Date: December 12, 2020
“Texas’ Republican attorney general, Ken Paxton, on Tuesday announced a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate presidential election results in four key swing states that helped secure Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump.
The unusual lawsuit, which was filed directly to the Supreme Court, asserts that “unlawful election results” in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan — all of which Biden won — should be declared unconstitutional.
Legal experts quickly dismissed the case as political theater without precedent in American history.
The filing argues that those states used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to unlawfully change their election rules “through executive fiat or friendly lawsuits, thereby weakening ballot integrity.”
“Any electoral college votes cast by such presidential electors appointed” in those states “cannot be counted,” Texas asks the high court to rule.
The Lone Star State’s attempt to discount other states’ electoral votes follows a slew of long-shot legal challenges with similar goals that have been brought in lower courts by Trump’s campaign and other attorneys. Those lawsuits have repeatedly failed to invalidate ballots cast for Biden.
The claims in Texas’ lawsuit “are false and irresponsible,” Georgia’s deputy secretary of state, Jordan Fuchs, said in a fiery statement shortly after Paxton announced the legal action.
“Texas alleges that there are 80,000 forged signatures on absentee ballots in Georgia, but they don’t bring forward a single person who this happened to. That’s because it didn’t happen,” Fuchs’ statement said.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called the suit a “publicity stunt” and “beneath the dignity” of Paxton’s office. Josh Kaul, the attorney general of Wisconsin, said in a statement the case was “genuinely embarrassing.”
Experts in election law were also quick to dismiss the likelihood of the nine Supreme Court justices taking the case. Paul Smith, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center who has argued voting rights cases at the Supreme Court, said the case was “wacko.”
“There is a whole system in Pennsylvania and the other states for contesting the election — that’s all been done,” said Smith, who also serves as vice president of litigation and strategy at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. “I don’t think the Supreme Court will have interest in this.”
The professor added that Texas could run into trouble in proving that it has grounds to sue, known in legal terms as “standing.”
“It’s totally unprecedented, the idea that one state would, at the Supreme Court, claim that other states’ votes were cast in the wrong way — that’s never happened,” he said. “What is the injury to the state of Texas because Pennsylvania’s votes were cast for Mr. Biden instead of Mr. Trump? There is no connection there.”
Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, wrote on his popular legal blog that the suit was “utter garbage” and also disputed the idea that Texas had standing, noting that “it has no say over how other states choose electors.”
Paxton wrote in the brief that Texas has standing because of its interest in which party controls the Senate, which it says “represents the States.”
“While Americans likely care more about who is elected President, the States have a distinct interest in who is elected Vice President and thus who can cast the tiebreaking vote in the Senate,” he wrote.”