An Arizona judge ordered the state Republican Party to pay $18,000 over is meritless lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the election, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah ripped the party’s lawsuit seeking a different kind of hand count audit of ballots than the one prescribed by state law and had already been completed.
“That statement shows the groundlessness of the plaintiff’s legal position, because it is flat wrong as a matter of law,” Hannah wrote, accusing the party of “gaslighting” him for trying to reframe the legal issues to escape the penalty.
Hannah said that political parties have a “privileged position” in the electoral process.
“The public has a right to expect the Arizona Republican Party to conduct itself respectfully when it participates in that process,” he wrote. “It has failed to do so in this case.”
Judge slams party claim:
Hannah also slammed the party for failing to cite any legal authority for him to order Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to complete a different kind of audit.
GOP attorneys argued that the judge had the authority to “decide what the law is.”
“But that power is not a roving commission to declare the law and order people to follow it,” Hannah wrote.
Judge calls out attempts to undermine election:
Hannah took issues with the party’s claim that “public mistrust following this election motivated this lawsuit.”
“The plaintiff is effectively admitting that the suit was brought primarily for an improper purpose,” Hannah wrote. “It is saying that it filed this lawsuit for political reasons. ‘Public mistrust’ is a political issue, not a legal or factual basis for litigation.”
The party said it would appeal the ruling.
“An order like this only serves to stop plaintiffs from rightfully invoking the courts to hear their issues, and it encourages public distrust in the government for being openly hostile to them,” state GOP attorney Jack Wilenchik told the Daily Star. “For a county judge to say that widespread public mistrust in an election is an ‘improper’ reason for a political party to be in his court is sorely disrespectful to the view of the many Americans whom I am proud to represent.”