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Supreme Court Update: States, Lawmakers Pick Sides In Texas General Election Lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas / WASHINGTON DC (CBSDFW.COM) - States Attorneys General and a whole host of lawmakers are lining up on each side of the lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia known as the 'defendant states.' That lawsuit was filed directly with the United States Supreme Court on Monday, Dec. 7.

The suit asks the court to order the 'defendant states' legislatures to displace "tainted" election results in those states and choose their own slate of electors.

Several others have either backed or filed a motion to intervene in the case including President Trump.

The State of Missouri filed an amicus brief (amicus curiae) or 'friend of the court' brief (read brief here) with the high court earlier Wednesday on behalf of Missouri and 16 other states. The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia have all signed on to the brief with Missouri that backs the Texas suit.

According to the American Bar Association, "'Friend of the court' or amicus curiae briefs are often filed in appellate cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and state supreme courts, as well as intermediate courts of appeal. And there is considerable evidence that amicus briefs have influence."

The Missouri brief alleges, "Our constitutional system of representative government only works when the worth of honest ballots is not diluted by invalid ballots procured by corruption. When the election process is corrupted, democracy is jeopardized. The proposed Bill of Complaint raises serious concerns about both the constitutionality and ballot security of election procedures in the Defendant States."

Arizona filed a separate brief (read file here) in support of the Texas case later.

Twenty-two states and territories then filed an amicus brief (read brief here) with the high court on Thursday, Dec. 10. The District of Columbia together with the States and territories of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington signed on backing the defendant states.

The brief from the 22 states alleges, "The people have chosen. But Texas, supported by 17 other states, asks this Court to overturn that choice. Those states urge this Court 'to exercise its extraordinary power under the Constitution to control the conduct of one State at the suit of another,' by nullifying millions of lawful votes and voiding the result of a free and fair election."

Later U.S. Representative Mike Johnson filed an amicus brief on behalf of him and 105 other representatives (read brief here) of the United States House.

That brief alleges, "The legislature of every Defendant state had established detailed rules by which that state's appointment of presidential electors should have been conducted. However, in the months before the 2020 election, those rules were deliberately changed by both state and non-state actors. The clear authority of those state legislatures to determine the rules for appointing electors was usurped at various times by governors, secretaries of state, election officials, state courts, federal courts, and private parties."

The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton also confirmed that six states --  Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah -- had formally joined Texas in its Supreme Court suit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Read: Motion To Intervene

"The joining states agree with Texas: the defendant states exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to justify unlawfully enacting last-minute changes and ignoring both federal and state election laws, thus skewing the results of the 2020 General Election," officials with the Texas AG said in a release.

In an intriguing twist, Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly filed an amicus brief (read file here) in support of the State of Texas.

The Pennsylvania brief alleges, "On November 2, 2020 the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth issued a directive to every county which effectively amended the Election Code by changing the manner of the conduct of elections. Both the decision of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the directive of the Secretary of the Commonwealth violated the prerogative of the state legislature to make election policy as prescribed under the United States Constitution."

Several other interested parties including the City of Detroit also filed briefs with the court. Those briefs as well as the above mentioned documents are all very lengthy and can be found at this link and the links above.

Earlier Thursday, a spokesperson for Senator Ted Cruz-R TX confirmed to CBS 11 that President Trump asked Sen. Cruz on Tuesday night, Dec. 8, to argue the Texas General Election lawsuit should it move forward in the United States Supreme Court.

Sen. Cruz told the President that if the Supreme Court took it up he would do so.

North Texas Democratic State Rep. Chris Turner Asks AG Ken Paxton For Specific Details On Election Lawsuit

Some law experts have said they think the suit has little chance of moving forward.

"Ken Paxton is asking that Republican state legislatures in four states be allowed to displace the will of the voters in those States and choose their own slate of electors, presumably to hand the election to Donald Trump in January," SMU Constitutional Law Professor Dale Carpenter told CBS 11. "The Supreme Court is not going to allow that to happen."

But the final decision rests with the United States Supreme Court.

"Texas continues to lead the fight to protect election security and integrity, and today I gladly welcome Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah to this historic endeavor," said Paxton. "By flouting state and federal election laws, the defendant battleground states have tainted the integrity of citizens' votes across the entire nation," Paxton continued. "To restore trust in the integrity of our election process, we must tirelessly defend its security and hold accountable those who discarded our Constitution for their own convenience. Texas is proud to have these states by its side in shining the bright light of justice."



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