The Supreme Court’s Refusal to Hear the Suit Brought by the State of Texas

January 3, 2021 Updated: January 3, 2021

The State of Texas alleges that several states violated election laws duly enacted by their state legislatures, as required by the U.S. Constitution, and that these violations “cast a dark shadow of doubt over the outcome of the entire election.” The suit alleges that “Trust in the integrity of our election processes is sacrosanct and binds our citizenry and the States in this Union together,” and that “By ignoring both state and federal law, these states have not only tainted the integrity of their own citizens’ vote but of Texas and every other state that held lawful elections.”

In refusing to hear the Texas suit, the Court held that “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.” Simply stated, the Court’s ruling means that no state is injured by another state’s violation of constitutional requirements for the selection of presidential electors. The justices needed to go no further than their own oaths of office to realize that they were bound to hear the Texas suit.

Justices of the Supreme Court swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” The U.S. Constitution was created and ratified by the states. Each of the original 13 states ceded part of its newly won sovereignty to create a federal government. It was this process of agreement and ratification that bound the states and their citizens together. Is the Court really holding those blatant violations of constitutional provisions for the selection of presidential electors do not injure other states and their citizens? The Court’s holding amounts to a strained shirking of its original jurisdiction over disputes between the states and its duty to protect and defend the constitution.

The Constitution specifically requires state legislatures to decide how to choose presidential electors. To hold that a state, and its citizens, are not injured by violations of constitutional provisions affecting the selection of presidential electors is the height of legal sophistry—and a violation of the judicial oath. Certainly, the solemn obligation “to protect and defend the Constitution” takes precedence over a strained application of the legal notion of standing to sue.

David Cotellesse