Welcome to the Reuters.com BETA. Read our Editor's note on how we're helping professionals make smart decisions.
Skip to main content

United States

U.S. Supreme Court swiftly ends Trump-backed Texas bid to upend election results

5 minute read

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected a long-shot lawsuit by Texas and backed by President Donald Trump seeking to throw out voting results in four states, dealing him a crushing setback in his quest to undo his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

The justices in a brief order said Texas did not have legal standing to bring the case against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Together with a case from Pennsylvania it was the second time this week that the conservative-majority court spurned the attempt to overturn the will of voters.

The Texas case was filed on Tuesday by the Republican attorney general of the state, a Trump ally. The Republican president on Wednesday filed a motion to intervene and become a plaintiff.

The Supreme Court's 6-3 conservative majority includes three justices appointed by Trump and none of them commented in the unsigned order. Before the Nov. 3 election, Trump said he expected its outcome to be decided by the Supreme Court and he cited that as a reason for the Republican-controlled Senate to quickly confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett, one of his appointees, before the election.

"Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections," the court's order said.

Two of the court's conservatives, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, said they would have allowed Texas to sue but would not have blocked the four states from finalizing their election results.

There was no immediate response from the White House or the Trump campaign. A Biden spokesman said it was "no surprise" the high court rejected "baseless attempts" to deny Trump lost the election.

"Our nation’s highest court saw through this seditious abuse of our electoral process," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said on Twitter.

Dana Nessel, Michigan's attorney general, also a Democrat, said in a statement that the ruling was "an important reminder that we are a nation of laws, and though some may bend to the desire of a single individual, the courts will not."

1/2

U.S. President Donald Trump carries an umbrella while boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

NO LEGAL GROUNDS

The four states in a filing with the court on Thursday asked the justices to reject the lawsuit, which they said had no factual or legal grounds.

Trump's campaign and his allies already had lost in numerous lawsuits in state and federal courts challenging the election results. Trump has falsely claimed he won and has made baseless allegations of widespread voting fraud and a system "rigged" against him.

State election officials have said they have found no evidence of fraud. Lawyers for Trump and his allies have failed to present evidence in court of the type of fraud he has alleged.

Texas had asked the justices to throw out results in the four states. Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, won all four. Trump had won them in the 2016 election.

"It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court decided not to take this case and determine the constitutionality of these four states’ failure to follow federal and state election law," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

Trump and many of his fellow Republicans have made unfounded claims that the expansion of mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic led to Biden fraudulently winning in election battleground states.

Democrats and other critics have accused Trump of seeking to shatter public belief in the integrity of U.S. elections and sabotage American democracy by trying to subvert the will of the voters.

Trump advisers in and out of the White House have long been resigned to Trump's defeat despite the president's quixotic quest to overturn the results. Trump has refused to concede the election and advisers expect him to continue to do so.

The Texas lawsuit argued that changes made by the four states to voting procedures amid the 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, which is scheduled to formally confirm the winner on Monday. read more

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; editing by Will Dunham and Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

More from Reuters