Attorney General James and Coalition Fight Baseless Effort to Invalidate 2020 Election Results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin
Coalition of AGs Argue Before Supreme Court That Texas AG’s Suit
Lacks Legal Support and Offers Zero Evidence of Systemic Voter Fraud
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James, as part of a coalition of 23 Democratic attorneys general from around the nation, today urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request that the court overturn election results in four states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — critical to President-elect Joseph Biden’s victory. In an amicus brief filed in Texas v. Pennsylvania, the coalition argues that Texas’s unprecedented suit depends on a misreading of the U.S. Constitution’s Electors Clause — one that clashes with a century of precedent, denies states’ power to make their own decisions about election administration and oversight, and threatens to upend the basic notions of federalism and states’ rights. Further, the suit depends on wildly false and inaccurate claims of voter fraud, offering no evidence whatsoever of systemic fraud in the November election. The coalition is asking the court to throw out Texas’s suit against the four states.
“The American people have made their choice and elected Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States, so now is the time for our leaders to move forward with the peaceful transfer of power, instead of putting forward specious and dishonest claims,” said Attorney General James. “The lawsuit led by Texas is nothing more than a faithless attempt to undermine the will of the people and have the courts choose the next president. Our coalition is calling on the highest court in this nation to uphold its constitutional duty and dismiss this lawsuit outright. Providing any consideration of these ridiculous claims undermines the integrity of our elections and spits in the face of nearly 250 years of our country’s electoral process.”
According to President Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security, the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history.” President-elect Biden carried the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by decisive margins. Both Wisconsin and Georgia underwent recounts to confirm the results. In fact, Wisconsin’s recount revealed that President-elect Biden won the state by a slightly larger margin of victory than in the initial count. All three recounts in Georgia have reaffirmed President-elect Biden’s edge. Election officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have now certified their results. In spite of all of this, President Trump’s campaign has continued to make wild and knowingly dishonest allegations of electoral tampering, while neither the campaign nor its supporters have produced any evidence of substantial voter fraud, or other forms of wrongdoing. The president and his allies have filed 55 election-related suits since November 3rd and judges have rejected their claims in all but one minor case.
Despite this, Texas Attorney General Paxton — supported by 17 Republican attorneys general — filed a lawsuit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the Supreme Court yesterday. The lawsuit alleges that the states unlawfully enacted changes to their own election laws under the cover of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and asks the Supreme Court to make an unprecedented intervention and invalidate the will of the voters in those four states. Tellingly, the suit says absolutely nothing of other states — including Texas and several other states that supported Texas’s lawsuit — that made similar changes to their election process to guarantee access to the ballot while keeping residents safe during this public health emergency.
Attorney General James and coalition of Democratic attorneys general filed today’s amicus brief in vigorous opposition to Texas’s undemocratic effort to overturn the results of the election. Specifically, the states urge the Supreme Court to deny Texas’s lawsuit because:
- Texas’s interpretation of the Electors Clause is contrary to a century’s worth of precedent: The Electors Clause of the Constitution grants the states the power to set their own rules for presidential elections held within their own states. While the text of the Constitution says this authority is given to “state legislatures,” since the early 20th century, the Supreme Court has allowed the legislatures to delegate this authority to elections administrators or other state government entities.
- States have a constitutional right to determine the process for administering their own elections: Federalism is a core component of the Constitution, governing a division of power between the states and the federal government. The Constitution makes clear, and the Supreme Court has affirmed, that the framers granted the states the right to administer and oversee presidential elections on their own. Yet, Texas’s lawsuit — calling on the Supreme Court to intervene in the elections held by the four defendant states — would infringe on that right, and, thus, their sovereignty. Further, it would set its own destructive precedent, limiting the states’ ability to make critical changes to the structure and oversight of elections.
- There is no evidence that the states’ common-sense measures to protect the vote and the health of residents produced significant voter fraud: Since 2000, more than 250 million people in all 50 states have voted using mail-in ballots, and, in 2018 alone, more than 31 million Americans — or about 25.8 percent of voters — cast their ballots by mail. Moreover, five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington — already have all-mail voting systems, where every registered voter receives a ballot in the mail. Despite the prevalence of voting by mail, officials at the state and federal level have consistently found no evidence of widespread fraud. That remained true for the 2020 election. Additionally, although President Trump has made knowingly false claims that the results were tainted by voter fraud, his campaign lawyers and other allies have consistently failed to substantiate these assertions with any evidence. Indeed, Republican and Democratic officials overseeing the elections in all four defendant states have repeatedly confirmed that these processes were safe and secure.
Attorney General James and a coalition that includes the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, the territory of Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands filed today’s amicus brief.