Lawyers for Green Party candidate Jill Stein urged the action in an emergency request, and U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith held a rare Sunday hearing in federal court. It lasted three hours, and Goldsmith issued a written opinion just after midnight.
Goldsmith said a state law requiring a two business day waiting period to start the recount likely violates voting rights. Stein has shown "a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed" by Dec. 13 -- the federal "safe harbor" deadline to guarantee Michigan's electoral votes are counted when the electoral college meets on Dec. 19.
"With the perceived integrity of the presidential election as it was conducted in Michigan at stake, concerns with cost pale in comparison," Goldsmith said in his opinion.
In ordering the recount to begin at noon Monday, rather than Wednesday morning under the two-day waiting period the state planned to observe, Goldsmith ordered the recount, once started, "must continue until further order of this court."