Nevada high court gets filings in Trump campaign appeal
LAS VEGAS — Attorneys for Democrats are deriding as “reckless” and “lacking any legal basis” a state Supreme Court appeal by the Donald Trump campaign aimed at nullifying President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win in Nevada.
At the same time, lawyers pressing the contest-of-election bid for six GOP Electoral College delegates moved Tuesday to disqualify one of the court’s most senior justices from hearing what filings call a due-process right to argue there was enough doubt about ballots and counting that the Nov. 3 election should be thrown out.
“If the will of the voters is reasonably in doubt due to legal problems with the election process,” Trump campaign attorneys Shana Weir and Jesse Binnall wrote, “nullifying the doubtful election result actually ensures government by consent and the right to vote.”
Lawyers representing the Nevada and national Democratic parties argue there is no doubt of the results and the election is decided.
“After weeks of frivolous lawsuits to undo the expressed will of the people,” they wrote, “Nevadans deserve finality and assurance that neither contestants nor anyone else — including the candidate they represent — can threaten their wholesale disenfranchisement.”
The competing filings came on a fast-track appeal to the state high court, where one of the seven justices, Elissa Cadish, already disqualified herself from hearing the case due to an unspecified relationship with appeal participants.
Weir and Binnall demanded Justice James Hardesty also recuse himself for publicly praising Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske on Nov. 24, saying she carried out what the justice called “an extraordinarily successful election.”
Hardesty’s comments came as the Supreme Court certified that Biden won the state by 33,596 votes, or nearly 2.4% of the 1.4 million votes cast.
Hardesty is considered a conservative member of the nonpartisan court, where he first won election in 2004. He is second in seniority to Justice Mark Gibbons, who will retire in January.
Democrats are defending the vote and Judge James Todd Russell’s 35-page order on Friday dismissing the Trump campaign contest-of-election.
“Contestants did not prove under any standard of proof that any illegal votes were cast and counted, or legal votes were not counted at all, for any other improper or illegal reason,” Russell ruled following a hearing last Thursday in Carson City District Court.
The judge also said he saw no proof that enough votes were in question “to raise reasonable doubt as to the outcome of the election.”
Attorneys Bradley Schrager and Daniel Bravo in Las Vegas and Marc Elias and John Devaney of Washington, D.C., represent the Democratic electors. They referred to Trump, without naming him, and dozens of unsuccessful election legal challenges brought by his campaign and his allies in battleground states.
More than 30 have been rejected or dropped, according to an Associated Press tally, including several in state and federal courts in Nevada.
The Electoral College is due to finalize nationwide presidential election results next Monday, and the state high court has indicated it intends to quickly reach its decision. It was not clear if oral arguments will be held.