The State of Texas filed a lawsuit directly with the U.S. Supreme Court shortly before midnight on Monday challenging the election procedures in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin on the grounds that they violate the Constitution. Texas argues that these states violated the Electors Clause of the Constitution because they made changes to voting rules and procedures through the courts or through executive actions, but not through the state legislatures. Additionally, Texas argues that there were differences in voting rules and procedures in different counties within the states, violating the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Finally, Texas argues that there were “voting irregularities” in these states as a result of the above. Texas is asking the Supreme Court to order the states to allow their legislatures to appoint their electors. The lawsuit says:
Certain officials in the Defendant States presented the pandemic as the justification for ignoring state laws regarding absentee and mail-in voting. The Defendant States flooded their citizenry with tens of millions of ballot applications and ballots in derogation of statutory controls as to how they are lawfully received, evaluated, and counted. Whether well intentioned or not, these unconstitutional acts had the same uniform effect—they made the 2020 election less secure in the Defendant States. Those changes are inconsistent with relevant state laws and were made by non-legislative entities, without any consent by the state legislatures. The acts of these officials thus directly violated the Constitution.
This case presents a question of law: Did the Defendant States violate the Electors Clause by taking non-legislative actions to change the election rules that would govern the appointment of presidential electors? These non-legislative changes to the Defendant States’ election laws facilitated the casting and counting of ballots in violation of state law, which, in turn, violated the Electors Clause of Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution. By these unlawful acts, the Defendant States have not only tainted the integrity of their own citizens’ vote, but their actions have also debased the votes of citizens in Plaintiff State and other States that remained loyal to the Constitution.
Texas approached the Supreme Court directly because Article III provides that it is the court of first impression on subjects where it has original jurisdiction, such as disputes between two or more states.
Texas announced on Tuesday that it would be filing a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against four battleground states in an effort to halt presidential electors from finalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Texas argued that electors from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin should not be allowed to cast their votes in part because those states unconstitutionally changed their voting procedures during the coronavirus pandemic to allow for increased mail-in ballots. Biden won all four states.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) alleges that the new voting processes in the battleground states skewed the presidential election results and asked the Supreme Court to delay Monday's deadline for the Electoral College to make Biden's victory official.
"Their failure to abide by the rule of law casts a dark shadow of doubt over the outcome of the entire election," Paxton said in a statement. "We now ask that the Supreme Court step in to correct this egregious error.”
Paxton's 154-page complaint echoes the legal arguments made by President Trump and his allies in courts across the country seeking to overturn election results in key states Biden won. That legal effort, which has failed to notch any meaningful victories so far, has pushed dubious claims of widespread voter fraud and manipulation by elections officials.
The lawsuit was filed directly with the Supreme Court because it has exclusive jurisdiction over legal disputes between states. Paxton also argued that the high court is the only one equipped to handle such a case over the Electoral College.
Texas argued that it has the standing to bring such a lawsuit because its electors will have their voting power diluted by the practices in the battleground states.
The governors' offices in the four states targeted by the lawsuit did not immediately respond when asked for comment.