Obama judge calls top Dem law firm's Wisconsin election lawsuit out: 'Makes no sense'

 May 13, 2024

A prominent Democratic law firm that was attempting to challenge a requirement in Wisconsin that would require absentee ballot witnesses was severely criticized by a federal judge, as Fox News reported.

"Normally, the court would begin by searching for other textual clues in the statute. But in this case, the most obvious problem with plaintiffs’ interpretation is that it simply does not make any sense," U.S. District Judge James Peterson said in a ruling against the Elias Law Group, the firm founded by Democratic super lawyer and former Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias, which was attempting to challenge the Wisconsin law.

One of the most important aspects of the matter is the state statute in Wisconsin, namely § 6.87(2), which specifies the conditions for absentee voting within the state.

State Decision

According to the law in Wisconsin, voters are required to not only attest that they fit the requirements to vote, but also that they have followed the necessary process for filling out an absentee ballot. This process includes a component that requires "witness certification."

According to Elias, the requirement for a witness is in violation of both the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He argued that a witness would be required to verify the legitimacy of the voter who is filling out the ballot.

"Under plaintiffs’ interpretation, every witness would have to determine the voter’s age, residence, citizenship, criminal history, whether the voter is unable or unwilling to vote in person, whether the voter has voted at another location or is planning to do so, whether the voter is capable of understanding the objective of the voting process, whether the voter is under a guardianship, and, if so, whether a court has determined that the voter is competent," Peterson, an Obama appointee, wrote.

"Many witnesses would be unable to independently verify much of the required information," Peterson continued.

"The statute allows any adult U.S. citizen to serve as a witness, suggesting that a wide variety of people should be able to do the job… It makes no sense to interpret § 6.87 in a way that would make compliance virtually impossible."

Reason for the Ruling

The judgment was made as a result of the failure of the leading firm in another lawsuit involving Wisconsin, in which Elias attempted to compel the state to alter its congressional geographic boundaries.

A victory for Republicans in the state of Wisconsin was won when the Supreme Court of Wisconsin decided not to consider the case.

It was pointed out by Jonathan Turley, a contributor to Fox News Media and the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, that Elias himself has been at the center of a number of disputes and judicial setbacks in recent times.

"Elias has been sanctioned in past litigation. Yet, other Democrats have continued to hire Elias despite his checkered past," Turley wrote Saturday.

"Elias unsuccessfully led efforts to challenge Democratic losses.  Elias also was the subject of intense criticism after a tweet that some have called inherently racist."

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