WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit backed by US President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral victory, ending a desperate attempt to have legal issues thrown out by state and federal judges in the highest court the country and overthrow the will of the voters.
The High Court order was an outright repudiation of a legal demand that was widely viewed as questionable, but passed by the president, 19 Republican attorneys general and 126 House Republicans.
Trump had insisted the court would find the “wisdom” and “courage” to take his baseless position that the election was the product of widespread fraud and should be overturned. But the highest court in the land categorically disagreed.
Friday’s order marked the second time this week that the court has rejected Republican demands to get involved in the 2020 election result and to reject the voters’ choice, as expressed in an election considered by Republican and Democratic officials as free and fair. Judges on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by Republicans in Pennsylvania.
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On Monday, the Electoral College meets to formally elect Biden as the next president.
Trump had called the Texas lawsuit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin “big” that would end with the Supreme Court overturning Biden’s large electoral majority and allowing Trump to serve. four more years in the White House.
In a brief order, the court said Texas does not have the legal right to sue those states because it “has failed to demonstrate a legally recognizable interest in the way another state conducts its elections.”
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Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who previously said the court did not have the power to deny interstate lawsuits, said they would have heard the Texas complaint. But they wouldn’t have done what Texas wanted – setting aside the 62 electoral votes from those four states for Biden – while waiting for the lawsuit to be resolved.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the judges “dodged. They hid behind the proceedings. None of these judges commented on the facts of the case. Appearing on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” Friday night, McEnany said the legal fight will continue in state courts.
Three people appointed by Trump sit on the High Court. In his effort to secure early confirmation of his newest candidate, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump has said she will be needed for any post-election trial. Barrett appears to have been involved in both cases this week. Neither Trump appointee noted dissent in either case.
The four states pursued by Texas had urged the court to dismiss the case as unfounded. They were supported by 22 other states and the District of Columbia.
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Republican support for the trial and its call to reject millions of votes in four battlefield states were rooted in baseless allegations of fraud, an extraordinary demonstration of the party’s willingness to counter the will of voters. Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana were among those who joined in the action.
“The Court rightly rejected out of hand the extreme, illegal and undemocratic GOP trial aimed at overthrowing the will of millions of American voters,” House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday evening.
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A few Republicans have expressed concerns about the affair. Many others remained silent even as Trump kept repeating claims he had lost a chance at a second term due to widespread fraud.
Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska who had previously criticized the president, applauded the court’s decision.
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“Since election night, a lot of people have confused voters by spinning the Kenyan Birther-type,` Chavez rigged the election based on grave conspiracy theories, but every American who cares about the condition of law should be happy that the Supreme Court – including President Trump’s three picks – has closed the book on nonsense, ”Sasse said in a statement.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the court “saw through this seditious abuse of the court process.”
“While these stunts are legally insignificant, their cost to our country – by misleading the public about free and fair elections and tearing up our Constitution – is high and we will not tolerate them on the part of our brother states or our brotherhood. anyone else, ”said Shapiro, a Democrat.
The Texas complaint repeated bogus, disproved and unsubstantiated accusations from the vote in four states that have opted for Trump’s Democratic challenger. The High Court had never before been asked for such a spectacular remedy.
Two days after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed his lawsuit, Trump jumped into the High Court case. Hours later, the president held a White House meeting, scheduled before the complaint was filed, with a dozen Republican attorneys general, including Paxton and several others who supported the effort.
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“If the Supreme Court shows great wisdom and courage, perhaps the American people will win the most important case in history, and our electoral process will be respected again!” he tweeted on Friday afternoon. Trump had spent the week relentlessly tweeting about the Texas affair with the hashtag “overthrow” and falsely claiming that he won the election but was robbed.
In a statement Friday, Paxton called the Supreme Court’s decision “unfortunate.”
Yet some of the state’s top Republican prosecutors who urged the court to get involved acknowledged the effort was long-winded and sought to distance themselves from Trump’s baseless allegations of fraud.
The affair has ignited already high tensions around the election. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said staff in his office received two death threats on Thursday after signing the brief in support of the case.
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The lawsuit has also divided officials in some states.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox supported the Texas case, although he said the trial was “late” and the odds “are slim at best.” Fox said the case raised “important constitutional questions regarding the separation of powers and the integrity of postal ballots in these respondent states.”
But Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont., Urged the court to dismiss the case. He said that the fact that Texas is not suing Montana, which Trump won, even though the state also used mail-in ballots, underscores that “this action is less about electoral integrity than the attempt to reverse the will of the electorate.
Trump’s repetition of election-related lies and conspiracy theories has spread among far-right media and much of its base. Many Republican voters in several states won by Biden demanded that their elected officials find a way to invalidate the president-elect’s victories.
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The Texas Republican Party issued a statement on Friday night citing the bizarre possibility of secession. “Maybe the law-abiding states should come together and form a Union of States that will uphold the constitution,” said Party Chairman Allen West, a former congressman from Florida.
Even if the court’s action appeared to be the end of Trump’s legal battles over the 2020 election results, the president’s efforts could have a destabilizing effect long after his departure. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani vowed on Friday to keep fighting.
“Some litigation may continue, but it won’t change the election results,” said Rick Hasen, professor of law at the University of California, Irvine. “Trump’s delegitimization of Biden’s presidency, and the elections in general, will reverberate in the years to come. And this is a real tragedy.
Merchant reported from Houston and Richer reported from Boston. Associated Press editors David Pitt in Des Moines, Iowa contributed to this report; John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas; Amy Beth Hanson in Helena, Montana; James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota, Keith Ridler in Boise, Idaho; Michelle Price in Las Vegas and Sophia Eppolito and Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City.
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