Michigan Supreme Court Slams The Door On Jill Stein's Recount Case

The Michigan election recount is over.
Workers were recounting election ballots in Waterford, Michigan, on Dec. 5.
Workers were recounting election ballots in Waterford, Michigan, on Dec. 5.

The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday shot down Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s request to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that had halted the state’s election recount.

The decision effectively ends the Michigan recount ― and in so doing, ends any hope that Stein’s broader recount efforts would change the election result. Stein has sought recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well, but Hillary Clinton needed to be declared the winner in all three states to best Donald Trump in the Electoral College.

“Although we are deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the Michigan Supreme Court not to hear our appeal that would have allowed Michigan’s recount to finish, we are not surprised given the political motives of the majority. The fact is that in Michigan, political cronyism, bureaucratic obstruction, and legal maneuvering have run roughshod over the democratic process,” Stein said in a statement responding to the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision.

Stein will hold a “rally for democracy” protesting the decision in front of Detroit’s Cobo Center on Saturday at 2 pm ET.

The recount in Michigan had begun this past Monday, after the initial legal skirmishes concluded with a federal judge’s order to proceed. It stopped Wednesday evening, when the same judge effectively upheld a Michigan Court of Appeals decision halting the recount. 

Stein then moved to challenge the Michigan Court of Appeals decision at the state’s Supreme Court.

Michigan’s top court, by a 3-to-2 vote, declined to hear Stein’s appeal. The opinion written by Justices Brian Zahra and David Viviano, and joined by Justice Stephen Markman, affirmed the Michigan Court of Appeals’ conclusion that Stein had failed to allege that she was “aggrieved” in any way by any potential “fraud or mistake” in the counting of the votes. In other words, what difference would any possible shift in Michigan’s vote count make to someone who had finished a very distant fourth place in the presidential election?

Only five of the Michigan Supreme Court’s seven justices considered whether to hear the appeal. Chief Justice Robert Young and Justice Joan Larsen recused themselves after Stein questioned whether they could decide the case independently, since President-elect Trump had put them on a list of preferred candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The recount that Stein initiated in Wisconsin continues and will be complete by this coming Monday. Thus far it has barely changed Trump’s margin of victory in the state.

Stein is suing Pennsylvania in federal court to force a statewide election recount there. U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond is expected to issue a decision early Monday on her request to investigate possible tampering in the Keystone State’s voting systems.