Four Washington-area congressmen sign amicus brief seeking to delay electoral college vote

The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit late Friday filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton which sought to delay the Electoral College from voting for President-Elect Joe Biden. A majority of Republican U.S. House of Representative members had signed on to an amicus brief supporting the suit.



As of Friday afternoon, four Republican congressman in Virginia and Maryland signed on to the brief including: Reps. Ben Cline, H. Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman of Virginia and Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland. Rep. Denver Riggleman (Va.), who is not running for re-election, was the only Republican in the Washington, D.C., region who did not sign the brief. Riggleman has has criticized colleagues for supporting Trump’s denial of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

What the amicus brief argued

The attorneys for the amici curiae write that in the months before the 2020 election, the rules by which certain states appoint presidential electors were “deliberately changed by both state and non-state actors.” As a result, the brief argued, the authority of those state legislatures to determine the rules for appointing electors was usurped.

In the amicus brief, the plaintiff’s argument is summarized and broken down into five tenets: 

1:  The U.S. constitution gives plenary authority to state legislatures to determine the manner of appointing presidential electors.

2. The usurpation of legislative power in Georgia produced unconstitutional ballots. Georgia’s Republican Attorney General Christopher M. Carr filed a brief which states: “Contrary to Texas’s argument, Georgia has exercised its powers under the Electors Clause. Georgia’s legislature enacted laws governing elections and election disputes, and the State and its officers have implemented and followed those laws.”

3:  The usurpation of legislative power in Pennsylvania produced unconstitutional ballots. Pennsylvania officials filed a response to the complaint on Thursday which says Texas’ attempt to “anoint” its preferred presidential candidate is “legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy.”

4. The usurpation of legislative power in Michigan produced unconstitutional ballots. Michigan’s response: Michigan officials blasted the suit in its response saying: “Consistent with Michigan law, the State of Michigan has certified its presidential vote and the election in Michigan is over. The challenge here is an unprecedented one, without factual foundation or a valid legal basis.”

5. The usurpation of legislative power in Wisconsin produced unconstitutional ballots. Wisconsin officials called the lawsuit “flat out wrong” and “devoid of a legal foundation and a factual basis.” The brief points that “Texas proposes an extraordinary intrusion into Wisconsin’s and the other defendant States’ elections, a task that the Constitution leaves to each State.” 

The Dec. 14 deadline for the Electoral College electors to cast ballots in the four states remains in place.