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Dueling court rulings appear to put Michigan recount in legal limbo

Posted: 6:59 PM, Dec 06, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-06 23:31:22-05

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that the Michigan Presidential recount can continue.

However, at virtually the same time, the Michigan Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that the recount should never have moved forward.

The federal ruling came in an appeal on the case filed by Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein.

After a lower federal court ruled the recount could begin, the Michigan Republican Party appealed the decision by a lower courts to put a temporary restraining order in place.

That TRO allowed the recount to begin immediately, after state officials said it would not begin until two days later.

The federal ruling comes after a day long hearing in the Michigan Court of Appeals. During that hearing, the judges questioned whether or not their ruling would have any affect on the case because of this federal case.

In the 6th Circuit ruling, that question appears to have been answered, as the judges wrote that the state courts will have to determine if Stein has standing to request a recount in the first place.

In their ruling, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled she did not have the standing, because she does not meet the "aggrieved" standard. The court also ruled that the Michigan Board of Canvassers should never have ordered the recount.

It's not clear what these ruling mean for the recount going forward.

A statement by the Office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he is preparing a federal court filing to have the restraining order dissolved. If the filing is accepted, it would end the recount. 

The judge is that case, US District Judge Mark Goldsmith, will hold a hearing on his Temporary Restraining Order at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse.

This dueling rulings could also set up a possible showdown over the recount in the US Supreme Court.