Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Tuesday a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court to invalidate the results of the presidential election results in four major swing states that helped bring Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump to secure.
The lawsuit, filed directly with the Supreme Court, states that "unlawful election results" in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan – all won by Biden – should be declared unconstitutional.
The filing argues that these states used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to unlawfully change their voting rules "through executive fiat or amicable lawsuits that weakened the integrity of the ballot papers".
"All electoral college votes cast by such presidential voters appointed" in these states "cannot be counted," Texas urges the Supreme Court to rule.
The Lone Star State's attempt to devalue other states' electoral votes follows a series of long-term legal challenges with similar goals brought to court by Trump's campaign and other lawyers. These lawsuits have repeatedly failed to invalidate the ballots cast for Biden.
The allegations in the Texas lawsuit "are false and irresponsible," Georgia Deputy Foreign Secretary Jordan Fuchs said in a fiery statement shortly after Paxton announced legal action.
"Texas claims that there are 80,000 forged signatures on postal ballot papers in Georgia, but they don't bring a single person to who this happened. That's because it didn't," said Fuchs' statement.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called the suit a "publicity stunt" and "below the dignity" of Paxton's office.
Suffrage experts also quickly dismissed the likelihood that the nine Supreme Court justices would open the case. Paul Smith, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center who argued over proxy cases in the Supreme Court, said the case was "insane".
"Pennsylvania and the rest of the world have a whole system of voting through elections – that's all," said Smith, who also serves as vice president of litigation and strategy for the impartial Campaign Legal Center. "I don't think the Supreme Court will be interested."
The professor added that Texas may have difficulty proving that it has grounds for action that are legally known as "standing".
"It is completely unprecedented for any state to claim in the Supreme Court that other states' votes were cast incorrectly – that never happened," he said. "What is the violation of the state of Texas because Pennsylvania's votes were cast for Mr. Biden instead of Mr. Trump? There's no connection there."
Rick Hasen, an electoral law expert at the University of California at Irvine, wrote on his popular legal blog that the lawsuit was "utter garbage," and also denied the idea that Texas stood, noting that "it has no say like other states vote for voters. "
Paxton wrote in the letter that Texas stands because of its interest in which party controls the Senate, which it says "represents the states".
"While Americans are probably more concerned with who gets elected president, states have a clear interest in who gets elected vice president and who can cast the decisive vote in the Senate," he wrote.
"This violation is particularly acute in 2020, when a Senate majority often maintains the vice president's tie because the balance between the Georgia elections in January is nearly the same – and depending on the outcome of the Georgia runoffs, it may be the same." political parties, "added Paxton.
The lawsuit against the four states ends with a critical deadline in the election certification process known as the "Safe Harbor" threshold. Thereafter, Congress is forced to accept the states' certified results.
Six days later, the electoral college voters will cast their votes, marking Biden's victory. The lawsuit also calls on the Supreme Court to extend the December 14 deadline "so that these investigations can be completed".
For the most part, the Supreme Court only hears cases that have been appealed by the lower courts. In cases between two or more states, however, the court originally has jurisdiction. Usually four judges have to agree to hear a case.
The lawsuit comes when Paxton faces a criminal investigation by the FBI into alleged efforts to help a wealthy campaign donor. The investigation was confirmed by the Associated Press after seven senior lawyers in Paxton's office accused authorities in September that Paxton was guilty of abuse of his office.
All seven have since been fired, on leave or resigned, which has led several of them to file whistleblower lawsuits. Paxton has denied wrongdoing.
The election case is not the first to reach the judges, although the court has not yet made a material decision on either side. In another lawsuit that the court could soon weigh, Pennsylvania Republican MP Mike Kelly, an ally of Trump, is challenging virtually all of the state's postal ballot papers and asking the court to nullify millions of votes.
Biden is expected to win 306 electoral college votes – 36 more than it takes to beat Trump, who is said to get 232 such votes.
But Trump refuses to allow Biden. The president, more than a month after election day, continues to falsely insist that he has won the race while promoting a wide range of unproven conspiracy theories allegedly exposing election or election fraud.
The president is also pressuring swing state officials to take action to discard the results of their elections. Trump has heavily criticized Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, furiously demanding that he convene a special session of the Peach State Legislature to appoint pro-Trump voters.
Trump has personally reached out to Kemp and Pennsylvania House spokesman Bryan Cutler, according to reports from the Washington Post. In November, Trump received Michigan Republican lawmakers for a meeting at the White House. These lawmakers said after the event that they had no plans to replace Biden's voters.
Even ahead of the election, Trump predicted that the Supreme Court would likely rule the results of the race, and urged the GOP-controlled Senate to bank Justice Amy Coney Barrett in time.
Over the past few weeks, however, Trump has admitted that he is unlikely to turn the 2020 election results on its head in court as his legal challenges have stalled.
"Well, the problem is that getting to the Supreme Court is tough," Trump told Fox News last month in his first full interview since his November 3rd defeat.
"I have the best lawyers in the Supreme Court, attorneys who want to discuss the case when it gets there. They said, 'It's very hard to get a case up there,'" added Trump. "Can you imagine Donald Trump, President of the United States, filing a case and I probably can't get a case."