Arizona Supreme Court Rebukes Kari Lake Legal Challenge

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The Arizona state Supreme Court has for a second time ruled against a request by Kari Lake to jump ahead of proceedings before a state appeals court in a challenge she brought over last year’s elections, in which the pro-Trump Republican lost in the race for governor of Arizona.

Both of the rejections by the highest court in the state to Lake’s attempts at swift consideration there were this month. She filed her second request in response to what appears to for now have been an only slight extension in the hearing process at the appeals level, and accordingly, the state Supreme Court wasn’t convinced and was brief in its denial. “As indicated by the Court of Appeals’ order setting an accelerated briefing schedule, the Court has no reason to doubt that the Court of Appeals appreciates Petitioner’s desire for an expedited resolution,” Justice John Lopez IV said. The court of appeals outlined an expedited briefing schedule even after accepting Lake’s push for what is termed special action on an array of the specific allegations she made about the election, including violations of the U.S. and Arizona state Constitutions.

The delay wasn’t long. Before formally accepting jurisdiction in the matter of Lake’s push for so-called special action, the appeals court already set a January 24 date for oral arguments in her appeal. Now, there is a conference in the combined matter of her appeal of her rejection by a judge on a lower court and her push for “special action” scheduled for February 1. While it’s evidently possible the matter could sprawl beyond that date, it’s a quick turnaround! Lake’s push for special action by the appeals court seemingly includes points of contention that the lower-level judge already rejected before the trial held in December.

During that trial, the showing by Lake’s team and their witnesses was predictably unimpressive. A claimed expert named Heather Honey memorably raised complaints originating with an employee of the county (supposedly) that ballots weren’t counted before officials’ passed the trove of votes to a third-party vendor used in processing ballots… but that was in line with exactly what was supposed to happen. Other disputes have centered on issues with printing and processing ballots at polling places on Election Day. In Maricopa County, which is Arizona’s largest by population, any voter can, it seems, cast a ballot at any polling location once Election Day rolls around, and accordingly, ballots reflecting any given voter’s slate of choices are printed on demand. Some ballots were left unable to be scanned correctly onsite, and voters facing that difficulty could leave their ballots for secured tabulation later.

Lake has been in a hurry throughout this case. On December 27 of last year, a Maricopa County judge ruled against her, and by New Year’s Eve, she was already asking for special treatment by the state Supreme Court rather than the intermediary appeals court, prior to her first rejection. Since just after the beginning of January, Democratic victor Katie Hobbs has been serving as Arizona’s governor, and there is no credible indication Lake is going to suddenly come up with the evidence of an imaginary systematic conspiracy to intentionally mess with the ballot printers — or anything else — to unseat Hobbs.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons