On Thursday, 15 Republican legislators in Michigan filed a motion in support of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R-Texas) lawsuit challening the 2020 presidential election results in four key swing states, including Michigan. The legislators joined the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society in supporting the Texas lawsuit, which asks the Supreme Court to remand the election results to swing-state legislatures for review and potential reversal.
“The state legislature serves as an ‘insurance policy’ against election officials who abuse or misuse their power,” State Rep. Daire Rendon, one of the legislators who signed on to the brief, said in a statement. “And our election officials failed in their primary duty. They had one job — to follow Michigan election law as it is written, not as they wish it to be — and they failed it.”
In addition to Rendon, the Michigan legislators on the brief include: Julie Alexander, Matt Maddox, Beth Griffin, John Reilly, Gary Elsen, Joe Bellino, Bronna Kahle, Luke Meerman, Doug Wozniak, Michele Hoitenga, Brad Paquette, Greg Markkanen, Jack O’Malley, and Rodney Wakeman.
Seventeen other states have joined Texas in its lawsuit, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. President Donald Trump himself filed a motion to intervene on Wednesday.
The Texas lawsuit accuses swing-state officials of breaking the law in three ways: changing election process in violation of laws duly passed by signed legislatures; giving voters more favorable treatment if they live in heavily Democratic areas; and the relaxation of ballot-integrity protections.
The Amistad Project filing also argues that local election officials in Michigan and other states created a two-tiered election system by accepting private funds from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), which distributed $350 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in order to impact the 2020 election.
Rendon told PJ Media that the filing will support established election law. “By slowing down the process of casting our electoral votes, we can address all the alleged issues of improprieties, irregularities, and illegalities to the satisfaction of the voters and make sure that only legal votes were counted,” she said.
“Just today, I received over 1300 emails asking me to intercede in the certification of the votes cast here in Michigan,” Rendon told PJ Media.
The Michigan Republican also responded to potential concerns that the state legislature choosing electors — rather than the voters — would be seen as a subversion of democracy.
“Most people do not realize that state legislators have plenary power given to them under the Constitution,” Rendon explained. “These powers are bestowed on the state legislators so that they can make the laws that pertain to our election. Election laws in particular are real established laws that must be followed in every township, precinct, city and county.”
“No one, with the exception of the state legislature, has the power to change them or interpret them,” she argued. “Not the secretary of State, nor the governor, nor anyone in the Executive branch. If these laws are not followed uniformly throughout our state polling places, we must identify where our existing laws have been broken and right the process before we can allow the electors to cast their ballots. Our electoral votes must be based on a process that the voters have confidence in.”
Rendon argued that by joining Texas in challenging the election results, she and her colleagues were defending the separation of powers in Michigan. The Constitution gave Michigan legislators “plenary powers” over how states will choose electors to decide the presidency. “By taking this stand, we are preserving our right to use these powers, as needed, for this election and at any future time our election process may be disputed in the future.”
“The voters deserve to have confidence that our election process is not corrupted, that the laws we have in place to protect election integrity will be followed, no matter what precinct you live in,” Rendon argued.
Paxton’s lawsuit asks the Supreme Court to block certification of election results, to direct swing-state legislatures to review the results, and direct the legislatures to award electors based on legal ballots only. Such an order would fall in line with the legislative strategy President Donald Trump’s attorneys Jenna Ellis and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have supported.
On Monday, Ellis outlined the strategy, predicting that state legislatures in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan will independently investigate the election results and flip the electors from Joe Biden to Trump.
Republicans hold an edge over Democrats in each of the states mentioned. Ellis mentioned Arizona (11 electoral votes), where Republicans control the House (31 seats to 29 seats) and the Senate (17 seats to 13 seats). Both Ellis and Paxton noted Georgia (16 electoral votes), where Republicans control the House (103 seats to 75 seats) and the Senate (35 seats to 21 seats); Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), where Republicans control the House (113 seats to 90 seats) and the Senate (28 seats to 21 seats); and Michigan (16 electoral votes), where Republicans control the House (58 seats to 52 seats) and the Senate (22 seats to 16 seats). Paxton mentioned Wisconsin (10 electoral votes), where Republicans control the State Assembly (63 seats to 35 seats) and the Senate (19 seats to 14 seats).
If the legislatures in states Jenna Ellis named flip for Trump, that would represent 63 electoral votes, flipping the election from 306 electoral votes for Biden and 232 for Trump to 295 electoral votes for Trump and 243 for Biden. If the legislatures in states Paxton named flip for Trump, that would represent 62 electoral votes, flipping the election from 306 electoral votes for Biden and 232 for Trump to 294 electoral votes for Trump and 244 for Biden.
Heritage Foundation election expert Hans von Spakovsky noted the strength of Texas’ claims, but he warned that the Supreme Court “may be extremely leery and disinclined” to take up the “unprecedented lawsuit.”
“Texas does a good job of describing what happened in each state and why the actions of government officials making unauthorized, unilateral changes in the rules may have violated the Constitution and affected the outcome of the election,” von Spakovsky notes. “But by almost any measure, this is the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary pass. While the questions raised are serious ones, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will address them at this time.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.