In a result widely predicted by just about anyone other than deeply invested Trump supporters, the U.S. Supreme Court briskly dismissed Texas attorney general Ken Paxton’s petition to halt certification of Joe Biden’s election by throwing out the results from four battleground states. The case had attracted the support of 17 Republican attorneys general and more than half the House GOP. Since this was not a regular case with oral arguments on the merits, the Court issued a ruling without an opinion, though clearly seven of the nine justices agreed.
Justice Samuel Alito issued a “statement” (joined by Justice Clarence Thomas) that he didn’t believe the Court could refuse even to give Paxton and company a hearing, since as a suit by one state against others, it’s a matter within the Court’s original jurisdiction, i.e., not an appeal from a lower court. But Alito carefully indicated a hearing was all he would agree to: “I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief, and I express no view on any other issue.”
I am sure it will be noted in the White House that the seven justices voting to drop-kick the Paxton petition included all three Trump nominees: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. I’m sure Trump will be particularly bitter about Barrett, since he had publicly commented that he wanted her on the Court to help him in case of a contested election.
The Court had its regular weekly conference earlier today, in which this order was probably discussed and agreed upon. It would normally wait until Monday morning to release such an order, but the stakes involved and the ever-escalating campaign to get Republican politicians to back Paxton’s petition probably led the justices to move quickly.
This action marked the likely end of the road for Trump’s legal team in challenging the 2020 results, and a penultimate step toward Biden’s formal designation as president-elect. On Monday the Electoral College will vote to make Biden the 46th president, and a last-gasp effort in January by Trump supporters in Congress to refuse to acknowledge the electoral vote count is certain to fail.
Saturday, leaders of the Christian Right are rallying believers at state capitols and in Washington to demand Trump’s reelection in a “Jericho March” invoking a divine miracle to stop Biden’s election. It’s increasingly clear that a miracle is what it would take.
But some of Trump’s backers are apparently willing to consider more extreme measures:
That didn’t work out so well 160 years ago.