Today is the day that state Senator Chris McDaniel is expected to announce whether he will appeal a judge’s decision to dismiss his lawsuit contesting the results of the June Republican Senatorial runoff. Some legal experts believe McDaniel will have a hard time convincing the state's highest court to reverse the decision.
It's been nearly two-and-a-half months since long-time U-S Senator Thad Cochran was declared the winner of the June GOP Senate runoff against state Senator Chris McDaniel. In that time, McDaniel has continually argued that voter fraud and other irregularities turned the tide of the election in Cochran's favor, even going as far as suing Cochran and asking a judge to declare him the rightful winner of the election.
However, last week, special judge Hollis McGehee -- the retired chancellor charged with overseeing the lawsuit -- threw the case out of court; stating that McDaniel waited too long to file the challenge.
Mississippi College School of Law Professor Matt Steffey says McGehee made the right call.
"The specially appointed judge was not only correct, but obligated essentially to dismiss proceedings at this point because the lower court judge is obligated to follow binding Mississippi Supreme Court precedence whether the judge agrees with it or not." says Steffey. "I believe that binding precedent dictated the results that we saw."
Despite the judge's decision, McDaniel can appeal the dismissal by taking his case to the state's highest court. Ed Pittman is the Former Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court.
"All he has to do to appeal is give notice officially to the court that he's going to appeal." Pittman says. "File his notice of appeal and then write a brief putting forward his legal arguments. I think the Supreme Court will treat it expeditiously. They understand that an answer is needed."
Pittman went on to explain that if McDaniel does appeal there are two possible outcomes. The Supreme Court could up hold McGehee's decision or. . .
"The court could disagree with the dismissal and send it back for trial to develop the facts." says Pittman. "I do know that it's likely."
McDaniel is expected to announce whether he will continue the challenge today.