By Jessica Mathews /

A judge won’t toss the case filed against two conservative activists charged with making false voter robocalls.

Judge Margaret Van Houten rejected a motion to quash the information and dismiss the case against 54-year-old Jack Burkman and 22-year-old Jacob Wohl - rejecting the pair’s constitutional arguments. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel made the announcement Tuesday, saying they’re pleased with the court's ruling and look forward to the case continuing on to the next stage.

Burkman and Wohl are accused of orchestrating a robocall to intimidate voters in Detroit and other cities with significant minority populations. The men have a history of staging hoaxes and spreading false smears against government officials. The calls falsely warned residents in majority-Black Detroit and urban areas in at least four other states that voting by mail in the November 3rd election could subject people to arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination. The robocalls were made in late August and went out to nearly 12,000 residents in the Detroit area.

In their motion and oral arguments, Burkman and Wohl claimed the conduct did not violate Michigan’s voter intimidation law and that the robocalls were nonetheless protected by the First Amendment.

Judge Van Houten rejected those arguments. Van Houten ruled that the district court did not abuse its authority in binding the case over to Circuit Court because the robocall had the potential to deter people from voting by mail. She also rejected the free speech argument made by the defendants.

The case remains pending in Third Circuit Court.