Texas AG Explains Why He Took Battleground Election Lawsuit Straight to Supreme Court

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court against the states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan on Tuesday in an attempt to prevent electors in those states from casting their ballots in the Electoral College.

Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan were all carried by President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Paxton's lawsuit seeks to paint the results of the election in those states as unconstitutional. Because of the special circumstances of one state suing others, Paxton told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he had no choice but to file with the nation's highest court.

"In a state-on-state suit, our only place to go is the U.S. Supreme Court," Paxton said. "We can't be heard anywhere else. Other lawsuits start at a district court level and they have a right to be heard at least once, whether they have a good case or a bad case. Our request is we want to be heard."

"The only place where we can go is the U.S. Supreme Court and so we're pleading with the U.S. Supreme Court, please hear our case," Paxton continued. "Give us a chance at least to argue what we think is right. We want to argue the Constitution."

According to Article 3, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Court can hear cases involving state versus state disputes without the cases passing through a lower court first.

"In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction," the Constitution reads. Most original jurisdiction cases heard by the Supreme Court involve property issues, such as water rights or boundary disagreements.

Paxton contended that local officials changed voting policies, including the expansion of mail-in ballots because of the COVID-19 pandemic, without the permission of state legislatures. According to Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution, "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors." Paxton's filing alleges that local officials do not have the constitutional authority to change voting procedures "regardless of whatever COVID-related emergency power they may have."

ken paxton files election lawsuit Supreme Court
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday alleging that officials in four other states had violated the Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis/Getty

"It is the responsibility of state legislatures per the Constitution to set the rules for the election of electors," Paxton told Hannity. "And in this case those were overridden in the four states we're talking about, were overridden by other officials whether they were judges or other government officials and that's not the way our Constitution works and that's the challenge we have in front of the court. Can this be overridden by people who are not responsible under the Constitution for doing this?"

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the four states named in the Texas lawsuit to file a response to the litigation by Thursday. If Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania are required by the Supreme Court to withdraw their electoral votes, Biden's lead would shrink from 306 electoral votes to 244. A candidate must receive 270 electoral votes in the Electoral College to be considered the winner of the presidential election.

Democrats decried Paxton's lawsuit as an attempt to help President Donald Trump obtain a second term in the White House. In a Tuesday statement, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa called Paxton's lawsuit "downright wrong and embarrassing for Texans. Joe Biden won this election. Paxton should stop trying to subvert the will of the people and start working to do the job he was elected to do—protecting everyday Texans."

Newsweek reached out to the Democratic National Committee for comment.

Trump's legal team has filed multiple lawsuits in swing states in attempts to prove Trump's baseless allegations of election fraud. Trump has refused to concede the election to Biden and has claimed that Democrats used a variety of election manipulation techniques to win the election. Many of those lawsuits have been dismissed by the court system.

Paxton is the co-chair of Lawyers for Trump, a group that promises on its website to "mobilize support for President Trump to secure four more years of strong leadership that will uphold our nation's constitution and preserve a government of, by, and for the people."