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Federal Judge Dismisses Another Case Seeking To Overturn Wisconsin’s Election

Judge Pamela Pepper Said She Lacked Standing To Strike Down The Results Of A State Election

a blue sign says "VOTE" with an arrow
A sign points to a polling location Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in downtown Madison. Angela Major/WPR

A federal judge has dismissed another one of the Republican lawsuits seeking to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin’s election, dealing an additional legal blow to President Donald Trump and his allies.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper dismissed the case in an order issued late Wednesday evening, ruling that she lacked standing under the U.S. Constitution to overturn a state election.

“People have strong, deep feelings about the right to vote, the freedom and opportunity to vote and the value of their vote. They should,” Pepper wrote. “But the legal question at the heart of this case is simple. Federal courts have limited jurisdiction. Does a federal court have the jurisdiction and authority to grant the relief this lawsuit seeks? The answer is no.”

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The lawsuit was filed by attorney Sidney Powell, who has filed similar cases in other swing states around the country.

Powell’s initial lawsuit in Wisconsin included conspicuous errors.

For example, it listed as a lead plaintiff Derrick Van Orden, a Republican who ran against Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind in the November election. Van Orden said he found out about the lawsuit on social media and did not consent to being named as a plaintiff. A later version of the lawsuit included only La Crosse County Republican Party Chair Bill Feehan as the plaintiff.

Powell’s initial Wisconsin lawsuit also asked for security camera footage from the TCF Center, a location where absentee ballots were processed. But the TCF Center is in Detroit, not Wisconsin.

The lawsuit alleged “massive election fraud,” asking the court to direct Gov. Tony Evers to “de-certify” the election results and declare President Donald Trump the winner.

Pepper’s order did not get into the merits of the case, saying she lacked the authority as a federal judge to do what the case was asking.

“Federal judges do not appoint the president in this country,” Pepper wrote. “One wonders why the plaintiffs came to federal court and asked a federal judge to do so. After a week of sometimes odd and often harried litigation, the court is no closer to answering the ‘why.’ But this federal court has no authority or jurisdiction to grant the relief the remaining plaintiff seeks.”

Pepper was nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin by President Barack Obama.

Her order came on the eve of a potentially tumultuous day in two other cases filed by the president in an effort to overturn Wisconsin’s election.

One of the cases, which was filed by Trump in federal court, had a hearing scheduled for Thursday morning. The other, filed by Trump’s campaign in state court, had a hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Trump’s campaign has also joined a lawsuit filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas seeking to overturn the results of the election in Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania. That case was filed directly with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected two other lawsuits filed last week by Wisconsin voters seeking to overturn the election.

The state Supreme Court also rejected Trump’s state lawsuit, but left the door open for the president’s campaign to file the case in circuit court.