No longer the Lone Star State, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has 17 confederates in his quest to topple four other states’ elections. Paxton’s lawsuit seeking to have the Supreme Court flip four states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden has been derided as pardon bait for outgoing President Donald Trump to save him from a reported federal bribery investigation.
Top prosecutors from Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia—all Republicans—filed an amicus brief on Wednesday asking the Supreme Court to let Paxton try to give Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin’s electors to Trump, regardless of what voters in those states might think about it.
At least two of those Republican AGs made headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2020.
Indiana AG Curtis Hill’s law license was suspended for a period of time after “credible” allegations that he groped women surfaced.
South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg hit and killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever on a highway in September after Ravnsborg left a GOP fundraising dinner. The circumstances of the incident are strange; authorities said the AG was “distracted” at the time of the crash, but they haven’t specified what the distraction was. Boever was on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 14 at the time of the crash, according to the crash report. Ravnsborg claimed that he thought he had hit a deer and only found out that he killed a man the next morning, after he had returned to the scene in a vehicle he borrowed to get home the night before—a personal vehicle owned by the Hyde County Sheriff.
A charging decision is expected in the coming weeks.
Paxton is also under indictment in his state on allegations of securities fraud.
With no trace of irony, the group of AGs invoke the concept of federalism in order to justify such extraordinary U.S. judicial power against states.
“Our system of federalism relies on separation of powers to preserve liberty at every level of government, and the separation of powers in the Electors Clause is no exception,” their 30-page brief states. “The states have a strong interest in preserving the proper roles of state legislatures in the administration of federal elections, and thus safeguarding the individual liberty of their citizens.”
The highest courts of states across the country—including Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada—have fended off a veritable blitzkrieg of Trump and pro-Trump lawsuits alleging massive frauds and proving none, while the president’s loyalists have sold supporters on the promise of a Supreme Court victory just around the corner.
The Supreme Court’s unceremonious rejection of its first election-overturning request, courtesy of Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), on Tuesday, has not dimmed those hopes for the faithful.
Filed on the heels of Kelly’s defeat, Paxton’s lawsuit argued that Biden had a “less than one in a quadrillion” chance of overcoming Trump’s lead as of Nov. 4, before mail-in ballot largely had a chance to be counted. Legal experts panned the case as a “stunt,” though a “dangerous” one in its casual erosion of public confidence in U.S. democracy.
In their friend-of-the-court brief, the 17 Republican AGs float theories for Supreme Court intervention that failed in those states and would invite the federal judiciary to meddle in their own election administration. They falsely claim that those states excluded bipartisan observers, created a vote-by-mail system vulnerable to fraud, and extended deadlines to receive ballots.
Two of the signatories, Kansas and Mississippi, also count mail-in ballots that arrive late if postmarked on time.
Contrary to what many of Trump’s supporters believe, the Supreme Court has not agreed to hear the Texas case.
[Image via Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images]
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