Pennsylvania and three other states urged the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the 2020 presidential election over by quickly rejecting an unprecedented Texas lawsuit that seeks to reverse Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.
In court filings Thursday, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin offered the court a menu of grounds for disposing of the lawsuit, which seeks to overturn results in those states and block them from casting their collective 62 electoral votes for Biden when the Electoral College meets on Monday. The court could act as soon as this week.
“Texas’s effort to get this court to pick the next president has no basis in law or fact,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro argued. “The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.”
Backed by Trump and 17 other Republican-controlled states, Texas is seeking an extraordinary, last-minute intervention by the high court. Texas says its citizens’ rights were violated because the four states unconstitutionally expanded mail-in voting and opened up their elections to fraud and irregularities. In a filing Monday, Texas said that a “dark cloud hangs over the 2020 election.”
The Texas suit repeats allegations about mail-in voting that have already been roundly rejected in dozens of courts across the nation. Members of the Trump administration, including Attorney General Bill Barr, have said they haven’t found any widespread instances of fraud.
The four states argued that Texas shouldn’t be allowed to invoke the court’s so-called original jurisdiction, which lets states sue one another directly at the Supreme Court as if it were a trial judge. The group said the court hears those types of claims only when they implicate core sovereign interests.
“Texas is unable to allege that Wisconsin itself did anything to directly injure Texas’s sovereign interests,” Wisconsin Attorney General Joshua Kaul argued.
The group also says Texas lacks standing to sue in any court because it hasn’t suffered the type of concrete injury that would let it press a case. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Texas hadn’t shown more than a “generalized grievance” that the Constitution’s electors clause was violated.
The states also say Texas waited so long to sue — 34 days after the election — that its claims are now legally moot. “In a nutshell, it is too late to reverse or enjoin the results of the election,” Shapiro argued.
Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, a Republican, argued that Texas “asks this court to transfer Georgia’s electoral powers to the federal judiciary.”
Separately, Ohio’s Republican attorney general, Dave Yost, filed a brief that said Texas was asking the Supreme Court to do something beyond its authority.
“The relief that Texas seeks would undermine a foundational premise of our federalist system: the idea that the states are sovereigns, free to govern themselves,” Yost argued.
Texas picked up support from 106 members of Congress, who filed a brief saying that “the unconstitutional irregularities involved in the 2020 presidential election cast doubt upon its outcome and the integrity of the American system of elections.”