By: Angel Liang — Correspondent
The Republican Party has high hopes for President Trump’s lawsuits, as they bank on the conservative majority of the Supreme Court to potentially “overturn” the election. Recently, the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, has sued key battleground states for violations of federal law.
Many Trump supporters point to the case of Bush v. Gore, a Supreme Court decision which decided the election of 2000. Former President Bush had a tight lead of only a couple hundred votes in the state of Florida and a recounting dispute sent the issue to the highest court in the land. Sharon High Government Teacher Mr. Sean O’Reilly says that “at the time George Bush was in the lead by over 400 votes and this essentially delivered the Presidency to him.”
Many Trump supporters use this case to show how the Supreme Court may have an impact on an election’s outcome. However, there are many differences in these two cases. Matthew Walther from The Week states that “in December 2000 the plaintiff who prevailed was the apparent winner of the election. With its ruling in favor of President Bush, the high court was not overturning what appeared to be the result but confirming it.” Bush v. Gore was a decision by the Supreme Court to stop Florida’s recounts, whereas in the 2020 election race, the recounts have already happened and still declared President-elect Biden as the winner.
Another reason as to why these two cases are different is the margin of victory. USA Today points out that during the Bush v. Gore presidential race, President Bush barely won Florida by 537 votes, whereas “in 2020, President-elect Joe Biden is ahead by thousands of votes in five battleground states where President Donald Trump’s team is pursuing legal action to challenge the results. The closest state, Georgia, which will hold a recount, has Biden ahead by more than 12,000 votes as of Nov. 10.” The Georgia recount in November recounted 5 million Georgian votes, reaffirming President-elect Biden’s win.
At the end of the day, legal experts affirm that the Bush v. Gore’s decision is nothing like the 2020 election and it is highly unlikely that President Trump will gain a second term.
That being said, with an influx of voters choosing to vote by mail, Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has taken claims of election fraud to the court, hoping for affirmation by the conservative majority Supreme Court. On his official website, the attorney general argues that “The four states (Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to justify ignoring federal and state election laws and unlawfully enacting last-minute changes, thus skewing the results of the 2020 General Election. The battleground states flooded their people with unlawful ballot applications and ballots while ignoring statutory requirements as to how they were received, evaluated and counted.”
The four state attorney generals, 3 Democrat, and 1 Republican, have all publicly criticized Paxton for his “affront to democracy and the rule of law.” A brief for Pennsylvania specified that “Texas invites this court to overthrow the votes of the American people and choose the next president of the United States. That Faustian invitation must be firmly rejected.” Georgia’s attorney general wrote, “Georgia did what the Constitution empowered it to do: it implemented processes for the election, administered the election in the face of logistical challenges brought on by Covid-19, and confirmed and certified the election results — again and again and again. Yet Texas has sued Georgia anyway.”
Wisconsin also offered a rebuke of the effort. “Texas proposes an extraordinary intrusion into Wisconsin’s and the other defendant states’ elections, a task that the Constitution leaves to each state.” The brief adds that “Wisconsin has conducted its election and its voters have chosen a winning candidate for their state. Texas’s bid to nullify that choice is devoid of a legal foundation or a factual basis.”
On December 12, 2020, the Supreme Court threw out the Texas lawsuit. Politico reports that “The high court dismissed the suit in a brief order saying Texas had not demonstrated a ‘judicially cognizable interest’ in how other states conducted their elections,” with even some Senate Republicans publicly criticizing the failed attempt to throw out ballots.
Republican Dave Yost, Ohio’s attorney general, urged the Supreme Court “to accept the case to rule on the Constitution’s Electors Clause,” a case that will decide whether or not one state can control another state’s elections.
image from texastribune.org