Indicted Texas AG Ken Paxton
Indicted Texas AG Ken Paxton

Ear­li­er this week, cor­rupt Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton (a Repub­li­can) announced he was fil­ing a law­suit in the Unit­ed States Supreme Court aimed at pre­vent­ing Penn­syl­va­nia, Wis­con­sin, Michi­gan, and Geor­gia from par­tic­i­pat­ing in next Mon­day’s 2020 meet­ing of the Elec­toral Col­lege — all because the vot­ers in those states did­n’t back Pax­ton’s can­di­date, Don­ald Trump.

After Pax­ton announced his plans, more than a dozen oth­er Repub­li­can attor­neys gen­er­al decid­ed to use pub­lic resources in their states to back his des­per­ate gam­bit to use the Unit­ed States Supreme Court to throw the elec­tion and block the win­ners (Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris) from tak­ing office.

The four defen­dant states have now all deliv­ered furi­ous, scathing rejoin­ders to Pax­ton’s law­suit, while a large group of oth­er states have rushed to stand at their side by fil­ing their own ami­cus (“friend of the court”) brief.

The cohort of states (and enti­ties that should be states) join­ing with Penn­syl­va­nia, Michi­gan, Geor­gia, and Wis­con­sin in oppo­si­tion to Pax­ton’s law­suit con­sists of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, Cal­i­for­nia, Col­orado, Con­necti­cut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Illi­nois, Maine, Mary­land, Mass­a­chu­setts, Min­neso­ta, Neva­da, New Jer­sey, New Mex­i­co, New York, North Car­oli­na, Ore­gon, Rhode Island, Ver­mont, Vir­ginia, the U.S. Vir­gin Islands, and Washington.

All vot­ed for Biden except for North Car­oli­na (which vot­ed for Trump) and the ter­ri­to­ries of Guam and the U.S. Vir­gin Islands, which have no rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Elec­toral Col­lege because they are not yet states.

The pro-Biden states’ posi­tion is that the Supreme Court should not even take up the case. The pro-Biden states warn that doing so would send a ter­ri­ble mes­sage and set a dan­ger­ous prece­dent of inde­fen­si­ble judi­cial meddling.

“The court should not abide this sedi­tious abuse of the judi­cial process, and should send a clear and unmis­tak­able sig­nal that such abuse must nev­er be repli­cat­ed,” Penn­syl­va­nia declared in its brief.

“Texas pro­pos­es an extra­or­di­nary intru­sion into Wisconsin’s and the oth­er defen­dant states’ elec­tions, a task that the Con­sti­tu­tion leaves to each state,” Wis­con­sin told the Court. “Texas asserts that this court’s inter­ven­tion is nec­es­sary to ensure faith in the elec­tion. But it is hard to imag­ine what could pos­si­bly under­mine faith in democ­ra­cy more than this court per­mit­ting one state to enlist the court in its attempt to over­turn the elec­tion results in oth­er states.”

“The under­ly­ing legal claims Texas belat­ed­ly seeks to lit­i­gate in this Court can be, and indeed have been, lit­i­gat­ed — and thus far lost — in alter­nate forums where facts can be devel­oped and issues ful­ly aired, sub­ject to this Court’s ordi­nary cer­tio­rari review,” the ami­ci point­ed out in their brief.

“Ken Pax­ton con­tin­ues to do dis­ser­vice to the crit­i­cal work we do as state Attor­neys Gen­er­al,” said Mass­a­chu­setts AG Mau­ra Healey and Neva­da AG Aaron Ford, the Co-Chairs of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­neys Gen­er­al Association.

“This lat­est law­suit filed by the Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al, which seeks to under­mine the will of vot­ers in states that are not Texas and that will have absolute­ly no impact on the out­come of the elec­tion, is mer­it­less and desperate.”

“Indeed, the Geor­gia Attor­ney Gen­er­al [who is a Repub­li­can] got it right, and instead of con­tin­u­ing to sow doubt and dis­trust in the 2020 elec­tion, state AGs — regard­less of par­ty — should con­tin­ue to speak out in sup­port of the will of the peo­ple and pro­tect­ing our democracy.”

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic AGs not­ed that Paxton:

  • … is indict­ed on secu­ri­ties fraud and cur­rent­ly awaits trial.
  • … is under inves­ti­ga­tion by the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (FBI).
  • fired sev­en senior staffers who whisle­blew on his poten­tial­ly ille­gal behav­ior ear­li­er this year.
  • threat­ened cities in Texas who did not lift COVID-19 restric­tions meant to pro­tect people.
  • sup­port­ed the com­plete restric­tion of repro­duc­tive health care dur­ing the begin­ning of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • … is lead­ing the Repub­li­can AG effort to repeal the entire Patient Pro­tec­tion Act which would take health care away from 20+ mil­lion peo­ple, and elim­i­nate pro­tec­tions for 135+ mil­lion with pre-exist­ing conditions.
  • … served as the Chair of the Repub­li­can AG Asso­ci­a­tion and cur­rent­ly serves as Co-Chair of Lawyers for Trump.

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son also denounced Pax­ton’s unac­cept­able behav­ior in a state­ment announc­ing Wash­ing­ton’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the ami­cus brief.

“I will con­tin­ue work­ing to defend our elec­tions from these legal attacks on our democ­ra­cy,” Fer­gu­son said in a state­ment. “This law­suit has no legal or fac­tu­al basis. It will not suc­ceed in over­turn­ing the will of the voters.”

Here’s a quick guide to the dis­unit­ed states:

Suing to Throw Election
  • Texas

Hench­states (through their AGs)

  • Mis­souri
  • Alaba­ma
  • Arkansas
  • Flori­da
  • Indi­ana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mis­sis­sip­pi
  • Mon­tana
  • Nebras­ka
  • North Dako­ta
  • Okla­homa
  • South Car­oli­na
  • South Dako­ta
  • Ten­nessee
  • Utah
  • West Vir­ginia

Not par­tic­i­pat­ing on either side

  • Alas­ka
  • Ida­ho
  • Ari­zona
  • New Hamp­shire
  • Ken­tucky
  • Wyoming
  • Iowa
  • Ohio
Defend­ing Their Voters
  • Penn­syl­va­nia
  • Michi­gan
  • Wis­con­sin
  • Geor­gia


  • Dis­trict of Columbia
  • Cal­i­for­nia
  • Col­orado
  • Con­necti­cut
  • Delaware
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Illi­nois
  • Maine
  • Mary­land
  • Mass­a­chu­setts
  • Min­neso­ta
  • Neva­da
  • New Jer­sey
  • New Mex­i­co
  • New York
  • North Car­oli­na
  • Ore­gon
  • Rhode Island
  • Ver­mont
  • Vir­ginia
  • U.S. Vir­gin Islands
  • Wash­ing­ton

The greater Pacif­ic North­west states are split into all three camps.

Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon oppose the suit. Mon­tana sup­ports it. Alas­ka and Ida­ho have not tak­en a posi­tion or joined either group of ami­cus states.

Ida­ho’s Repub­li­can Attor­ney Gen­er­al Lawrence Was­den said ear­li­er this week he will not par­tic­i­pate in Pax­ton’s effort to throw the elec­tion.

“As Attor­ney Gen­er­al, I have sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns about sup­port­ing a legal argu­ment that could result in oth­er states lit­i­gat­ing against legal deci­sions made by Idaho’s leg­is­la­ture and gov­er­nor,” Was­den wrote. “Ida­ho is a sov­er­eign state and should be free to gov­ern itself with­out inter­fer­ence from any oth­er state. Like­wise, Ida­ho should respect the sov­er­eign­ty of its sis­ter states.”

Fol­low­ing the issuance of those com­ments, Ida­ho’s Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Brad Lit­tle wast­ed no time in seek­ing to cur­ry favor with the Trump fam­i­ly and oth­er Trump enablers by putting out his own state­ment back­ing the suit.

“Gov­er­nor Brad Lit­tle announced today he proud­ly stands with the Ida­ho Repub­li­can Par­ty in sup­port­ing Texas in its efforts to ensure Amer­i­can’s elec­tions meet the high­est stan­dards and expec­ta­tions of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, and he will file an ami­cus brief in sup­port of the law­suit,” his Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Emi­ly Cal­li­han said in a state­ment sent to NPI a few hours ago.

The state­ment quot­ed Lit­tle as saying:

“Ida­ho’s elec­tions are safe and secure, and we expect the same of oth­er states. Pro­tect­ing the sanc­ti­ty of the vot­ing process is para­mount to ensur­ing a strong demo­c­ra­t­ic process, and our cit­i­zens need the con­fi­dence that their vote counts.”

What love­ly platitudes.

What’s fun­ny is that could eas­i­ly be a state­ment in oppo­si­tion to Texas’ law­suit, which is whol­ly and entire­ly with­out any mer­it whatsoever.

Also back­ing Pax­ton’s sin­is­ter action are more than a hun­dred Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress, includ­ing Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers and Dan New­house, whose loy­al­ty is clear­ly to Don­ald Trump and not the Unit­ed States Constitution.

The Unit­ed States Supreme Court must not dig­ni­fy this attack on our democ­ra­cy with any fur­ther pro­ceed­ings. Texas’ attempt to throw the elec­tion should be dis­missed with the curt order that it deserves.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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