Each of the four battleground states targeted by a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn President Donald Trump’s election defeat issued blistering briefs at the Supreme Court on Thursday, with Pennsylvania officials going so far as to call the effort a “seditious abuse of the judicial process.”
The court filings from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin come a day after Trump asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to invalidate millions of votes in their states. The lawsuit amounts to an unprecedented request for legal intervention in an election despite there being no evidence of widespread fraud.
“Texas’s effort to get this Court to pick the next President has no basis in law or fact. 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,” wrote Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The Texas lawsuit, Shapiro said, rested on a “surreal alternate reality.”
It is unclear when the Supreme Court will act on the lawsuit.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel addressed the lawsuit with equally strong language, writing that “the election in Michigan is over. Texas comes as a stranger to this matter and should not be heard here.”
“The challenge here is an unprecedented one, without factual foundation or a valid legal basis,” Michigan’s brief said.
Chris Carr, the attorney general of Georgia, put more emphasis on the federalism implications of Texas’ lawsuit in his filing. “Texas presses a generalized grievance that does not involve the sort of direct state-against-state controversy required for original jurisdiction,” he wrote.
“And in any case, there is another forum in which parties who (unlike Texas) have standing can challenge Georgia’s compliance with its own election laws: Georgia’s own courts.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul similarly cast the lawsuit as an “extraordinary intrusion into Wisconsin’s and the other defendant States’ elections, a task that the Constitution leaves to each State.”
The forceful responses – paired with the Supreme Court’s denial of a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block certification of the commonwealth’s election results earlier this week – mark just the latest repudiations of the increasingly baseless conspiracy theories from the President that his second term is being stolen.
“In a nutshell the President is asking the Supreme Court to exercise its rarest form of jurisdiction to effectively overturn the entire presidential election,” said Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas Law School professor.
In his filing Wednesday, Trump said the Supreme Court has to step in because the country is divided, although there has been no proof of widespread election fraud.
“Our Country is deeply divided in ways that it arguably has not been seen since the election of 1860,” Trump said in a court filing. “There is a high level of distrust between the opposing sides, compounded by the fact that, in the election just held, election officials in key swing states, for apparently partisan advantage, failed to conduct their state elections in compliance with state election law.”
House congressmen sign on
Despite the slate of inaccurate claims driving the lawsuit, more than 100 House Republicans signed on to an amicus brief in support of Paxton’s motion.
Notable Republican leadership names on this list include House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Gary Palmer.
“The unconstitutional irregularities involved in the 2020 presidential election cast doubt upon its outcome and the integrity of the American system of elections,” the brief said without evidence.
“Amici respectfully aver that the broad scope and impact of the various irregularities in the Defendant states necessitate careful and timely review by this Court.”
Beyond the four states subject to the Texas lawsuit, more than 20 other states and Washington, DC, also submitted an amicus brief deriding the effort and urging the high court to deny Texas’ motion.
“The Amici States have a critical interest in allowing state courts and local actors to interpret and implement state election law, and in ensuring that states retain their sovereign ability to safely and securely accommodate voters in light of emergencies such as COVID-19,” the brief said.
Shapiro’s particularly fiery brief assessed that the Texas lawsuit is “legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy.”
“Nothing in the text, history, or structure of the Constitution supports Texas’s view that it can dictate the manner in which four sister States run their elections, and Texas suffered no harm because it dislikes the results in those elections.”