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Texas-Led Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn Election Counts Heads to Supreme Court

— December 10, 2020

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas’s former attorney general, publicly said he cannot rationalize the lawsuit’s legal basis.

President Donald Trump and seventeen Republican attorneys general have offered support to Texas A.G. Ken Paxton’s lawsuit aiming to overturn election results in four battleground states.

According to The New York Times, the lawsuit has been led and grown by so-called “Trump loyalists.” The commander-in-chief hopes that, by bringing the case in front of the Supreme Court, Paxton may persuade the bench that election fraud was so widespread that ballots in Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania must be invalidated.

However, neither Trump nor his attorneys have succeeded in showing that widespread voter fraud occurred in any of these states—and it is not for a lack of trying. The Trump campaign has, to date, filed dozens of lawsuits targeting individual states, as well as cities and counties within them.

Few of these lawsuits have succeeding in invalidating ballots. In the rare few instances where the Trump campaign or its surrogates managed to secure victories, the number of affected votes has been noticeably low.

In several cases, courts have practically decried the Trump campaign’s numerous lawsuits as an assault on democracy. Earlier this week, a Michigan judge discarded a complaint filed by former campaign attorney Sidney Powell—who had sought to invalidate all of Michigan’s votes, handing the state’s electoral powers to its Republican-dominated Legislature—stating that Powell was unable to evidence anything beyond weak conspiracy theories.

A 2013 image of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Alice Linahan Voices Empower. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Despite the lawsuit’s high likelihood of failure, it has garnered support from prominent Republicans across the country.

The New York Times notes that Missouri Senator Josh Hawley—described as having “presidential ambitions”—tweeted in favor of state Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s decision to sue.

“Good work!” Hawley wrote after Schmitt announced the state’s involvement in the case.

By and large, Paxton and his conservative allies have tried to claim that the states named as defendants—Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Wisconsin—made last-minute changes to their electoral codes, which facilitated or may have facilitated electoral fraud.

But legal experts purportedly told the Times that there is no compelling reason—or precedent—which suggests attorneys general have the legal standing to challenge how other states conduct their elections.

John Cornyn, a Texas senator and the state’s former attorney general, told CNN he still cannot understand the basis for Paxton’s arguments.

“Number 1,” Sen. Cornyn said, “why would a state—even such a great state as Texas—have a say-so on how other states administer their elections?”

Other conservatives, such “longtime GOP lawyer and CNN contributor Benjamin Ginsberg,” have questioned whether interference in states’ rights should be part of the Republican Party’s official platform.

“I can’t imagine something that is less faithful to the principle of states’ rights than a Texas attorney general trying to tell other states how to run their elections,” Ginsberg said.


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