The Supreme Court of the United States rejected the offer of Texas and President Donald Trump to nullify the election results in four key states in an abrupt and effectively unanimous order that could be the legal death sentence for efforts to nullify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.
The judges refused to allow Texas to file a lawsuit to challenge Biden’s victories in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. The order authorizes those states to cast their votes for Biden at the Electoral College on Monday.
“Texas has not demonstrated a judicially recognizable interest in the way another state conducts its elections,” the court said in an unsigned two-paragraph order.
No judge publicly disagreed with that conclusion or said they would block states from casting their votes. Trump’s three Supreme Court appointees, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, did not suggest that they disagreed with the order.
The decision ends a lawsuit hailed by Trump on Twitter as “the largest” and frustrates his dream of vindication, often expressed in the Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority of 6-3 thanks to Trump’s appointments. Barrett’s nomination rushed through the Senate confirmation process, and Trump said his vote would be necessary to resolve any election disputes.
Earlier Friday, Trump asked the nation’s highest court to show “great wisdom and courage.”
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said they would have let Texas bring the lawsuit, noting that they have long held that the Supreme Court has no choice but to allow a lawsuit by one state against another. However, they indicated that they would not have prevented voters from voting, and said they would “not grant another relief.”
‘The big one’
Michael Gwin, spokesman for Biden’s campaign, said in a statement that the court “decisively and swiftly rejected the latest attacks by Donald Trump and his allies on the democratic process.”
The White House referred reporters to the Trump campaign, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump has spent months trying to shake the nation’s faith in the integrity of its voting systems, repeatedly predicting before November 3 that elections would be rigged due to the expanded use of mail-in ballots, and later said it had been, without ever producing evidence to back up those claims in court.
Dozens of lower courts have rejected cases brought by Trump and his allies. Members of the Trump administration, including Attorney General Bill Barr, have said they have not found any cases of widespread fraud.
Texas, supported by Trump, sought an extraordinary last-minute intervention by the superior court. Texas claimed its rights were violated because all four states unconstitutionally expanded voting by mail, opening their elections to fraud and irregularities.
Bush vs. Gore
The apparent unanimity of the court created a contrast with Bush v. Gore of 2000, a 5-4 decision that sealed the election of Republican George W. Bush and halted the counts that could have tipped Florida’s pivotal state to Democrat Al Gore.
More than half of House Republicans and Republican attorneys from 17 states backed Texas on the Supreme Court. But Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska praised the decision.
“All Americans who care about the rule of law should feel reassured that the Supreme Court, including President Trump’s three elections, closed the book on nonsense,” Sasse said in an emailed statement.
The Supreme Court had already suggested it had little patience for efforts to overturn Biden’s victory. In a one-sentence rejection on Tuesday, the court rejected a request by Trump allies to overturn Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania. A group led by a Republican congressman argued that the state legislature exceeded its power by allowing universal voting by mail for the first time.
Texas tried to invoke the so-called original jurisdiction of the court, which allows states to sue each other directly in the Supreme Court as if it were a trial court. All four defendant states said the court hears those types of claims only when they involve fundamental sovereign interests.
All four states said Texas lacks standing to sue in any court because it has not suffered the specific type of injury that would allow it to press a case. They also said Texas waited so long to sue, 34 days after the election, that its claims became legally moot.
Although other electoral challenges remain pending, the Texas lawsuit was the only one that tried, in an unprecedented way, to nullify Biden’s victories in enough states to potentially change the outcome. Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College advantage means Trump would have to somehow reverse the results in at least three contested states to retain the presidency.