Competing decisions by state, federal courts put recount in limbo

- Two courts, two different decisions.

There is a lot of confusion over the future of Michigan's presidential recount effort.

First, a federal appeals court refused to stop the recount. Then hours later, a state appeals court ruled that the recount should never have started in the first place because she was not close to winning the election.

So what happens next? Here is what was laid before the Michigan Court of Appeals in Lansing. Does Green Party Candidate Jill Stein have the right to demand a recount? And how much is all costing taxpayers? Lastly, and most importantly, can the state court do anything about it?

That last question is still yet to be determined. But, we're one step closer to finding out.

Right after hearing the lawsuit to halt the recount, the three-judge panel in the court of appeals ruled that Dr. Stein had no right to seek the recount in the first place, because she was not even close to winning the election.

The decision sides with the attorney for President-elect Donald Trump and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

"How can you be injured if the result of the recount isn't going to change your status in any fashion at all?" asks Gary Gordon, an attorney for Trump.
 
The recount, which began in parts of the state Monday and continued Tuesday, is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each day. A federal judge expedited Stein's recount, and was even upheld after a federal appeal.

But, at the least, the state's ruling creates precedent that could prevent this action in the future.

"We don't want to be in this position in the future where a fourth-place candidate incurs millions of taxpayer dollars simply for authenticating a recount that is not going to change any result," says John Bursch, attorney for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

But if you ask Stein's attorney, he says this state ruling doesn't change anything for his client.

"The law is very clear that a standing federal court order cannot be interfered with by a state court, or anyone else," says Mark Brewer. "That means the recount continues until a federal court says otherwise."

But Schuette sees it differently, posting on Twitter, "The Michigan Court of Appeals agreed that Jill Stein is not an aggrieved candidate and the recount must stop."

Before making their ruling, the judges wanted to make sure that Stein was the only one attorney Mark Brewer was working for. He assured him that he was.

"I've had no contact with the Clinton campaign," Brewer says. "I'm working for Jill Stein; she hired me to go to bat for the voters of Michigan."

Lansing bureau chief Tim Skubick weighs in, in the video above. He believes the recount will be stopped, but Brewer could appeal to the state supreme court.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the federal judge who on Monday ordered the recount to begin will hold a hearing Wednesday on whether to stop it. Stay tuned for updates from that hearing. 

The state elections board is also meeting Wednesday. 


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