Texas Sues to Invalidate Election Outcome in Four Battleground States

December 8, 2020 by Dan McCue
Outside the U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the presidential election results in four key battleground states citing “unconstitutional irregularities” he says helped Joe Biden prevail over President Donald Trump.

In a 154-page complaint, Paxton argues that Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — all states Biden won — used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to unlawfully change their election rules, “weakening ballot integrity.”

He’s asking the High Court to declare that any electoral college votes cast by presidential electors appointed in these four states are being made in violation of the Electors Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore cannot be counted.

In addition, he’s asking the justices to enjoin the states from using the 2020 election results to appoint presidential electors to the Electoral College. Instead, he wants the court to direct the state legislatures in each of the four states to appoint a new set of electors.

Alternative remedies suggested in the complaint include having each of the four states hold a special election to choose presidential electors or for them to appoint no presidential electors at all.

The lawsuit against the four states coincides with an important deadline in the election certification process, known as the “safe harbor” threshold, after which Congress is compelled to accept states’ certified results.

Six days later, electors in the Electoral College will cast their votes, finalizing Biden’s win. The suit is also asking the Supreme Court to extend that Dec. 14 deadline “to allow these investigations to be completed.”

In a separate development, the Trump re-election campaign also addressed the “safe harbor” deadlines Tuesday, describing it as a ” statutory timeline that generally denotes the last day for states to certify election results.”

“However,” the campaign said, “it is not unprecedented for election contests to last well beyond December 8.”

In a joint statement, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as President Trump’s attorney, and Jenna Ellis, in her role as the Trump campaign’s senior legal advisor, note that “Justice Ginsburg recognized in Bush v. Gore that the date of ‘ultimate significance’ is January 6, when Congress counts and certifies the votes of the Electoral College.

“The only fixed day in the U.S. Constitution is the inauguration of the President on January 20 at noon,” Guiliani and Ellis say. “Despite the media trying desperately to proclaim that the fight is over, we will continue to champion election integrity until every legal vote is counted fairly and accurately.”

The lawsuit was filed directly with the Supreme Court because it has exclusive jurisdiction over legal disputes among states.

Paxton also argued that the high court is the only one equipped to handle such a case over the Electoral College.

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