SCOTUS dismisses Texas AG Ken Paxton's bid to overturn election results, is it end of the road for Donald Trump?

While the court voted 7-2 to dismiss the lawsuit, Justice Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said they would have heard the case but nonetheless refused to overturn the results, implying that Donald Trump essentially lost it 0-9


                            SCOTUS dismisses Texas AG Ken Paxton's bid to overturn election results, is it end of the road for Donald Trump?
President Donald Trump and SCOTUS (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and his close aides were elated when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton moved the Supreme Court earlier this week to overturn the November 3 election results in four crucial states that went to Joe Biden but the joy was short-lived as on Friday, December 11, the SCOTUS dismissed the case overwhelmingly. While the court voted 7-2 to dismiss the lawsuit, Justice Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said they would have heard the case but nonetheless refused to overturn the results, implying Trump essentially lost it 0-9. 

The one-page ruling that would deliver a huge blow to the incumbent president’s desperate attempts to seek a legal remedy came around evening. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,” the ruling said, vindicating legal experts who called the case a farce

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (Getty Images)

Trump, who banked heavily on the case in an otherwise disappointing pursuit to achieve his goal, called it “the big one” and posted a series of tweets aimed at pushing the top court to give a verdict in his favor. 



 



 

But his wish fell flat. It was only on Tuesday, December 8, that the SCOTUS scuttled the Republicans’ effort to invalidate up to 2.5 million mail-in ballots in the key state of Pennsylvania to overturn the election results. The justices refused to prevent the state from formalizing the victory of Biden there. 

The latest blow means Trump now has no avenue left to overturn the election he has been repeatedly calling “rigged” even as several lower courts ruled against the efforts of his legal allies. The president himself wanted to intervene in the Texas case. More than 120 GOP House members followed him and 17 states signed a friend of the court brief backing the suit. The four sued states -- Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin -- however, did not stop short of blasting the case as “legally indefensible and an affront to principles of constitutional democracy”. At the end, the Texas lawsuit failed to convince the majority as to how it was justified in having the high court consider its objections to the ways another state decides to run its elections. 

While Trump has hit a major block with the SCOTUS’s latest ruling, he also has little time left now to make a comeback. It is possible for his allies who lost cases in lower courts to move the Supreme Court for appeal but they are unlikely to reach the court until after Monday, December 14, when the Electoral College meets to formalize Biden as the president-elect. 

The Congress meets in a joint session on January 6, a day after the Georgia Senate runoff elections take place, and therein lies another possibility of political fireworks. There are procedures for both the House and Senate voting on any possible challenges to the electors that surface. As per the Electoral Count Act, if a state only sends one set of electoral votes, they will be counted unless both the chambers ‘determine that they were not “regularly given” by “lawfully certified” electors’, according to a blog on Lawfare on how the Congress counts the electoral votes.

SCOTUS Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, all of whom have been picked by President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Even Trump's three SCOTUS picks dump his lawsuit

While Justices Thomas and Alito said the case “falls within our original jurisdiction” -- a reference to the Constitution’s grant of authority to the SCOTUS to hear such cases but their statement that they “would not grant other relief” was seen as a rebuke to the case. The remaining seven judges did not believe that the dispute deserved a hearing. Even Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who Trump picked fast after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg expecting that making the bench conservative-heavy would see him get a favorable hearing over the election disputes, did not accommodate the case. Barrett is Trump’s third pick to the top court after Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, none of whom heard the case either. 

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a Trump critic who has publicly condemned the effort, said: “Every American who cares about the rule of law should take comfort that the Supreme Court — including all three of President Trump’s picks — closed the book on the nonsense.”

The SCOTUS’s stand also dashed any hope the current president had of getting a Bush v. Gore (2000) type of intervention from the top court that had delayed the outcome of the presidential election that year and which eventually went in favor of the Republican incumbent.

Trump, however, seemed to have acknowledged that the road is ending for him as he mentioned: "Biden Administration" in another tweet, saying: "Now that the Biden Administration will be a scandal-plagued mess for years to come, it is much easier for the Supreme Court of the United States to follow the Constitution and do what everybody knows has to be done. They must show great Courage & Wisdom. Save the USA!!!"



 

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