Legal experts almost universally dismissed Texas’ suit as an unbecoming stunt. In invoking the Supreme Court’s “original jurisdiction,” Texas asked the justices to act as a trial court to settle a dispute between states, a procedure theoretically possible under the Constitution but employed sparingly, typically in cases concerning water rights or boundary disputes.
In a series of briefs filed Thursday, the four states that Texas sought to sue condemned the effort. “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,” a brief for Pennsylvania said.
On Friday morning, Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, responded in a reply brief. “Whatever Pennsylvania’s definition of sedition,” he wrote, “moving this court to cure grave threats to Texas’ right of suffrage in the Senate and its citizens’ rights of suffrage in presidential elections upholds the Constitution, which is the very opposite of sedition.”
Claims that the election was tainted by widespread fraud have been debunked, including by Attorney General William P. Barr, who said this month that the Justice Department had uncovered no voting fraud “on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
Some 20 states led by Democrats, in a brief supporting the four battleground states, urged the Supreme Court “to reject Texas’ last-minute attempt to throw out the results of an election decided by the people and securely overseen and certified by its sister states.”
Georgia, which Mr. Biden won by less than 12,000 votes out of nearly five million cast, said in its brief that it had handled its election with integrity and care. “This election cycle,” the brief said, “Georgia did what the Constitution empowered it to do: it implemented processes for the election, administered the election in the face of logistical challenges brought on by Covid-19, and confirmed and certified the election results — again and again and again. Yet Texas has sued Georgia anyway.”