Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican under indictment for securities fraud, has filed a lawsuit attempting to halt the electoral college from fulfilling its lawful duty. He is joined in the suit by officials representing seventeen other states.
The suit asks the Supreme Court to stop electors from meeting on the date prescribed by Congress. The move would directly violate federal law and the U.S. Constitution.
Federal law requires the electoral college to meet on December 14th to cast the official vote for president. This date is constitutionally unchangeable by courts. Electors of every state must vote in person on that single date, as laid out in the U.S. Code.
Federal law also requires states to certify the presidential election results by December 8th, which has already occurred.
Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution grants only one branch the power to set these dates: Congress.
Courts, state governments, individuals, and presidents are left out of the question.
Paxton’s lawsuit alleges the Constitution is under attack. At the same time, it asks the Court to usurp the power of Congress and halt the electoral college, in the interest of helping Donald Trump. Notably, the suit targets only battleground states, without inquiry into any states in the Trump column.
The suit insinuates that Democrats interfered with the election through mysterious ballot drop boxes of unknown ownership in a single Georgia county. Yet this behavior was exhibited by Republicans, who set up illegal drop boxes in California. The suit also ignores Trump’s repeated instructions to his supporters to vote twice: by mail and in person.
Notwithstanding those issues, the Supreme Court cannot intervene now that the results are certified by the states, and it cannot reschedule the meeting of the electoral college. But these facts have not stopped Republicans from seeking to please Trump in his bid to undermine public trust in their own votes.
Trump is the only president in U.S. history to refuse the election results. On December 9th, he posted a tweet with one word: “#OVERTURN.”