hannah dismantled the authorized arguments
that the Az GOP and its attorneys made. Along with ignoring the legislation
and the legislature’ intent when permitting for voting facilities, Hannah
mentioned the Republican Get together sought a treatment that the legislation doesn’t enable and
waited far too lengthy to file its swimsuit.
The decide additionally mentioned the get together
demonstrated it was not motivated by sincerely difficult a public
coverage, however as an alternative to make a political case and sow mistrust about
Hannah mentioned probably the most telling truth might
be that it sued to dam Maricopa County’s election canvass after the
hand depend confirmed an ideal match with the machine depend of ballots,
writing in it could “create a cloud over the legitimacy of this election
and its outcomes” if the courtroom let the canvass occur.
“Because of this the Court docket raised the
query whether or not the plaintiff introduced swimsuit in an effort to ‘forged false
shadows on this election’s legitimacy.’ Undercutting the election’s
legitimacy by elevating ‘questions’ is precisely what the plaintiff did in
this passage,” Hannah wrote. “It’s a risk to the rule of legislation posing
as an expression of concern. It’s direct proof of unhealthy religion.”
The three-judge appeals panel
unanimously agreed, writing that the AZGOP first sought to problem the
hand-count audit procedures, however then dropped that in an effort to block
Maricopa County from certifying its election outcomes, belying the true
function of the lawsuit.The appeals courtroom additionally famous that the
Republican Get together repeatedly ignored its personal arguments in its try to
reverse the order to pay attorneys’ charges.
In a single occasion, the get together admitted
that it introduced the lawsuit due to “public distrust” in Trump’s loss
— not a legitimate foundation for a authorized problem — however “ignore(d)” that
admission in its enchantment. In one other, the AZGOP informed the appeals courtroom
that it by no means alleged fraud within the election, “however the file reveals
in any other case,” the judges wrote.
“In keeping with the file supplied to
us, (the Republican Get together) made claims about defending the integrity of
the election and first invoked the specter of fraud,” Decide Michael J.
Brown wrote for the courtroom.
And the AZGOP informed the appellate
courtroom that the election’s legitimacy was by no means a difficulty within the lawsuit —
however, in doing so, the get together “ignores its personal submitting.”
“In requesting the preliminary
injunction, (the AZGOP) explicitly referenced considerations concerning the
election’s legitimacy if the injunction was not granted,” the appeals
“(The Republican Get together’s) assertions
concerning the election’s legitimacy, together with its failure to correctly
acknowledge or deal with the courtroom’s authorized evaluation on the authorized flaws in
its case, severely undermine (the get together’s) declare that the superior
courtroom’s ruling was politically motivated,” Brown wrote. “And (the AZGOP)
cites no authority suggesting that basic allegations about public
distrust and the legitimacy of the election, to the extent they may very well be
related in a correct election-related lawsuit, supplied any authorized
justification for submitting its claims right here.”
Lastly, the appeals courtroom roundly
rejected the Arizona Republican Get together’s declare that the sanctions are a
violation of First Modification rights to free speech, noting that the
get together didn’t cite any case legislation backing up its argument as a result of none
exists — and “the few instances addressing this subject verify the other
“The courtroom system exists to listen to respectable authorized disputes, not for airing political disputes or grievances,” Brown wrote.