UPDATE 3/24/23: By Michael Bryan.
Having read the AZSC order (PDF Download) and seen some additional analysis of said order, I think it fair to say that while Kari will get to continue for a few more weeks or months her dishonest fleecing of the sheep who believe her lies and distortions, the AZSC really has given very little in the way of real hope to Kari’s last hurrah. For the record, I think the AZSC ruling was correctly reasoned and fair to Lake.
Kari’s Kamp has hailed the AZSC decision as basically ruling that Kari is going to be elevated to the Governorship. In point of fact, the result is very likely to be a ruling by the trial court to dismiss the final claim on a Motion to Dismiss by Defendants, there being no realistic path to providing any evidence that proves her final remaining claim that signature verification issues changed the outcome of the election.
The AZSC ordered the trial court to: “determine whether the claim that Maricopa County failed to comply with [the statute governing signature verification] fails to state a claim pursuant to [failure to present a claim for which relief can be granted] for reasons other than laches, or, whether [Lake] can prove her claim as alleged pursuant to [the statute governing election challenges] and establish [by clear and convincing evidence] that “votes [were] affected ‘in sufficient numbers to alter the outcome of the election’…”
Recall from my prior analysis of trial court rulings that the judge rightly indicated that there must be proof of the following elements to prevail on any count (including this allegation now remanded to the trial court):
- That the alleged misconduct was an intentional act.
- That the misconduct was conducted by a person covered under statute (i.e. an “officer making or participating in a canvass”)
- That the misconduct was intended to change the result of the election.
- That the misconduct did, in fact, change the result of the election.
We have now moved back to the pre-trial motion practice phase on this final allegation, in which the trial court will accept and decide motions as to whether the remanded allegation can and should be dismissed as a matter of law (other than laches – which means that the count is NOT untimely alleged as the trial court previously ruled. The AZSC determined that it is not the signature verification procedures themselves under challenge by Lake, but rather whether the County properly FOLLOWED their own procedures), without evidence being taken at trial. To my mind, this is the very likely outcome of this remand.
It is possible that the trial court could hold another trial to give Lake another bite at the apple to provide sufficient evidence for the remanded count, but I deem that very unlikely – not to mention nigh impossible to establish even if she does get another trial on this allegation. We will have a better idea of whether a new trial will be likely once the Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss have been filed. Stay tuned here and to the excellent AZLaw blog by the redoubtable Paul Weich for the latest filings and analysis.
The Arizona Mirror reports, Supreme Court dismisses all but one of Kari Lake’s election claims:
The Arizona Supreme Court has rejected six of the seven claims that failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake made in her bid to have the court overturn her election loss.
BREAKING Arizona Supreme Court grants @KariLake a review of 1 of her 7 claims challenging lower court rulings tossing her election contest. That part of case goes back to trial court.https://t.co/iRqAO8u1g0
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) March 23, 2023
The court remanded the remaining claim, regarding signature verification in Maricopa County, back to the trial court for reconsideration.
Lake, the Donald Trump-endorsed standard-bearer for the Arizona Republican Party last year, lost the November election for governor to Democrat Katie Hobbs by more than 17,000 votes.
Since then, she has refused to concede to Hobbs, who took the governor’s seat in January, and turned to the courts to toss out the election results. She lost an election challenge in Maricopa County Superior Court as well as her appeal of that challenge.
That brought her to the state Supreme Court, which late Wednesday ruled on her claims.
Lake has insisted that she would have actually won the election if not for intentional suppression of Republican voters and rampant election fraud in Maricopa County. But courts at all levels have rejected those claims and said there is no proof to support them.
While it dismissed six of Lake’s seven claims, the Supreme Court determined that both the appeals and trial courts erred in dismissing her claim regarding signature verification. Both courts had concluded that, since Lake was challenging Maricopa County’s signature verification processes that were in place prior to the November election, she should have brought the challenge before she lost the election instead of waiting until afterward.
The Supreme Court agreed with Lake that the appellate and trial courts mischaracterized her claim, and that she was not actually challenging Maricopa County’s signature verification process but its failure to adhere to its own signature verification requirements.
“Contrary to the ruling of the trial court and the Court of Appeals Opinion, this signature verification challenge is to the application of the policies, not to the policies themselves,” the Supreme Court wrote.
Lake and her lawyers have alleged that Maricopa County accepted and tabulated early voting ballots that had signatures that did not match the ones on file for the voter.
“I am thrilled that the Supreme Court has agreed to give our signature verification evidence the appropriate forum for the evaluation it deserves,” Lake said in a Wednesday night statement. [I can keep grifting off the rubes with my election denialism, my only source of income.] “For years signatures have been a third rail for Maricopa County. The process of verifying these signatures is the only security measure on mail-in ballots. The amount of time allotted to check these signatures was only 8 seconds, which is not humanly possible. The system is completely broken. That’s why they are absolutely terrified of letting anyone take a look at their signatures.”
The Supreme Court said the trial judge can still dismiss on non-laches grounds, and that Lake must show the alleged violations affected votes in “sufficient numbers to alter the outcome of the election” rather than simply making an “untethered assertion of uncertainty.”
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) March 23, 2023
The Supreme Court vacated the portion of the appellate court’s ruling referring to the signature verification claims and ordered the trial court to reconsider the claim with the understanding that Lake is challenging Maricopa County’s adherence to its own signature verification processes, not the processes themselves.
The trial court will also have to determine if those ballots that Lake claimed should not have been accepted because of their signatures would “substantially” change the outcome of the election.
The Supreme Court will also give the defendants in the case, which include Maricopa County, Hobbs and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, a chance to ask for sanctions against Lake and her lawyers for bringing frivolous claims.
KICKER AZ Supreme Court could slap sanctions on @KariLake legal team for claim about "35,563 unaccounted for ballots." pic.twitter.com/eXBJgUmrBz
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) March 23, 2023
The high court ruled that the defendants could only ask for sanctions based on factual claims made in Lake’s petition to the Supreme Court, but not based on their legal arguments. The court also acknowledged that at least one of Lake’s claims in her appeal was false, saying that “record does not reflect that 35,563 unaccounted ballots were added to the total count,” a claim that Lake made for the first time in her petition to the Supreme Court.
“Krazy Kari” Lake will never be able to meet the Court’s standard of proof that Maricopa County’s signature verification process “substantially” changed the outcome of the election. She has offered no credible evidence for any of her krazy claims in this case. And the Court is never going to overturn the results of the 2022 election, because if Maricopa County’s signature verification process “substantially” changed the outcome of the election for “Krazy Kari” Lake, it also did so for every statewide elective office, numerous state legislative races, and the ballot propositions on the ballot. The entire election would have to be voided, and everyone currently serving in elective office elected in November 2022 is holding office illegitimately. So everything the legislature is currently doing is also void and illegitimate. The Court is never going to order a “do over.”
“Krazy Kari” Lake will continue to grift off the election denier rubes who are true believers and piss away their hard earned money on this con artist.
To steal from a TPM commenter, Kari Lake…a lowlife in high heels.
It’s gotten so weird that it’s difficult to tell truth from satire:
Spot on! Grifting con-artist. The GOP feeds and enables hatred and division, as they have no other agenda.