Arizona was once synonymous with terms like "Goldwater Republican," "Goldwater conservative" and "McCain Republican." But in 2023, Arizona will have two Democratic U.S. senators (Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema), a Democratic governor (Katie Hobbs) and a Democratic secretary of state (Adrian Fontes).
Critics of far-right MAGA Republicans Kari Lake (who lost to Hobbs) and Mark Finchem (who lost to Fontes) campaigned on the Big Lie, falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. But that wasn't a recipe for success for Lake and Finchem, who have been quite litigious. And now, according to journalist Steve Benen, they are finding out that some judges don't like having the courts used for cheap political theatrics.
In an op-ed published on MSNBC's website on December 5 for MaddowBlog, Benen explains, "Months before any ballots were cast, these two filed a federal lawsuit, hoping to prevent Maricopa and Pima Counties from using electronic election equipment. By any fair measure, the litigation was not smart. It also wasn't successful. But before the case was thrown out over the summer, members of the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors sought sanctions against the plaintiffs for the 'numerous false allegations about Arizona elections' Lake, Finchem, and their attorneys made in their complaint."
Those sanctions, Benen notes, are being granted by U.S. District Judge John Tuchi.
The Arizona Republic, on December 2, reported, "In a blistering 30-page opinion, a federal judge ordered sanctions against the attorneys of Kari Lake and Mark Finchem in their lawsuit against voting machines, hoping to deter 'similarly baseless suits in the future'.... In his order granting sanctions…. (Tuchi) delivered strong punches to the arguments that Lake, Finchem and their attorneys put forth in what he deemed a 'frivolous complaint.'"
The lesson for MAGA Republicans, Benen stresses, is that the courts are not a stage for political theatrics.
"American courtrooms are not supposed to be abused by politicians filing frivolous cases in pursuit of partisan theatrics," Benen writes. "The judiciary is not a toy. There is a reasonable expectation that all litigation, even if ultimately unsuccessful, have at least some merit."