Summary List Placement
The US Supreme Court on Fridy struck down Republicans’ latest longshot effort to nullify the results of the 2020 election.
In a brief order issued Friday evening, the high court said it would not hear a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton due to a lack of standing.
Texas’ case was the most brazen attempt yet by the GOP to throw the election to Trump, despite the fact that President-elect Joe Biden defeated him in both the popular vote and in the Electoral College.
Paxton’s lawsuit argued that Biden’s victories in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia should be thrown out over unsubstantiated allegations of widespread voter fraud. Texas said that as a result, the Republican-led legislatures in all four states should be allowed to select a pro-Trump slate of electors to hand Trump a victory. The case was supported by 18 Republican attorneys general, as well as a majority of House Republicans.
The Supreme Court denied Texas’ request to hear the case based on standing, saying in a one-page opinion that “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”
Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas disagreed with the other seven justices on whether the Supreme Court should have allowed Texas to file its complaint, based on their long-held view that as a matter of judicial procedure, the Supreme Court should always hear cases in which states sue each other.
But Alito noted that even if he had heard the case, he “would not grant other relief,” meaning he would have denied Texas’ request to invalidate President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in four other states.
The decision is the latest in a long string of defeats for the Trump campaign and Republican officials, who have filed nearly 40 lawsuits since Election Day and haven’t won a single case.
“The Supreme Court has decisively and speedily rejected the latest of Donald Trump and his allies’ attacks on the democratic process,” a spokesperson for Biden said in a statement after the high court issued its decision. “This is no surprise — dozens of judges, election officials from both parties, and Trump’s own Attorney General have dismissed his baseless attempts to deny that he lost the election.”
The president significantly hyped the Texas case in the run-up to Friday’s ruling.
“We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!” he tweeted on Wednesday.
Texas’ demand was immediately decried by constitutional scholars as legally dubious and an unprecedented request for judges to overrule a democratic outcome in a free and fair election. As Business Insider has reported, despite Trump and Republicans’ claims of election malfeasance and voter fraud, the 2020 race was the safest and most secure in US history.
Even some GOP lawmakers spoke out against Paxton’s case.
“That doesn’t sound like a very Republican argument to me,” Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said in an interview airing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” citing federalism and the right of states to administer their own elections.
One of Texas’ Republican senators, John Cornyn, told CNN earlier this week that he didn’t understand the legal theory of the case.
“You know, it’s very unusual because when a state sues a state, the Supreme Court of the United States has original jurisdiction, so you don’t have to go through the ordinary procedure,” he said. “I read just the summary of it, and I frankly struggle to understand the legal theory of it.”
“Number one, why would a state, even such a great state as Texas, have a say so on how other states administer their elections?” Cornyn added. “We have a diffused and dispersed system and even though we might not like it, they may think it’s unfair … those are decided at the state and local level and not at the national level. So it’s an interesting theory, but I’m not convinced.”
That argument was echoed by the Supreme Court. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections,” the justices wrote.
Friday’s decision was the Supreme Court’s second denial this week of Republican’ efforts to void the 2020 election results; on Tuesday, the high court issued a terse order rejecting Pennsylvania legislators’ request to decertify Biden’s win in the state.
“This was not my case as has been so incorrectly reported,” the president tweeted after the Pennsylvania decision, adding, “the case that everyone has been waiting for is the State’s case with Texas and numerous others joining. It is very strong, ALL CRITERIA MET. How can you have a presidency when a vast majority think the election was RIGGED?”
Democrats, meanwhile, sounded the alarm about the precedent even filing such a case could set. Speaking to The Washington Post, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut warned that while Texas was unlikely to be successful in its crusade, the legitimization of efforts to subvert democracy bodes ill for the future.
“If this becomes at all normalized more broadly than it already is, they will steal an election two years from now or four years from now,” Murphy said.
“Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution,” the statement from the group’s chairman Allen West said. “The Texas GOP will always stand for the Constitution and for the rule of law even while others don’t.”