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Four states ask Supreme Court to reject a lawsuit seeking to overturn their election results

The attorneys general for Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to reject a lawsuit seeking to overturn the presidential election results in those four states, rebuking Republican efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters by attempting to reverse President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

The long-shot lawsuit was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, with support from 17 other Republican attorneys general and over 100 Republican members of Congress. President Trump has also asked to intervene in the lawsuit, and has explicitly expressed hope that the Supreme Court will overturn Mr. Biden's victory.

In a tweet on Friday morning, Mr. Trump asked the court to "show great Courage & Wisdom" and "Save the USA" from a Biden administration. Mr. Biden won the Electoral College with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Mr. Trump, and also overwhelmingly won the popular vote.

The Trump campaign and the president's allies have filed a number of lawsuits to overturn the election, with most cases being denied at the state and federal court level for lack of evidence of fraud. The Supreme Court on Tuesday also spurned a request from Republican allies of Mr. Trump to decertify Pennsylvania's election results in a one-line unsigned order.

The responses by the four states slammed Paxton's request. The brief for Pennsylvania said that the lawsuit brought by Paxton is "legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy."

"Texas invites this Court to overthrow the votes of the American people and choose the next President of the United States. That Faustian invitation must be firmly rejected," the brief said. It also argued that the lawsuit "seeks to invoke this Court's original jurisdiction to achieve the extraordinary relief of disenfranchising all Pennsylvanians who voted and one-tenth of the voters in the entire Nation."

Attorneys for Pennsylvania also argued that Texas was twisting the use of original jurisdiction, which the Constitution grants the Supreme Court in cases "in which a state shall be party" — that is, it allows disputes between states to be brought directly to the high court. 

"Texas brings to the court only discredited allegations and conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact. And Texas asks this court to contort its original jurisdiction jurisprudence in an election where millions of people cast ballots under truly extraordinary circumstances, sometimes risking their very health and safety to do so," the Pennsylvania brief said.

Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, a Republican, said in his brief to the Supreme Court that Georgia had followed state election rules and engaged in three recounts, all of which showed Mr. Biden to be the winner.

"This election cycle, Georgia did what the Constitution empowered it to do: it implemented processes for the election, administered the election in the face of logistical challenges brought on by COVID19, and confirmed and certified the election results — again and again and again. Yet Texas has sued Georgia anyway," Carr wrote.

Carr also noted that the Texas lawsuit brought forward several questions it left unresolved.

"Can state attorneys general controlled by opposing political parties mount any challenge to a federal election that could affect the balance of power, either through the presidency or through a change in either house of Congress?" Carr asked.

All four briefs noted that the Texas lawsuit was riddled with falsehoods and inaccuracies.

"Texas proposes an extraordinary intrusion into Wisconsin's and the other defendant States' elections, a task that the Constitution leaves to each State. Wisconsin has conducted its election and its voters have chosen a winning candidate for their State. Texas's bid to nullify that choice is devoid of a legal foundation or a factual basis," the Wisconsin brief said. 

The brief by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that the Texas lawsuit had little to no constitutional standing.

"It has no likelihood of success on the merits of its claims, and the remaining factors strongly weigh in favor of denying the extraordinary relief Texas seeks — disenfranchising millions of voters," Nessel wrote.

In a brief replying to the four states on Friday, Paxton insisted that "Texas IS likely to prevail."

The court has several options, including filing an injunction barring states' electors from voting for Mr. Biden. It's unclear when the Supreme Court will consider Paxton's request, since December 8 was the deadline for states to resolve election disputes and determine their electors.

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