The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a bid launched by Texas and backed by President Donald Trump that sought to undo Joe Biden’s election wins in the key swing states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The ruling dealt a death blow to Trump’s desperate and unsuccessful efforts to reverse Biden’s projected Electoral College victory.
It came three days before electors are set to cast their ballots in their respective states, finalizing the Democratic former vice president’s win.
Election law experts from the outset said that the suit was unlikely to succeed. But Trump, who himself even filed a motion to intervene in the case, had hyped up Paxton’s lawsuit as “the big one.”
In denying Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to file the lawsuit against the four battleground states, the Supreme Court justices said that Texas did not have the grounds to sue the other states over changes they made to their voting procedures in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution,” the court said. For a person or entity such as a state to have legal standing to sue, they must be able to show that they were harmed by another’s actions.
“Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot,“the Supreme Court said.
Trump in a tweet late Friday said, “The Supreme Court really let us down.”
“No Wisdom, No Courage!”
The Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom, No Courage!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2020
Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has led his campaign’s efforts to challenge the election results, told Newsmax in an interview, “We’re not finished. Believe me.”
Giuliani told the news outlet that the Texas “case wasn’t rejected on the merits, the case was rejected on standing. So the answer to that is to bring the case now to the district court by the president, by some of the electors, alleging some of the same facts where there would be standing.”
“There’s nothing that prevents us from filing these cases immediately in the district court in which the president of course would have standing, some of the electors would have standing in that their constitutional rights have been violated,” added the former New York City mayor.
But Trump, who has appointed three justices to the nine-member court, said before the Nov. 3 election that he believed the Supreme Court ultimately would decide the race.
“I think it’s very important that we have nine justices” for that reason, Trump had said shortly after the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September.
Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg. She was approved by the Republican-controlled Senate over fierce objections by Democrats who said the appointment was improper because it was so close to the election.
Biden spokesman Mike Gwin in a statement Friday evening said the court “decisively and speedily rejected the latest of Donald Trump and his allies’ attacks on the democratic process.”
“This is no surprise — dozens of judges, election officials from both parties, and Trump’s own Attorney General have dismissed his baseless attempts to deny that he lost the election,” Gwin said. “President-elect Biden’s clear and commanding victory will be ratified by the Electoral College on Monday, and he will be sworn in on January 20th.”
Texas’ suit made the unprecedented request for the Supreme Court to invalidate the election results of the four battleground states by declaring that their Electoral College votes “cannot be counted.”
Biden’s wins in the four states, which together held 62 electoral votes, had put him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency. Biden is projected to win 306 electoral votes, compared with 232 for Trump.
If Texas had won the suit, it would have nullified Biden’s victory.
Two of the high court’s most conservative justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, in a brief dissent, said that they would have allowed Paxton’s lawsuit to be filed, but added that they would “not grant other relief” sought in the case.
“In my view, we do not have the discretion to deny the filing of a bill of complaint in a case that falls within our original jurisdiction,” Alito wrote in a statement that Thomas backed. “I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief, and I express no view on any other issue.”
NBC News legal analyst Benjamin Wittes said that although Alito and Thomas dissented from the decision to allow the suit, they would have rejected Texas’s claims on the merits of the case, along with the seven other justices on the Supreme Court.
For those who are saying this is a 7-2 action by the Supreme Court, that’s wrong. All nine justices would reject the suit by Texas, the other states, and POTUS. Seven of them would refuse to hear the case at all. Two of them believe they have to hear it and would deny relief.
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) December 12, 2020
More than a dozen states where Trump won the popular vote filed briefs in support of Texas’ action, as did over 120 Republican members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in “friend of the court” briefs.
But about two dozens states and territories that Biden won filed their own briefs in opposition to Texas’ complaint.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a scathing Dear Colleague letter Friday afternoon accused Republicans supporting the case of engaging in “election subversion that imperils our democracy.”
“This lawsuit is an act of flailing GOP Desperation, which violates the principles enshrined in our American Democracy,” Pelosi wrote.
“As Members of Congress, we take a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution,” her letter said. “Republicans are subverting the Constitution by their reckless and fruitless assault on our democracy which threatens to seriously erode public trust in our most sacred democratic institutions, and to set back our progress on the urgent challenges ahead.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who has clashed with Trump, said in a statement that the Supreme Court has finally “closed the book on the nonsense.”
“Since Election Night, a lot of people have been confusing voters by spinning Kenyan Birther-type, ‘Chavez rigged the election from the grave’ conspiracy theories, but every American who cares about the rule of law should take comfort that the Supreme Court — including all three of President Trump’s picks — closed the book on the nonsense,” he said.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who had represented her state against Paxton’s suit, said the ruling “is an important reminder that we are a nation of laws, and though some may bend to the desire of a single individual, the courts will not.”
“The court, in a brief unsigned order, said Texas lacked standing to pursue the case, saying it “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.” https://t.co/aqYJDcJBbc
— Mark Cavitt (@MarkCavitt) December 12, 2020