Trump persuaded Louisiana crackpot Mike Johnson-- a former Hate Talk radio host and, since 2017, one of Congress' loudest homophobes, representing the northwest part of the state and now head of the far right Republican Study Committee-- to round up over 100 Republicans in the House to sign onto an amicus brief backing Ken Paxton's absurd complaint to the Supreme Court. Louisiana's 4th congressional district isn't safe from COVID-- it's crawling with it-- but it's safely Republican. The PVI is R+13, the median income is $37,102 and the district is 60% white. In 2016, Hillary only took 36.6% of the vote. The final numbers aren't in yet but it looks like Trump did even better there this year than he did then. In fact, Trump did better in LA-04 than either Bush, McCain or Romney. These are his people. And Johnson is a perfect representative for them. They don't belong in America.
Johnson sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to House Republicans on Wednesday asking them to sign onto a friend of the court brief backing Paxton. In his letter, he wrote that "The simple objective of our brief is to affirm for the court (and our constituents back home) our serious concerns with the integrity of our election system. We are not seeking to independently litigate the particular allegations of fraud in our brief (this is not our place as amici). We will merely state our belief that the broad scope of the various allegations and irregularities in the subject states merits careful, timely review by the Supreme Court."
This is the brief itself. Most of the members are crackpots like Johnson, seditionists like Gym Jordan (OH), Andy Biggs (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Mo Brooks (AL), Steve King (IA), Ken Buck (CO), Jason Smith (MO), Clay Higgins (LA), Gary Palmer (AL), Virginia Foxx (VA), Matt Gaetz (FL)... extremists in super safe gerrymandered districts. Most, but not all. A few of them are in districts where this kind of crackpottery can hurt their careers.
These are congressmembers who signed who represent districts that might not like on this kind of anti-democracy bullshit quite so kindly. Let's remember these names in 2022:
Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)
Dan Bishop (NC-09)
Mike Bost (IL-12)
Ted Budd (NC-13)
Ken Calvert (CA-42)
Buddy Carter (GA-01)
Dan Crenshaw (TX-02)
Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09)
Richard Hudson (NC-08)
Mike Kelly (PA-16)
Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
Debbie Lesko (AZ-08)
Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Scott Perry (PA-10)
Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
Ann Wagner (MO-02)
Tim Walberg (MI-07)
Roger Williams (TX-25)
Lee Zeldin (NY-01)
Chip Roy (R-TX) was a bit of an outlier here, refusing to join the stampede, saying he "cannot support an effort that will almost certainly fail on grounds of standing and is inconsistent with my beliefs about protecting Texas' sovereignty from the meddling of other states. Our remedy must be, from this day forward, to decline to allow the usurpation of our authority as people-- through our states-- to govern ourselves in all respects.
CBS News reported that "in response to the suit, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the efforts from Texas to overturn the election results 'legally indefensible' and 'an afront to principles of constitutional democracy. Texas's effort to get this Court to pick the next President has no basis in law or fact,' he wrote. 'The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.' Shapiro told the court Texas waited to request an injunction to invalidate Pennsylvania's election results 'because all of the other political and litigation machinations of petitioner's preferred presidential candidate have failed. The Trump campaign began with a series of meritless litigations. When that failed, it turned to state legislatures to overturn the clear election results. Upon that failure, Texas now turns to this Court to overturn the election results of more than 10% of the country. Texas literally seeks to decimate the electorate of the United States.'"
Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan also filed their respective responses to the suit and urged the Supreme Court to reject Texas's requests.
"The novel and far-reaching claims that Texas asserts, and the breathtaking remedies it seeks, are impossible to ground in legal principles and unmanageable," Georgia officials wrote in their filing. "This court has never allowed one state to co-opt the legislative authority of another state, and there are no limiting or manageable principles to cabin that kind of overreach."
A group of attorneys general from 17 states filed their own friend-of-the-court brief in support of Texas, while the president filed a motion with the Supreme Court asking the join the case. Six more states-- Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah-- requested Thursday to join Texas in the case, while the state of Ohio told the Supreme Court it does not support Paxton's proposed relief.
Ordering state legislatures to appoint its own electors would violate the Constitution, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, and Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers told the court.
"Federal courts, just like state courts, lack authority to change the legislatively chosen method for appointing presidential electors. And so federal courts, just like state courts, lack authority to order legislatures to appoint electors without regard to the results of an already-completed election," they argued. "What is more, the relief that Texas seeks would undermine a foundational premise of our federalist system: the idea that the states are sovereigns, free to govern themselves."
I just spoke with Nancy Goroff, the Suffolk County Democrat who took on Republican Lee Zeldin this year. A physicist and professor by trade, it was her first run for elective office and Zeldin beat her 205,715 (54.8%) to 169,294 (45.1%). This morning she told me that "It is beyond disappointing that Republicans like Lee Zeldin choose to breed unfounded discontent with our electoral system among their supporters, rather than admitting in public what they know to be true: Joe Biden won the presidential election. Zeldin obviously sees this as politically beneficial. (Donald Trump won our district by 4 points this year, and Zeldin raised lots of money from Trump supporters.) But there is no excuse, political or otherwise, for putting our democracy under threat by supporting Trump's efforts to overturn the will of the voters."