HOUSTON — The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden's election victory, ending a desperate attempt to get legal issues rejected by state and federal judges before the nation's highest court.
The court's order was its second this week rebuffing Republican requests that it get involved in the 2020 election outcome. The justices turned away an appeal from Pennsylvania Republicans on Tuesday.
The Electoral College meets Monday to formally elect Biden as the next president.
Trump had called the lawsuit filed by Texas against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin "the big one" that would end with the Supreme Court undoing Biden's substantial Electoral College majority and allowing Trump to serve another four years in the White House.
In a brief order, the court said Texas does not have the legal right to sue those states because it "has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections."
Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who have said previously the court does not have the authority to turn away lawsuits between states, said they would have heard Texas' complaint. But they would not have done as Texas wanted pending resolution of the lawsuit, and set aside those four states' 62 electoral votes for Biden.
Three Trump appointees sit on the high court. In his push to get the most recent of his nominees, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed quickly, Trump said she would be needed for any post-election lawsuits. Barrett appears to have participated in both cases this week. None of the Trump appointees noted a dissent in either case.
In defeat, the head of the Republican Party of Texas seemed to call for the state to secede from the U.S.
"Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution," said Chairman Allen West.
Eighteen other states won by Trump in last month's election, including Utah, 126 GOP members of Congress and Trump himself joined Texas in calling on the justices to take up the case that sought to stop electors from casting their votes for Biden.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes threw the state's support behind the Texas lawsuit, angering many politicians, including Republican Gov. Gary Herbert and Gov.-elect Spencer Cox.
Angry residents who opposed Reyes' actions started a petition to impeach the attorney general and had already gathered over 10,000 signatures.
Following the Supreme Court's dismissal, one local official condemned the moves made by Reyes and his colleagues.
"If history has a memory and the privilege of judgment then it will have the harshest judgment for these Attorneys General and their attempt to nullify more than 10 million American voters," Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill tweeted. "History will remember them as the lap dogs of shameless power grabbing growling at the ghosts of their self induced delusions."
If history has a memory and the privilege of judgment then it will have the harshest judgment for these Attorneys General and their attempt to nullify more than 10 million American voters.
The efforts of 16 Atty Gen denied by the US Supreme Court.
— Sim Gill (@SimGillDA) December 12, 2020
Reyes released a statement following the decision:
"While I am disappointed that the Supreme Court declined to hear the Texas v. Pennsylvania case, I respect its decision.
"As I said when we joined Texas, this case is not about a single candidate or election. This case was always about who has authority over the election process, how that exercise of authority impacted the current election and how it will affect future elections.
"These important questions are not going away and will no doubt come up again. It’s unfortunate we still lack clarity on critical and national constitutional questions that will remain unanswered.
"Our office participated in this case with transparency, communicating directly with the governor’s staff prior to joining. Because Texas and Missouri drafted the brief language, Utah was not required to spend any time writing. My Solicitor General and I reviewed the briefs before filing. Any notion that we expended a large amount of tax payer dollars is inaccurate and highly misleading.
"We exercised the independent authority of my office to seek clarity and finality to critical constitutional questions. Utah and America deserved answers that would give more confidence in the process.
"I look forward to working with the new administration on common causes and continuing to vigorously defend the interests and rights of the People of the State of Utah."
The four states sued by Texas had urged the court to reject the case as meritless. They were backed by another 22 states and the District of Columbia.