Ohio Argues Against Relief Sought by Texas in Supreme Court Election Case

December 10, 2020 Updated: December 10, 2020

Ohio Republican Attorney General Dave Yost on Dec. 10 filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing against the relief sought by the state of Texas in an election lawsuit against four battleground states.

In a motion to file a brief “in support of neither party,” Yost argued that the court should resolve the fundamental question posed by Texas—whether the Constitution permits state courts and state officials to alter election rules enacted by their respective legislatures.

“The people need an answer, too,” Yost said. “Until they get one, elections will continue to be plagued by doubts regarding whether the President was chosen in the constitutionally prescribed manner.”

The Ohio attorney general said he agrees with the interpretation of the Constitution’s Electors Clause as it is written—specifically, that the power to set election rules rests solely with state legislatures. But, he argued, that interpretation should extend to the Supreme Court, which should not be allowed to grant Texas the relief it seeks.

The Lone Star State asked the court to enjoin the defendant states from appointing electors or, in the case of states that have already done so, to order the states to choose new electors in accordance with the Constitution.

“Texas seeks a ‘remand to the State legislatures to allocate electors in a manner consistent with the Constitution,'” Yost said.

“Such an order would violate, not honor, the Electors Clause. Federal courts, just like state courts, lack authority to change the legislatively chosen method for appointing presidential electors. And so federal courts, just like state courts, lack authority to order legislatures to appoint electors without regard to the results of an already-completed election,” he continued.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton did not return a request for comment.

The states of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah on Dec. 10 asked the Supreme Court to let them join Texas in the election lawsuit.

Texas sued the battleground states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin on Dec. 8, alleging that officials there conducted the 2020 general election in violation of the Constitution. The defendant states illegally altered election laws, causing a flood of mail-in votes without putting appropriate ballot integrity measures in place, Texas alleged. The resulting irregularities put the ultimate outcome of the election in doubt, the lawsuit argues.

“Trust in the integrity of our election processes is sacrosanct and binds our citizenry and the States in this Union together,” Paxton said in a statement. “Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin destroyed that trust and compromised the security and integrity of the 2020 election.”

The six states were part of the group of 18 Republican states that filed amicus briefs in support of Texas a day prior.

Five other Republican attorneys general—from Alaska, Idaho, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Wyoming—have not filed briefs in support of Texas or motions to join the case. The offices of these attorneys general did not respond to a request for comment.

Legacy media outlets declared former Vice President Joe Biden the winner in the four states, but President Donald Trump has not conceded the race and continues to pursue legal challenges in the four defendant states as well as in Arizona and Nevada. The Trump campaign filed a motion to join the Texas case on Dec. 9.

The Supreme Court set a Dec. 10, 3 p.m., deadline for the defendants to file their arguments against the court taking up the case.

The twelve states that also filed briefs in support of Texas are Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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