State

Factions Form Around Texas’ Election Lawsuit Against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin

Texas got the ball rolling on the latest legal challenge to the 2020 election results, and, as the snowball effect tends to provide, other states have responded affirmatively.

The attorneys general for Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri each indicated they’d join the case should the court agree to hear it. On Wednesday, those four states joined 13 others in filing statements of support, known as amici curiae briefs, with the court in Texas’ lawsuit.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed his support Tuesday, saying, “[The lawsuit] tries to accelerate the process, providing certainty and clarity about the entire election process. The United States of America needs that.”

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick added, “Texas Attorney General [Ken Paxton] is right to challenge those battleground states that made last minute changes to election procedures that weakened ballot integrity. Americans must be able to trust our elections.”

Republican Party of Texas Chair Allen West echoed the support, stating, “The unconstitutional and illegal actions in those states relating to the 2020 national election violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment for Texans. We cannot tolerate judicial and executive actions that undermine election law. These matters should be resolved in our respective state legislatures.”

Additionally, President Trump himself weighed in, suggesting his campaign would join the suit as well. He tweeted, “We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!”

The president followed through on that promise Wednesday, filing a motion to intervene in the suit.

Late Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a suit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin alleging that the states violated the Electors Clause of the United States Constitution in conducting the 2020 presidential election.

One argument Texas makes for its interest in the case is the federal nature of the government, where not only the people but the states have interests that must be protected. 

The Senate was originally designed by America’s founders to represent the states, Texas argues. Because it is presided over by the vice president of the United States, states like Texas have a particular interest in the election of the vice president, who may cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.  

Georgia’s two embattled GOP Senators currently the focus of national attention as their re-elections hinge upon runoff elections both voiced their support for the suit.

The violation, Texas claims, exists because non-legislative actors, such as governors and courts, changed election rules that would result in the appointment of presidential electors. In the Electors Clause of the Constitution, that authority is delegated to the state legislatures alone.

Notably, Texas itself issued various non-legislative dictates that changed certain election rules.

Further, the suit alleges that the rule changes “opened the door to election irregularities,” which have in turn has sown “seeds of deep distrust” across the country. The suit goes on to list some of the evidence of irregularities that has been presented in various lawsuits across the country.

Ultimately, it asks the Supreme Court to extend the December 14 deadline for certification of presidential electors to allow for investigations into the legitimacy of the popular vote outcome.

Through a spokesperson, Georgia Republican Attorney General Chris Carr’s office said of the challenge, “With all due respect, the Texas attorney general is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia.”

The attorneys general for Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — the three other named states and all Democrats — criticized the veracity of the case. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul was especially scathing, saying, “This suit really is embarrassing for Texas. It’s a waste of tax dollars, and I feel sorry for Texas residents that their tax dollars are being spent on this.”

In the suit, Texas makes claims regarding the changes to Georgia’s elections rules without legislative approval. For example, it says that Georgia’s secretary of state “unilaterally abrogated Georgia’s statute governing the signature verification process for absentee ballots,” and also promulgated a rule allowing absentee ballots to be counted up to three weeks before Election Day when state law prohibits early tallying of such ballots.

The suit goes on to explain that these changes “made a material impact on the outcome of the election.” 

Georgia’s governor, lieutenant. governor, and secretary of state, all Republicans, have also disputed the veracity of general election fraud claims. Trump has called for the state legislatures to void the election results and cast their own vote to decide how to apportion the state’s electoral votes — a responsibility originally vested in those bodies.

But, for example, the Georgia legislature in 1960 passed a law prohibiting them from approving Electoral College delegates except when an election is not possible. Governor Brian Kemp has told legislators they have no power to change the electoral delegates.

Of the states named by the lawsuit, Georgia had the closest margin between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden of less than 13,000 votes.

For a full breakdown of the case, read here.

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