GOP Politicians and the Presidential Electors Suit
The embattled Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, an elected Republican, recently filed suit in the Supreme Court seeking an injunction against the seating of Democratic presidential electors in four states and a remand to the Republican-controlled state legislatures to name a new slate of presidential electors. Although the suit has no chance of success, relies on highly dubious claims, and seeks an extraordinary remedy that would have the effect of overturning the results of a presidential election, it has attracted a great deal of attention. (Full disclosure: I have joined an amicus brief in opposition to the Texas suit.)
I am not concerned, except tangentially, with the merits of the suit here. What I want to note is the extent to which high-level Republican politicians have gone all in on this suit. Most of the (very unsuccessful) litigation surrounding the presidential election has been brought by the Trump campaign and relied on the services of marginal legal figures. The Texas suit is different. It has, of course, been endorsed by the Trump campaign. But more notably, Republican politicians have felt the need to weigh in on this one as they have not with the other suits. A large number of Republican attorneys general urged the Court to accept the suit. A somewhat smaller number endorsed the merits of the arguments. A majority of the Republican caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives have filed an amicus brief supporting Texas. Meanwhile, Republican senators and other state officials have had to publicly distance themselves from the suit.
We are no longer in the “the president has the right to pursue his legal remedies” phase of the process. We are now in the “the Republican Party is now tying itself to Donald Trump’s quixotic quest to overturn the certified election results” phase. This is a disturbing development and a further sign that the Republican Party will not soon return to its traditional principles but will remain deeply influenced by Trump’s particular populist style of politics.
The Texas suit has become an opportunity for Republican politicians to signal to their voters where they stand. In my book, Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy
Article from Latest – Reason.com