I asked Lawyer X to summarize today’s order by Judge Bridges, and to explain the significance, if any.
As to the order itself, no change. He simply signed the transcript. The GOP asked for an April 4 trial date and the judge dashed their hopes of any rush to trial. He said he could not begin to set a trial date until he resolved whether they could use their proportional reduction method of guessing the impact of errors and votes, or whether they would have to follow existing Washington law and prove how the votes were cast. He also said he would not set a trial until both sides agreed their discovery was done.
Translation: the GOP has not convinced him they can use a shortcut to prove their case (which case they have previously said they couldn’t prove anyway) and they have not convinced him there is any great injustice here that would require haste in resolution.
Spokeswoman Mary Lane is trying to spin today’s order as some sort of huge victory for Dino Rossi, but these days, just getting out of bed in the morning is probably a big victory for Dino. The Democrats had hoped Judge Bridges would clarify the Feb. 4 transcript, but the more I read through it, the more it looks to me like the Dems should be mighty comfortable with today’s status quo ruling.
I’ll comment more on this later, but one particularly interesting point in Lawyer X’s comments is the mention of GOP efforts to use a “proportional reduction method” for estimating the impact of errors and illegal votes. While such a method might dramatically lessen Rossi’s burden of proof, it also seems to be an acknowledgment that they will have to prove something. Still, it seems like an awfully long shot, considering the relatively small number of illegal votes and true irregularities alleged thus far.
In any case, I don’t think Dems are going to lose much sleep over today’s hearing.