Saturday, December 2, 2023

Election frivolity ends at the Supreme Court


The Supreme Court of the United States on Friday rejected a motion, filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas and joined by more than a dozen states and more than a hundred members of Congress, to throw out votes from Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

A bridge over the Chesapeake Bay (iStockPhoto)

The unsigned order said Texas didn’t have standing, based on Article III of the Constitution of the United States, to file the complaint in the first place, which charged the battleground states with improperly conducting the election:

“The state of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution,” the order of the Supreme Court said.

In other words, the very filing of the motion indicates, according to the US Supreme Court, that those who filed the suit or joined it willingly and openly, on the record of this honorable court, have demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution they have sworn to protect.

Such a minimal understanding of the very document that governs this nation reflects badly on the state of civics education in the US. I have on these pages made no attempt to obscure the eroded state of civics understanding in the US, and this lawsuit is simply further evidence of the need to step up efforts to improve that education for the next generation.

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented on a technical point but expressed no opinion on the merits of the case:

In my view, we do not have discretion to deny the filing of a bill of complaint in a case that falls within our original jurisdiction,” Justice Alito wrote. “I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint …”

But ultimately, the failure of Texas to demonstrate or prove, in their brief, “a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections” meant that the Supreme Court would not hear the case at all.

This has been the basic flow of other court cases that have sought to overturn the results of an election: No proof, no case.

So, in one sense, anybody can file a complaint against anybody else. In this case, it was one state filing a complaint about the way other states ran their elections. But in order to have “standing,” the person who’s doing the suing must be able to demonstrate that the actions of the other party caused some harm.

An example would be if Maryland sues Pennsylvania because the people of Maryland honestly believe that Pennsylvania is failing to control water pollution and that polluted water was making its way into Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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