Legal Experts Call Texas Election Lawsuit 'Publicity Stunt' Supreme Court Will Never Hear

Legal experts have harshly criticized a lawsuit filed with the Supreme Court by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against four states President-elect Joe Biden won in the 2020 election.

Paxton is asking the court to order state legislatures in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to throw out the "tainted" election results and select their own slates of presidential electors. The Republican-controlled legislatures could then choose electors who would vote for President Donald Trump.

Critics have dismissed the suit as a "publicity stunt" and suggested the Supreme Court won't even hear the arguments. Paxton claims the four states acted unconstitutionally by violating statutes enacted by the state legislatures.

"It looks like we have a new leader in the 'craziest lawsuit filed to purportedly challenge the election' category," said Steve Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas Law School.

Writing on Twitter on Monday, Vladeck said "The Court is *never* going to hear this one" and offered a detailed explanation.

"Although the Supreme Court has 'exclusive' jurisdiction over disputes between states, it does not automatically hear all such cases," Vladeck said. "Rather, states have to receive 'leave to file,' which usually requires showing that there's no other forum in which these issues can be resolved."

Vladeck called the filing "insane" and noted that Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins isn't named in the suit.

"Anyway, it takes five votes to grant a motion for leave to file — which isn't going to happen," Vladeck said. "And it'll take some time. So chalk this up as mostly a stunt — a dangerous, offensive, and wasteful one, but a stunt nonetheless."

It looks like we have a new leader in the “craziest lawsuit filed to purportedly challenge the election” category:

The State of Texas is suing Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin *directly* in #SCOTUS.

(Spoiler alert: The Court is *never* going to hear this one.)

— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) December 8, 2020

Rick Hasen, professor Law and Political Science at UC Irvine and a CNN Election Law Analyst, was equally dismissive of the case, writing a brief article on his blog describing the suit as "dangerous garbage."

"The Texas case is not serious. Far from it. It's a publicity stunt masquerading as a lawsuit. AG Paxton should be sanctioned for it. It goes against the will of millions of voters," Hasen wrote on Twitter.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who's recently come to national attention for his efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the county, said that Paxton had provided no evidence to back up his request that the election results in four states be thrown out.

"Texas Sues Four States in Supreme Court Over Results in 2020 Presidential Race. This is a publicity stunt. One state has no standing to complain how another state(s) choose their presidential electors. Plus @KenPaxtonTX fails to site any evidence of fraud," Jenkins tweeted on Monday.

Laurence Tribe, legal scholar and professor at Harvard Law School, also suggested that Texas may not have standing to bring the case and therefore the court may decide not to hear it.

"This is truly ridiculous," Tribe said. "If the 50 sister States could sue one another to overturn each other's election results, there'd be a mind-blowing cascade of at least 50! (ie 50 x 49 x 48 x ... x3 x2) intra-family Electoral College megasuits. Endless!"

Democratic Congressman Colin Allred of Texas' 32nd district, a former civil rights attorney, echoed much of the criticism from legal experts about the case being a publicity stunt.

"Deeply embarrassing that TX's AG is wasting our tax dollars trying to subvert an election," Allred tweeted. "This stunt will not distract from Mr. Paxton's scandals and will not change the result of this election, it will only hurt our democracy and waste your money."

Some of Paxton's staff asked federal authorities two months ago to investigate the attorney general for alleged abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal charges. He was previously indicted on felony securities fraud charges.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to reporters at a news conference outside the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Paxton is suing four states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden in an effort to overturn the results. Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images

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