Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Thursday filed a response to Texas' lawsuit — which asks the United States Supreme Court to invalidate the presidential election results in the Keystone State along with three others President-elect Joe Biden won — slamming it as an "affront to principles of constitutional democracy."
The response dismantles the lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton line by line to show that there is no conceivable way the Supreme Court could simply throw out the ballots of millions of voters that were legally cast.
Legal experts have already said they do not believe the Supreme Court would hear the case, let alone side with Paxton.
"The Texas #SCOTUS lawsuit trying to overthrow the election results in four battleground states is little more than a stunt — and that's *exactly* why it's so offensive," University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck tweeted.
Even Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska — one of the 17 states supporting the Texas lawsuit — said it appears to be an effort by Paxton, who is under indictment and facing multiple legal troubles, to try to seek a pardon from Trump by going along with Trump's coup attempt.
"I'm no lawyer, but I suspect the Supreme Court swats this away," Sasse said of the lawsuit. "From the brief, it looks like a fella begging for a pardon filed a PR stunt rather than a lawsuit — as all of its assertions have already been rejected by federal courts and Texas' own solicitor general isn't signing on."
Nevertheless, Donald Trump, 17 other Republican attorneys general, and a handful of GOP members of Congress, have praised the lawsuit — which is part of the failed effort by Trump and his allies to get courts to overturn Biden's win and hand the election to Trump.
Every state has since certified its results, giving Biden 306 Electoral College votes — far more than the 270 needed to win. The Electoral College meets Monday to vote, when Biden's victory will be officially cemented.
Pennsylvania's response to the Texas lawsuit was devastating. Here are some highlights:
Since Election Day, State and Federal courts throughout the country have been flooded with frivolous lawsuits aimed at disenfranchising large swaths of voters and undermining the legitimacy of the election. The State of Texas has now added its voice to the cacophony of bogus claims. Texas seeks to invalidate elections in four states for yielding results with which it disagrees. Its request for this Court to exercise its original jurisdiction and then anoint Texas's preferred candidate for President is legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy.
Texas has not suffered harm simply because it dislikes the result of the election, and nothing in the text, history, or structure of the Constitution supports Texas's view that it can dictate the manner in which four other states run their elections.
Texas's effort to get this Court to pick the next President has no basis in law or fact. The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.
Texas offers statements about Pennsylvania law and Pennsylvania's election administration. Befitting of Texas's distance and unfamiliarity with either, those statements are littered with patently false allegations and conclusions.
Texas's suggestion of a wide-ranging conspiracy is a fantasy.
This dispute, on the other hand, involves Pennsylvania's interpretation of its own laws, and Texas's disagreement with that interpretation. … And Texas's claims are neither serious nor dignified.
Far from trying to vindicate its own sovereign or quasi-sovereign interests, Texas is ultimately seeking redress for the political preferences of those of its citizens who voted for President Trump. .... In so doing, Texas repeats the same false allegations of election fraud that have already been repeatedly rejected by other courts. … And its request for relief — to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters who reasonably relied upon the law — is uniquely unserious.
Let us be clear. 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.
Texas commenced the present action on December 7, 2020, thirty-four days after the General Election and thirteen days after the results were certified by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. Disenfranchising millions of voters after Pennsylvania has already certified its election results would grievously undermine the public's trust in the electoral system, contravene democratic principles, and reward Texas for its inexcusable delay and procedural gamesmanship.
Texas seeks the unprecedented step of commandeering the electoral process of a separate and co-equal sovereign state and disenfranchising almost 7 million Pennsylvanians who reasonably relied on the rules which were in place when they voted on Election Day.
Texas literally seeks to decimate the electorate of the United States.
Indeed, Texas's argument is so untethered from the actual state of the law that it makes the remarkable claim that a state legislature's power to direct the manner by which presidential electors are appointed is "plenary." ... So plenary is that power, Texas claims, that state legislatures are not bound by either the state constitution that establishes them or the laws that the legislature itself has passed. ... Texas is gravely mistaken.
Nothing in the text, history, or structure of the Constitution supports Texas's view that it can dictate the manner in which four sister States run their elections, and Texas suffered no harm because it dislikes the results in those elections. Further, Texas's claims are also moot and barred by laches. The predicate for Texas to take action was established well before Election Day, but it waited until now—after all four States have certified their elections—to bring this action. While Texas waited to see the results, millions of voters relied on the settled rules. Those voters should not be punished for not choosing Texas's preferred candidate, and Texas should not be rewarded for its unreasonable delay in bringing this action.
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. Accepting Texas's view would do violence to the Constitution and the Framers' vision, and would plunge this Court into "one of the most intensely partisan aspects of American political life."
You can read the entire brief here.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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