Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wisconsin Supreme Court Will Take Up Trump Lawsuit Appeal To Overturn Biden Win

Updated at 7:26 pm. ET

Hours after a Wisconsin lower court rejected another of President Trump's attempts to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden on Friday, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case over the weekend.

The decision by the conservative-controlled court on Friday means Trump's case will skip over the Wisconsin Court of Appeals as the president pursues his quest to invalidate more than 221,000 ballots. That reversal could win him an additional 10 electoral votes, but Trump would still trail Biden, who would have 296. Biden currently has 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232.

Electoral College votes are set to be cast on Monday.

It is the latest step in the president's sometimes bizarre legal efforts to undermine Biden's November election victory, which have met with stern reprimands from multiple judges in battleground states.

The lower court's decision earlier Friday dismissed the Trump campaign's claims that election officials in two counties failed to follow state law regarding absentee ballots during Wisconsin's recount in the close race.

"The certification of the results of the 2020 Wisconsin presidential election, after the Dane County and Milwaukee County recounts, is affirmed," Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek said during the hearing Friday morning.

Wisconsin sent its certificate of ascertainment for the 2020 election to the National Archives on Nov. 30, stating that Biden defeated Trump in the state by more than 20,000 votes.

Simanek said the counties made reasonable accommodations because of the coronavirus and had correctly interpreted Wisconsin's absentee-voting laws.

Immediately following the ruling, the Trump campaign announced it would file an appeal.

"Obviously, the Supreme Court is expecting to hear from us shortly," Trump campaign attorney Jim Troupis said at the end of the hearing as Simanek prepared to draft his court order.

During the hearing, Simanek said that at this point in the electoral process, the court is restricted in what it can review. And he noted the issue did not hinge on questions of fraud.

"Among the groups of voters challenged were those who voted in person before Election Day and those who said they were 'indefinitely confined,' which let them request an absentee ballot without showing a photo ID," NPR member station Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

"I'm not here to make broad determinations on constitutional issues," Simanek said.

While the judge acknowledged the extraordinary circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic imposed on the Nov. 3 vote, he said the two candidates' representatives had been able to monitor the process as it took place.

"But there's no real dispute here," Simanek said. "The observers were able to properly challenge ballots they thought should not have been counted. The parties reached an agreement early on for a standing rejection to broad ranges of ballots in the four categories that are in dispute here."

The judge continued, "I believe the recount was transparent and open – I believe it may have even been livestreamed. There is no dispute in that regard."

The Trump campaign is grasping for ways to prevent Biden's victory from being recognized by the Electoral College – an event set to occur Monday, when electors will vote in their respective states.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information