By Jan Wolfe and Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Texas drew support on Wednesday from 17 other U.S. states in its long-shot bid to have the Supreme Court overturn President Donald Trump’s election loss by throwing out the voting results from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In a brief filed on Wednesday, lawyers for the 17 states led by Missouri’s Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt urged the nine justices to hear the Texas lawsuit, the latest litigation to try to undo Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over the Republican incumbent in the Nov. 3 election.
Trump on Wednesday vowed to intervene in the lawsuit though he did not provide details on the nature of the intervention including whether it would be by presidential campaign or the U.S. Justice Department. Efforts in the courts on behalf of Trump challenging the election results so far have failed.
Writing on Twitter, Trump said, “We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!”
The lawsuit, announced on Tuesday by the Republican attorney general of Texas Ken Paxton, targeted four states that Trump lost to Biden after winning them in the 2016 election. Trump has falsely claimed he won re-election and has made baseless allegations of widespread voting fraud. Election officials at the state level have said they have found no evidence of such fraud.
Election law experts have said the Texas lawsuit stands little chance of success and lacks legal merit.
In addition to Missouri, the states joining Texas were: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia. All of the states were represented by Republican officials in the filing. All but three of the states have Republican governors.
Officials from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have called the lawsuit a reckless attack on democracy. It was filed directly with the Supreme Court rather than with a lower court, as is permitted for certain litigation between states.
The Texas suit argued that changes made by the four states to voting procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic to expand mail-in voting were unlawful. Texas asked the Supreme Court to immediately block the four states from using the voting results to appoint presidential electors to the Electoral College.
Biden has amassed 306 electoral votes – far higher than the necessary 270 – compared to Trump’s 232 in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the election’s outcome. The four states contribute a combined 62 electoral votes to Biden’s total.
Texas also asked the Supreme Court to delay the Dec. 14 date for Electoral College votes to be formally cast, a date set by law in 1887.
Democrats and other critics have accused Trump of aiming to reduce public confidence in U.S. election integrity and undermine democracy by trying to subvert the will of the voters.
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