In a major late-night development, Texas filed a lawsuit against four states. The lawsuit alleges Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia violated the US Constitution during the 2020 Presidential election.
Filed in the US Supreme Court, the suit has two components that involve the rules set by the Constitution.
Before we get to what was violated, let’s take a look at if the Supreme Court can/should get involved…
According to Article III in the Constitution, “The judicial Power shall extend to all cases in Law and Equity, arising under the Constitution.” Most importantly, in the case of the filed lawsuit, this extension of “Power” includes “Controversies between two or more states.”
Article III, Section 2 US Constitution:
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;–between a State and Citizens of another State;–between Citizens of different States;–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
The lawsuit filed by Texas formally recognizes a controversy between States, putting the issue dead-center within the jurisdiction of the US Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court must first agree to take the case, which it is perfectly within the Supreme Court’s ability to decide not to.
Texas Is Filing A Lawsuit For Two Alleged Violations Of US Constitution
Violation I – The Electors Clause
The sudden rule-changes to how elections were to be carried out were not approved through State Legislatures. Article II of the Constitution states the electors in each state must be appointed “in such a Manner as the Legislate thereof may direct.”
Article II, Section I:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
Examples of how states could have violated these rules are:
Pennsylvania: The PA Supreme Court, contrary to the law passed by PA legislature, allegedly allowed for mail-in ballots to be received three days following the election deadline.
Georgia: GA Secretary of State single-handedly (allegedly) modified signature-verification rules, which are articulated by the laws of Georgia.
Violation II – The 14th Amendment
When individual counties and various localities allegedly began to treat citizens differently and/or denying their rights (like observing the poll workers), they could have violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. It is important to remember Bush v. Gore case, where the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for one Florida-county to treat ballots differently than all others in the state. You can read the court’s opinion here.
14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Examples of how states could have violated this clause are:
Wayne County, Michigan: Allegedly, poll watchers were denied access to vote-counting, as other counties followed Michigan law and allowed poll watchers access.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Allegedly, the Administrator of the City of Milwaukee Elections Commission told workers to handwrite witness-addresses on mail-in ballot envelopes. This practice was not conducted elsewhere in the state. This means mail-in ballots without witness addresses on the envelopes were not considered valid.
The Texas lawsuit does not require detailed evidence of widespread fraud. It is simply asking the Supreme Court to get involved in very clear and irrefutable instances where the Constitution may have been violated in four states. It is a question of law.
Opinion Of Why Texas Is Getting Involved…
Yes, there could be political motivations for this lawsuit. But, apart from that, there is a very real idea of every state being treated fairly during a national election. If these states did violate the Constitution, and other states did not, the states that did not follow the rules diminishes every other state’s voice.
When one state does not play fair, it effectively cheats other states. Texas is questioning the Constitutionality of some actions within four states. These actions could have swayed the outcomes within each of these states, and ultimately the election. If this is true, the Constitution may have not been upheld. Texas just wants to make sure everyone plays by the same rules and make sure Americans were treated fairly.