WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to carry on his fight to upend President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last month’s nationwide election in a new Supreme Court case after the high court rejected an attempt to overturn Biden’s key win in the eastern battleground state of Pennsylvania.
The Supreme Court, in a brief order Tuesday, rejected a request by Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn Biden’s 81,000-vote victory in the state, the first time the country’s top court had weighed in on the election. But the ruling was the latest of dozens of lawsuit losses across the country for Trump and his campaign as he tries to stay in office for another four-year term.
The flurry of court battles comes as the country’s Electoral College, which determines the winner in U.S. presidential elections, is set to vote Monday and likely confirm Biden’s 306-232 vote advantage. It is the same edge Trump had in the 2016 election, when he declared he won in a “landslide” victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
After Congress reviews and certifies the Electoral College outcome on January 6, Biden is set to be inaugurated two weeks later, at noon January 20 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Trump said he would intervene in a new suit filed in the Supreme Court by conservative Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to overturn Biden victories in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Seventeen other states, all of which voted for Trump, also expressed support for Paxton’s lawsuit in a court filing on Wednesday.
The suit is based on a collection of claims of voting and vote-counting irregularities that have already been largely rejected in separate cases brought in state and federal courts.
“There is massive evidence of widespread fraud in the four states (plus) mentioned in the Texas suit,” Trump contended on Twitter. “Just look at all of the tapes and affidavits!”
Trump said, “We will soon be learning about the word ‘courage,’ and saving our Country. I received hundreds of thousands of legal votes more, in all of the Swing States, than did my opponent. ALL Data taken after the vote says that it was impossible for me to lose, unless FIXED!””
Paxton claimed that election officials in the four states he sued used the COVID-19 pandemic as an unconstitutional justification to circumvent their state legislatures in setting election rules, “thereby weakening ballot integrity.”
Paxton’s complaint asks the court to extend the deadline for the Electoral College vote next Monday and to disallow electors from the four states pledged to vote for Biden because he won the popular vote in these states. Instead, he asked the Supreme Court to allow the state legislatures to appoint electors, presumably ones favoring Trump.
The Supreme Court gave the four states until Thursday to respond to Paxton’s suit, but their state attorneys general disparaged Paxton’s legal effort as misguided.
“With all due respect, the Texas attorney general is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia,” said a spokeswoman for Georgia’s Republican attorney general, Chris Carr.
Attorneys general Dana Nessel of Michigan, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and Josh Kaul of Wisconsin — all Democrats — called Paxton’s lawsuit an attempt to “mislead the public and tear at the fabric of our Constitution.”
“It’s well past time for the president and our fellow states and elected officials to stop misleading the public about this year’s election and to acknowledge that the results certified in our states reflect the decisions made by the voters in a free, fair, and secure election,” they stated.
Stephen Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas, said of Paxton’s legal effort on Twitter, “It looks like we have a new leader in the ‘craziest lawsuit filed to purportedly challenge the election’ category.”
Richard Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California at Irvine, called Paxton’s suit a “news release masquerading as a lawsuit” in a blog post explaining his view of why the suit would fail.
Meanwhile, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a Trump supporter, said he would convene a Homeland Security Committee hearing next week about election irregularities, contending that “a large percentage of the American public” does not view the election outcome favoring Biden as legitimate.
But another Republican lawmaker, retiring Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, said that assuming the Electoral College confirms Biden’s victory on Monday, Trump should concede his loss.
“I hope the president will put the country first, congratulate Joe Biden and take pride in his considerable accomplishments, and help him off to a good start,” Alexander said.