More than 100 members of Congress and multiple state attorneys general have signed onto a Texas lawsuit asking the US Supreme Court to invalidate president-elect Joe Biden’s victory, even as some of the Republicans have predicted the case will fail.
The filing indicates that roughly one-quarter of the US House believes the Supreme Court should overturn the results of the November 3 election, demonstrating President Donald Trump’s enduring political power even as his term is set to end.
Seventeen Republican attorneys general are backing the unprecedented case that Trump is calling “the big one” despite the fact that the president and his allies have lost dozens of times in courts across the country.
In a filing on Thursday, the Congressional Republicans claimed “unconstitutional irregularities” have “cast doubt” on the 2020 outcome and “the integrity of the American system of elections”.
Election officials have said there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
Law experts think the lawsuit will not last.
“The Supreme Court is not going to overturn the election in the Texas case, as the President has told them to do,” tweeted Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.
“But we are in bad shape as a country that 17 states could support this shameful, anti-American filing” by Texas and its attorney general, Ken Paxton, he said.
The lawsuit filed against Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin repeats unsubstantiated accusations about the voting in four states that went for Trump’s Democratic challenger.
The case demands that the high court invalidate the states’ 62 total Electoral College votes.
Two days after Paxton sued, 17 states filed a motion supporting the lawsuit and on Thursday six of those states asked to join the case themselves.
Trump has acted to join the case, tweeting Thursday that “the Supreme Court has a chance to save our Country from the greatest Election abuse in the history of the United States”.
Hours later, Trump held a meeting at the White House, scheduled before the suit was filed, with a dozen Republican attorneys general, including Paxton and several others who are backing the effort.
Still, some of the top state Republican prosecutors urging the Supreme Court to hear the case have acknowledged that the effort is a long shot and are seeking to distance themselves from Trump’s allegations of fraud.
North Dakota’s Wayne Stenehjem, among the 17 attorneys general supporting the case, said North Dakota is not alleging voter fraud in the four states at issue.
“We’re careful on that,” said Stenehjem, who noted that his office has received thousands of calls and emails from constituents asking the state to support the suit.
“But it’s worth it for the Supreme Court to weigh in and settle it once and for all,” he said.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox called the lawsuit “belated” and said its chances “are slim at best”.
But Fox supported Texas because he said the case raised “important constitutional questions about the separation of powers and the integrity of mail-in ballots in those defendant states”.