Hundreds of GOP House members sign onto Texas-led election lawsuit

Southwest

In this Nov. 5, 2020, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court has rejected Republicans’ last-gasp bid to reverse Pennsylvania’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the electoral battleground. The court without comment Tuesday, Dec. 8, refused to call into question the certification process in Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

HOUSTON (NewsNation Now) — The Texas lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory aims to invalidate voting results in four other states. On Friday, 126 members of Congress and multiple state attorneys general signed onto the case in support of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s push for the Supreme Court to keep those states from voting in the Electoral College.

The targeted states are Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin; add their weight together and they equal 62 Electoral College votes. 

This is the last attempt to subvert the results of the Nov. 3 election by President Donald Trump as his term is set to end. While many of the signatories are conservatives, the filing means that more than half of House Republicans, including their top two leaders, Reps. Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, believe the Supreme Court should set aside the will of the people.

Seventeen Republican attorneys general are backing the unprecedented case that President Trump is calling “the big one” despite the fact that the president and his allies have lost dozens of times in courts across the country and have shown no evidence of widespread fraud. And in a filing Thursday, the Congressional Republicans claimed “unconstitutional irregularities” have “cast doubt” on the 2020 outcome and “the integrity of the American system of elections.”

Thus far, there has been no evidence of widespread fraud. Election law experts think the lawsuit will never last.

“The Supreme Court is not going to overturn the election in the Texas case, as the President has told them to do,” tweeted Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. “But we are in bad shape as a country that 17 states could support this shameful, anti-American filing” by Texas and its attorney general, Ken Paxton, he said.

Two days after Paxton sued, 17 states filed a motion supporting the lawsuit, and on Thursday six of those states asked to join the case themselves. Trump has acted to join the case, tweeting Thursday that “the Supreme Court has a chance to save our Country from the greatest Election abuse in the history of the United States.” Hours later, Trump held a meeting at the White House, scheduled before the suit was filed, with a dozen Republican attorneys general, including Paxton and several others who are backing the effort.

Still, some of the top state Republican prosecutors urging the Supreme Court to hear the case have acknowledged that the effort is a long shot and are seeking to distance themselves from Trump’s allegations of voter fraud. North Dakota’s Wayne Stenehjem, among the 17 attorneys general supporting the case, said North Dakota is not alleging voter fraud in the four states at issue.

“We’re careful on that,” said Stenehjem, who noted that his office has received thousands of calls and emails from constituents asking the state to support the suit. “But it’s worth it for the Supreme Court to weigh in and settle it once and for all,” he said.

The case has divided officials in some states.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is supporting Texas’ case, even though he said the suit was “belated” and its chances “are slim at best.” Fox said the case raised “important constitutional questions about the separation of powers and the integrity of mail-in ballots in those defendant states.”

But Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont., urged the court to reject the case. He said that the fact that Texas is not suing Montana, which Trump won, even though the state similarly used mail-in ballots underscores that “this action is less about election integrity than it is about attempting to overturn the will of the electorate.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called the attempt to overturn votes “unconscionable.” Support among other leading lawyers was disturbing, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association, told The Associated Press.

“I do think that these individuals are kowtowing to a president who has implemented some level of control and authority over the duly elected attorneys general in their states in a way that is unfortunate,” he said.

“I do think that this is a dangerous precedent to initiate.”

Suits brought by Trump and his allies have failed repeatedly across the country, and the Supreme Court this week rejected a Republican bid to reverse Pennsylvania’s certification of Biden’s victory.

Trump has spent the week tweeting about the Texas case with the hashtag “overturn” and making unfounded claims, that he had won the election but was robbed.

More than 20 other attorneys general from states including California and Virginia also filed a brief Thursday urging the court to reject the case.

Despite the political pressure, Idaho’s Republican attorney general chose not to join Texas.

“As is sometimes the case, the legally correct decision may not be the politically convenient decision,” Lawrence Wasden said in a statement. “But my responsibility is to the state of Idaho and the rule of law.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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