The Road to Jan 6 Final

Ted Cruz Offered His Services in Resolving National 'Acrimony' About the Election

In this daily series, Newsweek explores the steps that led to the January 6 Capitol Riot.

On December 8, a week before the electoral college was scheduled to meet, one of Donald Trump's last avenues of appeal was shut off, as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a claim challenging Pennsylvania's voting by mail.

In a complaint fronted by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), the plaintiffs asserted that the electoral system raised federal issues because the federal Constitution was violated if the Pennsylvania legislature expanded the mail-in procedure without proper authority from the state constitution.

"Now, let's see whether or not somebody has the courage, whether it's a legislator or legislatures, or whether it's a justice of the Supreme Court, or a number of justices of the Supreme Court—let's see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right," the president said before the ruling.

"The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied," the one-sentence Supreme Court order said.

ted cruz donald trump 2020 election
Ted Cruz said he was ready to help resolve the "bitter division and acrimony" after the election. Cruz at a press conference on Capitol Hill, October 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said that if the Supreme Court took up the Pennsylvania lawsuit, he was ready to present the oral argument. "The bitter division and acrimony we see across the nation needs resolution," Cruz told Fox News. "I believe the Supreme Court has a responsibility to the American people to ensure, within its powers, that we are following the law and following the Constitution."

Cruz, a graduate of Harvard Law School, is a former Solicitor General for the State of Texas.

Up until December 8, Donald Trump's campaign team and his various allies had lost more than 50 election-related lawsuits.

On Tuesday too, Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a complaint that asked the Supreme Court to overturn the vote in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia on the grounds that their flawed elections had violated the rights of Texans.

"Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification, government officials in the defendant states of Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania usurped their legislatures' authority and unconstitutionally revised their state's election statutes," the complaint stated. "They accomplished these statutory revisions through executive fiat or friendly lawsuits, thereby weakening ballot integrity. Finally, these same government officials flooded the ... states with millions of ballots."

The complaint asked the Supreme Court to extend the deadline for the electoral college's meeting, set by law for December 14. A letter signed by 126 members of Congress supported the filing.

President Trump called it "the Big One." He again tweeted: "... It is much easier for the Supreme Court of the United States to follow the Constitution and do what everybody knows has to be done. They must show great Courage & Wisdom. Save the USA!!!"

In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Georgia, the Attorneys General issued statements denouncing the Texas filing, the Democrats calling the filing an attempt to "mislead the public and tear at the fabric of our Constitution." The Republican Attorney General for Georgia called the filing "constitutionally, legally and factually wrong."

Three days later, the Supreme Court again perfunctorily dismissed the Texas lawsuit. One state could not object to how another state conducted its elections.

The unsigned order said. "The State of Texas's motion for leave to fill a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution."

President Trump tweeted: "It is a legal disgrace, an embarrassment to the USA!!!"

Trump had personally appointed three of the nine members of the Court and now he was mad that none of them paid him back. Trump was particularly angry, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa wrote in "Peril," that his advisors had stopped him from appointing Rudy Giuliani to the bench.

The news media and the Democrats could not have been more vicious in their mockery of "the legal stupidity" associated with the suit, Woodward and Costa wrote. But maybe Trump's own representatives didn't actually believe the legal argument and were operating only out of self-interest. "It was necessary and productive to support Trump's asinine and hopeless suit because Trump had mustered so much support among so many voters with no interest in or capacity for empirical reasoning, or, at least, who were preoccupied with other issues."

Whatever their motivation, more than 100 members of Congress and numerous state officials supported Donald Trump's crusade. Election denial was spreading, even if the transition itself was limping forward.

On December 8, Republicans voted to reject a motion offered by House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) that the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies move forward with the assumption that the January 20 inauguration was for President-elect Joe Biden. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blocked the motion, forcing the Committee to prepare for a generic event.

"Their continued deference to President Trump's post-election temper tantrums threatens our democracy and undermines faith in our system of elections," Hoyer said. "Republicans are refusing even to allow [the committee] to say that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be inaugurated on January 20, even when there is no serious dispute over that fact."

It would now fall to the people to influence Congress, stop the steal, and save America. That's what Trump and a growing mass of his supporters were starting to think.