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Texas Attorney General Paxton files Suit Against Four States: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

Tara Leigh Taylor and the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, Texas is asking the Supreme Court to order the states to allow their legislatures to appoint their electors. The lawsuit says:
Texas AG Paxton has filed suit against four states–Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin–alleging that various changes to election rules and procedures in those states, combined with alleged fraud–”tainted” the election results in those states. Because this case is styled as a suit filed by one state directly against other states, the suit invokes the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction (as opposed to the Court’s appellate jurisdiction). Accordingly, AG Paxton filed a motion for leave to file a Bill of Complaint, which is the way that a state asks the Supreme Court to hear a case brought directly against another state under its original jurisdiction, bypassing the need to first bring the case in a lower court.

In the suit, Texas claims ,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.

 

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