12/10 Texas: Don’t Mess with Voters

Today was a deadline for legal filings in Texas AG Ken Paxton’s “destined-to-fail legal gambit,” an unprecedentedly anti-democratic lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Joe Biden’s wins in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Those four states, backed by 23 other attorneys general, weighed in with scorching responses — with Pennsylvania’s filing calling the suit a “seditious abuse of the judicial process.” The suit is seeing sharp criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, including some of the state AGs like Idaho AG Lawrence Wasden who opted out of supporting Texas’ lawsuit.

Here is your daily update:

National Update

Go Home, Texas: District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine today led a coalition of 23 attorneys general urging the Supreme Court to reject Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request that the Court overturn election results in four key battleground states won by President-elect Biden. Read more here.

Alaska Chimes in: In the Anchorage Daily News,VPP Advisory Board member and former Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth writes that Paxton’s lawsuit is not about election integrity — it seeks to invalidate millions of votes cast in states that helped secure President Donald Trump’s defeat. She also urges the Alaska legislature to ensure that the next person the Governor appoints to serve as Alaska Attorney General “will protect the rule of law, and not join such baseless attacks on our democracy, even if directed to do so by the governor.” Read more here.

The Future of Mail-In Voting Hangs In the Balance: President Trump’s barrage of losses in court cases trying to undermine the election has not stopped Republicans from turning to battles they might be able to win — state legislative attempts to limit or restrict the future use of the vote-by-mail ballots that so infuriated President Trump. Read more here.

State Updates

Michigan: Attorney General Dana Nessel joined MSNBC last night to discuss the Texas lawsuit, with a powerful message about federalism, state sovereignty, and our constitutional order: “You know who voted for you in Michigan, General Paxton? No one. Literally no one. So, stay in your lane, and stick to trying to disenfranchise voters in your own state. Don’t come to mine.” Watch the clip of AG Nessel here.

Pennsylvania: Attorney General Josh Shapiro also joined MSNBC last night, and assured voters that “on January 20, Joe Biden will be our president.” Watch the clip of AG Shaprio here.

Legal Corner

Much of the legal focus today was on Texas v. Pennsylvania, the despicably undemocratic lawsuit filed to disenfranchise swing-state voters for the crime of voting for Joe Biden. Today, the targeted states filed their forceful answers to Texas’ outrageous request.

With the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to hear Texas’s case pending, the lower courts continued to cull the herd of frivolous cases contesting Biden’s win. Today’s developments included:

Kraken Slain: In the wee hours of last night, after yesterday’s Daily Update was put to bed, a Wisconsin federal judge dismissed the final Kraken lawsuit, Feehan v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, 20-1771 (E.D. Wis.).

 U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Pepper picked apart the pathetic petition. (Try saying that five times fast. It’ll take you longer than it took Pepper to dismiss the suit.) Among other problems: Judge Pepper found – like her colleagues in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan, who also rejected Kraken suits – that the plaintiffs couldn’t show that they were injured by the state’s actions. “Federal judges do not appoint the president in this country,” she wrote. “One wonders why the plaintiffs came to federal court and asked a federal judge to do so.”

Last Dance in Wisconsin: Today, Pepper’s colleague on the Wisconsin bench, Judge Brett Ludwig, heard arguments in Trump v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, 20-1785 (E.D. Wis.). The case claims that Wisconsin somehow injured Donald Trump through administrative steps that expanded and protected the right to vote, including accepting ballots at secure drop-boxes. But, as the judge observed, it’s hard to understand why Trump did not challenge those well-publicized rules before the election, rather than waiting until he lost to try and change the rules. The judge took the case under advisement, and is expected to hand down a decision quickly.

Messaging Guidance about TX v. PA

  • Leaders across the country, on both sides of the aisle, are speaking out against this shocking attempt to throw out the votes of millions of Americans.
    • The amicus brief filed today — led by Washington, D.C. and bringing together 23 state attorneys general from across the country — is a strong condemnation of AG Paxton’s baseless lawsuit.

  • AG Paxton’s lawsuit is not only irresponsible — it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars.
    • The American people have spoken, and states have certified their election results. It’s time to move forward as a country.
    • These baseless attempts to undermine the will of the people are a waste of time and taxpayer dollars, and frankly pretty embarrassing.
    • We need our leaders rebuilding our economy, beating this virus, and bringing our country back together.
  • AG Paxton and these 17 state leaders are fighting a losing battle.
    • The American people elected Democrats and Republicans up and down the ballot.
    • This lawsuit consists of nothing more than baseless claims and misinformation.
       
  • The safety and security of the 2020 presidential election has been verified over and over, including by the top Republicans in the country.
    • Trump’s own Attorney General, Bill Barr, confirmed there was no fraud that would have changed the outcome, and former Trump administration top cybersecurity official Chris Krebs called this “the most secure election in American history.”
    • There is no longer any question at all: President-elect Joe Biden is going to be sworn in on January 20.
  • These continued attempts to undermine the most secure election in American history are also dangerous.
    • As a result of these continued efforts to sow chaos and spread misinformation, our election officials are being targeted, threatened, and harassed.
    • We need more leaders to speak out and join the growing number of elected officials who are refusing to accept Trump’s attempt to undermine the will of the people and throw out the votes of hard working Americans.
    • These frivolous lawsuits are a waste of time and taxpayer money and only continue to divide our country.
  • We need to support our election officials, who have done their jobs so well under unprecedented circumstances.
    • Our democracy relies on the state and local officials who administer our elections. Everyone – from both parties – should have their backs.
    • Election officials are unfortunately experiencing threats and harassment from extremists who refuse to accept the election results.
    • Let’s be clear: we deeply value the First Amendment, but there is no constitutional protection for violence or threats of violence. We will prosecute illegal conduct.
    • Threats against election officials are threats to our democracy. They are threats to every citizen’s right to vote. I will not tolerate it.

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