For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Moments ago, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith, acquiescing to arguments made by Donald Trump and Michigan Republicans, lifted his emergency order given Monday that set into motion Michigan’s statewide recount.
Vowing to continue fighting aggressively for the constitutional rights of Michigan voters, the Stein campaign announced that it has appealed yesterday’s ruling to Michigan’s State Supreme Court. The campaign has moved to disqualify two Michigan Supreme Court justices from hearing cases related to the recount. Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. and Justice Joan Larsen have been mentioned by Donald Trump as potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, and their involvement in the case would create an appearance of impropriety.
Hayley Horowitz and Jessica Clarke, the Stein campaign’s lead lawyers in Michigan, issued the following in response to the ruling:
“We are deeply disappointed in Judge Goldsmith’s ruling today, which gives deference to partisan state judges in Michigan who are attempting to block the state’s recount simply because of the person who made the request, without regard for the integrity of Michigan’s electoral system. The history of this country is one where federal courts step in to protect the constitutional voting rights of all Americans, especially when they are under attack in the states. Well today, they are under brutal attack. Backed by Michigan Republicans, Donald Trump — who himself has repeatedly alleged widespread voter fraud and a “rigged election” — suddenly sees no need for a routine verification of the democratic process in Michigan. His efforts to suppress the vote count is a stunning about-face, even by Trump’s own standards.”
“Recounts are not about politics or parties; they are about our democracy. They are, as Judge Goldsmith said himself Monday, a way to ensure the ‘fundamental right to vote, and to have that vote conducted fairly and counted accurately, which is the bedrock of our nation.'” By stopping the recount in Michigan, Trump and Michigan Republicans are explicitly stripping the constitutional rights of Michigan voters straight from under them. Worse, they are continuing to undermine confidence in the American political system by denying voters a chance to be reassured that the election results were accurate.”
“But make no mistake, we are not backing down from this fight — a fight to protect the hard-fought, hard-won civil and voting rights of all Americans. Our campaign will seek immediate relief in Michigan’s Supreme Court to ensure the recount that is already underway in all Michigan counties continues. With so many irregularities in Michigan — including more than 75,000 under-votes, many in urban areas, and widespread carelessness, and perhaps interference, with preserving ballots — there is a real possibility the rights of voters in Michigan may have been suppressed during this election. We need this recount to ensure the fairness, accuracy and integrity of the vote.”
On Monday, a federal judge in Michigan granted the Stein campaign’s emergency request to immediately start the statewide recount. Writing in an opinion issued just after midnight on Monday, December 5, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said that: “The fundamental right invoked by plaintiffs – the right to vote, and to have that vote conducted fairly and counted accurately – is the bedrock of our nation.” Leaving little room for doubt, the Judge added: “Such uncertainty shows that there is a credible threat to the voters’ right to have a determination made that Michigan’s vote for president was properly tabulated.”
The majority of experts agree that the ruling from District Judge Goldsmith effectively “ties the hands” of Michigan State Courts to stop the recount, even as the Michigan Court of Appeals will hear arguments Tuesday that the recount should be overturned on technical grounds. State courts in Michigan simply cannot order an issue that is inconsistent with an order from federal court, Robert Sedler, a leading constitutional law expert recently told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s all a matter of federal supremacy. It’s pretty basic.”
For their part, Trump and the Attorney General seemingly understand the federal court’s supremacy, which is why they simultaneously filed an emergency motion in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to “stay” the district’s court order, asking that the recount already underway be stopped. But the recount is moving forward, with Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas working swiftly and in tandem with local officials, pushing for a hand-recount of the 4.9 million ballots, rather than just using machines. Even Republican Governor Rick Snyder has encouraged election officials to conduct the recount “promptly.”