Five days after the state of Texas sought to upturn Joe Biden’s victory at November US polls, by going to the Supreme Court, the apex court on Friday in an order said Texas lacked the locus to file a case questioning how other states in the union conducted elections.
Texas, according to a Reuters report early in the week, aimed to help President Donald Trump upend the results of the U.S. election, said on Tuesday it has sued Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin at the Supreme Court, calling changes those states made to election procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic unlawful.
The long-shot lawsuit, announced by the Republican attorney general of Texas Ken Paxton, was being filed directly with the Supreme Court rather than with a lower court, as is permitted for certain litigation between states. The Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority including three justices appointed by Trump.
The lawsuit represented the latest legal effort intended to reverse the Republican president’s loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election. Those efforts have so far failed and legal experts said the Texas suit also is unlikely to succeed.
Democrats and other critics have accused Trump of aiming to reduce public confidence in the integrity of U.S. elections and undermine American democracy by trying to subvert the will of the voters.
Texas accused election officials in the four states of failing to protect mail-in voting from fraud, thus diminishing “the weight of votes cast in states that lawfully abide by the election structure set forth in the Constitution.”
State officials have said they have found no evidence of any such fraud that would change the results. There was a surge in voting by mail due to the pandemic, as many Americans stayed away from polling places to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Texas was asking the Supreme Court to block the Electoral College votes in the four states – a total of 62 votes – from being counted. Biden has amassed 306 electoral votes – exceeding the necessary 270 – compared to 232 for Trump in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the election’s outcome, while winning the national popular vote by more than 7 million votes.
Texas also was asking the Supreme Court to delay the Dec. 14 date for Electoral College votes to be cast. That date was set by law in 1887.
The Supreme Court was not obligated to hear the case and has said in previous decisions that its “original jurisdiction,” which allows it to directly hear litigation between states, should be invoked sparingly.
Paul Smith, a professor and election law expert at Georgetown University’s law school, said Texas did not have a legitimate basis for the suit.
“There is no possible way that the state of Texas has standing to complain about how other states counted the votes and how they are about to cast their electoral votes,” Smith said.
Moreover, election disputes are meant to be resolved by members of Congress when they meet on Jan. 6 to formally count Electoral College votes, constitutional law professor Ned Foley of Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law said.
“I would think the court would not want to be dragged into the middle of this,” Foley added.