Early Tuesday morning, the Lone Star State’s top law enforcement officer sued the presidential battleground states of Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the state of Texas for making allegedly unconstitutional changes to election laws in a laughably brazen attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
To the shock of absolutely no one, President-elect Joe Biden came out victorious in all four of the states Paxton has sued.
In a statement touting his lawsuit, Paxton claimed government officials in these states who implemented coronavirus-inspired modifications to election procedures such as encouraging greater use of mail ballots have “exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to justify ignoring federal and state election laws and unlawfully enacting last-minute changes, thus skewing the results of the 2020 General Election,” despite the fact that weeks of similar legal cases on behalf of President Donald Trump’s campaign have uncovered nothing that would rise to that level.
“By ignoring both state and federal law,” Paxton said in his press release, “these states have not only tainted the integrity of their own citizens’ vote, but of Texas and every other state that held lawful elections.”
“Their failure to abide by the rule of law casts a dark shadow of doubt over the outcome of the entire election. We now ask that the Supreme Court step in to correct this egregious error,” Paxton wrote.
In the lawsuit, Paxton asks the Supreme Court to “delay the deadline for the appointment of presidential electors” by the states in question, hoping that their state legislatures — all run by Republicans — would then be granted the authority to choose which electors are sent to the Electoral College. If his scheme works, which is highly unlikely, that could result in those electoral votes going to Trump instead of Biden, which would throw the election to Trump.
It’s easy to view Paxton’s newest lawsuit as a vanity project designed to win him plaudits from his far-right fanbase in order to distract from his own legal troubles — Paxton is currently under federal investigation for a bribery scandal uncovered after several of his top Republican lieutenants in the AG’s office blew the whistle on their boss, many of whom were fired or pressured to resign in retaliation.
And on top of that, Paxton is still under indictment for alleged securities fraud for an investment scheme he cooked-up over five years ago, so there’s plenty of reasons why he’d want to shift the public’s attention away from those cases. There’s a non-zero chance he might be fishing for a pardon from Trump in the president’s final weeks in office.
“It looks like we have a new leader in the ‘craziest lawsuit filed to purportedly challenge the election’ category,'” University of Texas law professor and federal court expert Steve Vladeck tweeted in response to Paxton’s new lawsuit. “Spoiler alert: The Court is *never* going to hear this one,” his tweet concluded, based on his belief that there’s no way five Supreme Court justices will vote in favor of hearing the case, even given the court’s conservative super-majority.
“So chalk this up as mostly a stunt — a dangerous, offensive, and wasteful one, but a stunt nonetheless,” Vladeck wrote.