Ken Paxton sues other states to overturn their election results

It’s as stupid and pernicious as it sounds.

Best mugshot ever

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing four battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — whose election results handed the White House to President-elect Joe Biden.

In the suit, he claims that pandemic-era changes to election procedures in those states violated federal law, and asks the U.S. Supreme Court to block the states from voting in the Electoral College.

The last-minute bid, which legal experts have already characterized as a longshot, comes alongside dozens of similar attempts by President Donald Trump and his political allies. The majority of those lawsuits have already failed.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, officials in most states and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr have said. Biden won in all four states where Paxton is challenging the results.

In a filing to the high court Tuesday, Paxton claims the four battleground states broke the law by instituting pandemic-related changes to election policies, whether “through executive fiat or friendly lawsuits, thereby weakening ballot integrity.”

Paxton claimed that these changes allowed for voter fraud to occur — a conclusion experts and election officials have rejected — and said the court should push back a Dec. 14 deadline by which states must appoint their presidential electors.

“That deadline, however, should not cement a potentially illegitimate election result in the middle of this storm,” attorneys for Texas wrote.


Notably, Paxton himself is listed as the agency’s lead attorney on the case — a highly unusual role for the state official, who rarely plays a hands-on role even in the state’s major cases. Paxton’s new chief deputy, Brent Webster, signed onto the filing, but conspicuously absent is the agency’s top lawyer for appellate work, Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins, who typically argues the state’s cases before the Supreme Court and did so as recently as last month. None of Hawkins’ deputies is listed as contributing to the case, nor are any of the agency’s hundreds of other attorneys.

The agency instead appears to have hired an outside attorney, Lawrence Joseph, to contribute to the case.

The agency did not answer questions about its staffing choices for the lawsuit, nor did Hawkins himself.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a former Texas attorney general, signaled support for the lawsuit, telling a reporter the case “tries to accelerate the process, providing certainty and clarity about the entire election process. The United States of America needs that.”

We’ll discuss motives in a minute, but first, a few tweets.

You should also read this thread from Steve Vladeck, and this post from Rick Hasen, in which he calls this “a press release masquerading as a lawsuit” and “utter garbage”. And now you know all you need to know about the legal merits of this case, which by the way was filed on the legal deadline for states to certify the Presidential election.

Now then. Why would multiply-accused felon Ken Paxton do this? Two obvious reasons:

1. It’s a signal to George P. Bush and any other potential primary challengers that no one is going to out-wingnut him in 2022. We are at “drinking hemlock to own the libs” levels of depravity here. Maybe Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins will speak up and contradict the speculation about why Paxton was on his own for this, but the fact that Paxton did this on his own is surely a message to any wannabe kingslayers.

2. It’s also a message to Donald Trump, and that message is “PARDON ME! PAAAAAAAARDON MEEEEEEEEE!” Why fight an FBI investigation if you can be pre-emptively declared not guilty of any crimes you may have committed?

My guess is that Greg Abbott’s “well, we should just let the process play out” numbskullery is also an attempt to placate the seething hordes that now think he’s a liberal squish crossed with Joseph Stalin. I doubt it will work, but this is where Abbott is these days.

Anyway. On the one hand, we have already wasted too many brain cells on this. On the other, we should never forget that the official stance of way too many Republican officials is that they cannot lose elections and will do anything at all to prevent that from happening, law and decency and democracy be damned. I can only imagine the freakout they will have when Dems finally break through at the state level. For more reading than you should have time for, see the Chron, TPM, Daily Kos, Mother Jones, Reform Austin, and the Press.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Election 2020, Legal matters, The making of the President and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Ken Paxton sues other states to overturn their election results

  1. David Fagan says:

    This looks like a precursor to a conspiracy ‘documentary’ to be aired in the near future. Maybe 6 months I’m trying to predict? The other side would be a nice mockumentary. All sides would watch both, I think, and certain people would make $$$, namely Trump and streaming services. I don’t think Trump is even looking at staying president, just making something to talk about later as a celebrity politician.

    Book deal
    T shirts
    YouTube channel

    It’s a win win for him, as it was in the beginning even if Hillary had defeated him.

  2. mollusk says:

    Oh, for the good ol’ days of the Rs whipping themselves into a froth condemning frivolous lawsuits…

  3. Manny says:

    Looking for a pardon, before Biden takes over.

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    This is an unprecedented and fascinating lawsuit. It will be interesting to see whether or proceeds or is thrown out. From what I understand, he is suing on behalf of the Texas voters, because other states have violated their equal protection. Pennsylvania, for example, made a rule change to allow mail in ballots received after Election Day. This change was made midstream, without legislative action, but was upheld by the state supreme court. The other states are asking the US Supreme Court to over turn the state court. Basically he’s arguing that the other states were disfavoring Texas voters by not following the Constitution, and not following their state election laws. It is probably a long shot, but very curious to see how it will turn out.

  5. mollusk says:

    It is up to the various state courts to determine whether their own particular election laws were followed. I’m not enough of a Federal Rules geek to know the answer with regard to original actions in the Supreme Court between states, but in some fora this suit could be considered frivolous to the point of being sanctionable – not just on the party but the lawyer as well.

    A desire to be able to show his face before the Supreme Court ever again is a likely reason the solicitor general didn’t sign off on it.

  6. Jason Hochman says:

    mollusk, you are correct. The PA supreme court ruled on its case. I think that he’s now going to the US Supreme Court because he alleges that it violates the US Constitution for the states to make these changes without following their own state laws, thus denying equal protection to voters in the other states in a national election. It is very unique, probably a long shot, wouldn’t over turn the election. It is interesting to see how this goes. Perhaps it is a waste of the state tax dollars, though.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    17 other states have joined Texas in suing. That’s 18 states that feel their voters were disenfranchised by the Dominion cheating states.

    This isn’t just some wacko Texas AG trying to put on a show, this thing has legs.

  8. C.L. says:

    “Perhaps” it’s a waste of Texas tax dollars ?

  9. Bill Daniels says:


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you a proponent of the Ike Dike? You’re willing to spend a bunch of money to save Houston from a future horrible disaster, right? This is Texas and other states, trying to save the COUNTRY from a man made disaster…..a Chyna Biden presidency.

    I mean, look at how much Texas would suffer just with the oil and gas industry being kneecapped by a potential Biden presidency? Spending money to prevent that is money well spent. YMMV

  10. Souperman says:

    Disclaimer that I am not a lawyer, but I don’t see any possible way that Texas has standing for what goes on in another state’s borders under their laws, leaving out the minor issue that no fraud has been even remotely proven. This is federalism at its most basic. Also, as has been pointed out elsewhere, other states have modified laws (including Texas); why aren’t we throwing those out, all in the name of “equal protection”?

    And Bill, sorry, but that is a load of horse hockey. Selling out democracy because your guy lost is certainly not money well spent whatsoever. Also, I work in oil and gas, and the Obama years were, on the whole, really nice, so I’m not sure where your fear mongering comes from. The Trump administration has been the worst four years of my career. Pretty sure you were in the crowd that called us “sore losers” when Diebold gave millions to the Ohio governor and SOS, Diebold got the contract, and Kerry lost Ohio in 2004 on no-paper-trail Diebold machines by far less than Trump did in Pennsylvania (and would have won with just Ohio flipping). Nothing was proven there, either, but it was an impropriety and potential conflict of interest (scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours). I haven’t heard of any voting machine company giving a dime to Democrats – certainly not in exchange for a contract in states Democrats don’t control. And notice that Kerry didn’t throw a hissy-fit for a month, throw 5 dozen lawsuits at the wall to see what would stick, and refuse to concede, because democracy is more important than our candidates, something Mr. Trump has yet to figure out.

  11. Pingback: We still have to talk about Paxton’s ridiculous and anti-democratic lawsuit – Off the Kuff

  12. Pingback: The states respond to Paxton – Off the Kuff

Comments are closed.