U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Trump’s election challenge in Wisconsin, and the attorney in another case could be sanctioned

MADISON – In the final blows to attempts to overturn Wisconsin’s presidential results, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review one case and a judge has ruled an attorney bringing another one could face professional sanctions for making baseless claims.

The twin rulings stamp out the last efforts to reverse President Joe Biden’s win in the Badger State. 

Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it would not review a 4-3 decision against Trump by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The majority in that ruling found one of Trump’s challenges to Wisconsin’s results was without merit and his others were brought far too late to be considered by the state justices. 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court decision was one of several it issued in December that upheld Biden’s narrow win over then-President Donald Trump.

Separately, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Friday asked a court committee to consider reprimanding the attorney for two Wisconsin lawmakers and others who challenged the results. He determined their lawsuit was meritless and consisted of political grandstanding.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote that the pair of Wisconsin Republicans and the others had not sought to get their claim resolved quickly, leaving him to “conclude that they wished only to file a sweeping Complaint filled with baseless fraud allegations and tenuous legal claims to undermine a legitimate presidential election.”

He called the lawsuit flimsy and wrote that it appeared grounded in partisan gamesmanship. He sent the matter to the court’s Committee on Grievances, which will determine whether the attorney behind the case, Erick Kaardal of Minneapolis, should be disciplined for bringing it. 

The lawsuit was brought in December by Wisconsin Republican Reps. David Steffen of Howard and Jeffrey Mursau of Crivitz and more than a dozen others. It sought to overturn the results in Wisconsin and other battleground states.

Boasberg, who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama, quickly told them they were misreading the Constitution and were bringing a lawsuit that would be laughable if it weren’t trying to subvert democracy.

Steffen, Mursau and the others then asked to drop their lawsuit. Boasberg agreed but asked for a briefing on whether sanctions should be issued against Kaardal. On Friday, he wrote that he was unsatisfied with Kaardal’s responses and asked the court committee to take up the issue. 

Kaardal, Steffen and Mursau did not immediately respond to questions Monday from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. When he joined the lawsuit in December, Steffen wrote on Facebook that he had signed onto it because he believed it was “fundamentally about the constitutionally prescribed roles and responsibilities of state legislators.”

The lawsuit was riddled with errors. Steffen, Mursau and the others misidentified the majority leader of the Wisconsin Senate in their lawsuit and attempted to sue the Electoral College, which is a process, not a legal entity that can be sued. 

By bringing their lawsuit, Steffen and Mursau challenged an election that saw them win new terms. While they challenged Biden’s victory, they have not publicly questioned the results in their own races.

Contact Patrick Marley at patrick.marley@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.