It was an extraordinary public statement from a former state Supreme Court justice hired by Republican lawmakers to probe the 2020 election: Wisconsin should take a “hard look” at canceling Joe Biden’s victory and revoking the state’s 10 electoral college votes.
The comment in March drew applause from a packed hearing room in the state Capitol and praise from former president Donald Trump, whose allies have called for throwing out the results in Wisconsin and other battleground states even though constitutional scholars have scoffed at the notion as absurd.
But a newly unearthed memo shows that the former justice, Michael Gableman, soon afterward offered a far different analysis in private.
“While decertification of the 2020 presidential election is theoretically possible, it is unprecedented and raises numerous substantial constitutional issues that would be difficult to resolve. Thus, the legal obstacles to its accomplishment render such an outcome a practical impossibility,” Gableman wrote to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
The contrasting public and private messages offer a glimpse into the dueling pressures facing Republicans in Wisconsin as they struggle to balance Trump’s baseless demands for reversing the election with the legal and political realities on the ground. With competitive races this year for governor and U.S. Senate, the party is seeking to excite Trump’s base, which is largely supportive of calls to revoke Biden’s win, while not alienating centrist voters turned off by the inability of some to let go of 2020.
Gableman and a spokeswoman for Vos offered no comment on the memo.