Texas seeks to sue four battleground states Biden won over voting policies
By Elise Viebeck and Robert Barnes
In yet another last-ditch effort to reverse Biden’s victory, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said he would ask the Supreme Court to intervene in the general election over how Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin administered voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
All four states have already certified their election results, and Tuesday marked the “safe harbor” deadline that will privilege those certifications under federal law when it comes time for Congress to tally electoral votes.
Legal experts said the Texas suit would be highly unusual and raise several questions.
It was unclear whether Texas has standing to bring a retroactive complaint over how other states enforce their election statutes. The Constitution says it is up to individual states to set the terms for elections.
It was also unclear whether the Supreme Court would agree to hear it. While the high court handles disputes between states, such “original jurisdiction” cases are more likely to involve disputes over water rights or similar issues.
In a “motion for leave” to file his complaint, Paxton accused the four states — which Biden won — of imposing “new rules for the conduct of the 2020 election that were inconsistent with existing state statutes defining what constitutes a lawful vote.” The filing also rehashed debunked claims of fraud and wrongdoing by election officials that have already been dismissed by judges around the country. The Trump campaign and its allies have amassed a virtually unbroken record of nearly 50 losses in court in post-election litigation.
Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins, who typically files the state’s briefs at the Supreme Court, was not listed among the lawyers representing the state.
Steve Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas, tweeted: “It looks like we have a new leader in the ‘craziest lawsuit filed to purportedly challenge the election’ category.”
Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California at Irvine, called the filing a “news release masquerading as a lawsuit” in a blog post that outlined his view of why the action would not succeed.
“What utter garbage,” Hasen wrote. “Dangerous garbage, but garbage.”