4 GOP congressmen, 15 reps. back Texas lawsuit attempting to throw election to Trump 

Michigan files response, calls case ‘meritless’

By: - December 10, 2020 4:38 pm

A sign calling for the removal of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from protestors of the Virginia gun rally. | Ryan M. Kelly, for the Virginia Mercury

Updated, 7:29 p.m. with reporting from Washington

Most of Michigan’s GOP delegation in Congress and 15 Republican members of the state House have signed onto a longshot Texas lawsuit that seeks to overturn election results in states including Michigan.

Michigan U.S. Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton), Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet), Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) and John Moolenaar (R-Midland) all signed onto a legal brief Thursday in support of the lawsuit, which was brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday.

As the Advance previously reported, those four congressmen also refused to answer a Washington Post survey on who won the presidential election. There are a total of 106 Republican members of Congress who signed on — more than half of the 196-member caucus.

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) tweeted that “President Trump called me this morning to let me know how much he appreciates the amicus brief we are filing on behalf of Members of Congress. Indeed, ‘this is the big one!’”

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The brief reads: “This brief amicus curiae presents the concern of amici as Members of Congress, shared by untold millions of their constituents, that the unconstitutional irregularities involved in the 2020 presidential election cast doubt upon its outcome and the integrity of the American system of elections.”

The FBI, Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr have found no evidence of voter fraud or voter irregularities.

State Reps. Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair Twp.), John Reilly (R-Oakland), Julie Alexander (R-Hanover), Matt Maddock (R-Milford), Daire Rendon (R-Lake City), Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.), Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton), Brad Paquette (R-Niles), Rodney Wakeman (R-Saginaw Twp.), Greg Markkanen (R-Hancock), Jack O’Malley (R-Lake Ann), Joe Bellino (R-Monroe), Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Luke Meerman (R-Coopersville) also signaled their support as plaintiff-interveners in the case.

The motion for intervention argues that “the state legislatures of Defendant States have completely abdicated their Article II role of appointing Presidential electors by delegating this responsibility of postelection certification of Presidential electors to state executive branch officials and judges.”

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However, as the Advance has previously reported, the Legislature does not have a role in choosing electors, per Michigan election law. 

All 15 GOP state lawmakers also signed onto a letter Wednesday that asked for a “complete forensic assessment” of results in Michigan’s “most contested counties,” as Republicans continue to sow doubt over election integrity without evidence.

Paxton — a Republican who is under indictment for felony securities fraud — is requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia, based on unfounded conspiracy theories about widespread election fraud and other misinformation first espoused by President Donald Trump. Paxton filed his suit with the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week, asking for a delay in the electoral college vote scheduled for Monday 

Seventeen other GOP-controlled states also support Paxton’s lawsuit, as well as Trump.

Notably, Walberg, Bergman and Huizenga — as well as Eisen, Reilly, Alexander, Maddock, Rrendon, Griffin, Wozniak, Hoitenga, Paquette, Wakeman, Markkanen, O’Malley — could be arguing to throw out their own victories if the suit were to prevail, as all lawmakers won reelection last month.

Michigan filed a legal response to the lawsuit Thursday afternoon, calling the challenge “an unprecedented one, without factual foundation or a valid legal basis.”

In the filing, Michigan argues: “The base of Texas’s claims rests on an assertion that Michigan has violated its own election laws. Not true. That claim has been repeatedly rejected in the federal and state courts in Michigan, and just yesterday the Michigan Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch effort to request an audit. Not only is the complaint here meritless, but its jurisdictional flaws abound and provide solid ground to dispose of this action.”

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Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said in a statement that “Trump and his ambassadors – like the Texas Attorney General – have used our court system to wage a disinformation campaign baselessly attacking the integrity of our election system. In addition to just spreading falsehoods on social media platforms, through media channels, and from seats positioned before our state legislatures, they’ve now done so at our country’s highest court. 

“I am confident the Supreme Court will reject Texas’ bid to disenfranchise millions of Michigan voters and I am proud to represent the people of my state in defense of the very essence of our core democratic values. Michigan voters will decide the outcome of their elections, not Texas politicians. ”  

More than 20 attorneys general also filed a brief opposing the Texas lawsuit. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro responded in his brief that the suit was “an affront to principles of constitutional democracy.”

“What Texas is doing in this proceeding is to ask this Court to reconsider a mass of baseless claims about problems with the election that have already been considered, and rejected, by this Court and other courts,” he wrote.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, (R-Texas), told reporters on Capitol Hill that he didn’t understand the legal theory of the Texas lawsuit and said he wouldn’t want Texas to have jurisdiction over another state and vice versa.

“I don’t want other states to have a chance to change Texas law, based on a similar effort,” he said, according to pool reports. “We have a federal system where the states are sovereign.”

Advance DC Bureau reporter Ariana Figueroa contributed reporting.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).

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