Judge berates state Republicans for meritless lawsuit

Judge John Hannah

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge is blasting the Arizona Republican Party, saying it filed an utterly meritless lawsuit solely to undermine public confidence in the 2020 General Election.

In a 10-page ruling excoriating the GOP for filing suit, Judge John Hannah said Arizona law gives political parties a “privileged position” in the electoral process, part of what’s necessary for self-government.

“The public has a right to expect the Arizona Republican Party to conduct itself respectfully when it participates in that process,” Hannah wrote in ordering it to pay more than $18,000 in legal fees. “It has failed to do so in this case.”

And he even accused the party of “gaslighting” him in how it sought to frame the legal issues as it sought to escape those fees.

Hannah said it was clear from the start there was no legal basis for the party and its attorney to demand a different kind of hand count audit of ballots than the one spelled out in state law.

“That statement shows the groundlessness of the plaintiff’s legal position, because it is flat wrong as a matter of law,” the judge wrote in a ruling released Monday.

The only basis for such a claim, Hannah wrote, is if there is an allegation of fraud or that the result would have been different had proper procedures been followed. But what the GOP wanted was a different method of doing the legally required — and already performed — hand count “to ensure voter confidence and integrity.”

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