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Supreme Court Dismisses Texas Lawsuit Aiming To Overturn Election Results


The U.S. Supreme Court last night rejected a lawsuit that tried yet again to overturn the election results. This one was brought by Texas and 17 other Republican-run states alleging election fraud in four states won by Joe Biden. It was another reverse to Republican attempts to change what happened, which, to be clear, is that Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes to Donald Trump's 232. President-elect Biden also won the popular vote by more than seven million. We're joined now by NPR voting reporter Miles Parks. Miles, thanks so much for being with us.

MILES PARKS, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning.

SIMON: The court was short and direct last night, weren't they?

PARKS: They were, indeed. A three-sentence order which said they were denying the complaint that was brought by Texas for, quote, "lack of standing." Basically, Texas had said that the way other states vote was hurting them. But the court didn't buy it. The way voting in the U.S. works is that every state runs their own elections. And they all do it slightly differently. The court said Texas had not demonstrated an interest in how other states conduct their elections and that Texas had basically not suffered any injury here.

SIMON: And, Miles, refresh our recollection. What was at the heart of Texas's argument about results in other states?

PARKS: Sure. So on Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued four states Biden won, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He was joined by 17 other states, all won by Trump. Paxton claimed that changes the four states made to election procedures because of the pandemic, things like increasing vote by mail, violated federal law. And he also alleged, without evidence, that the changes enabled voter fraud to occur. We should add that U.S. Attorney General William Barr has said the Justice Department has not found any evidence of widespread voter fraud in this year's election.

SIMON: And this court decision has set off a moment of national unity?

PARKS: (Laughing) Not - I wouldn't go that far. President Trump has already come out saying he's not happy about this. He'd been saying for months that the Supreme Court was kind of his secret weapon, the thing that was going to come in and save the election for him. Last night, he tweeted, the decision was a legal disgrace and an embarrassment to the United States.

There has been, from other sides of the country, some celebration and relief from those who opposed the lawsuit. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the court, quote, "saw through this seditious abuse of our electoral process." And he said he hoped it would make anyone trying to attack the election think twice.

I talked to University of Pennsylvania law professor Claire Finkelstein about all of the various lawsuits that the Trump campaign has brought over the past month. She said she was confident this was how the court would rule. And she's been, in general, encouraged by how the legal system has held up through all this. But she was still worried about the fact that it had to deal with these sorts of cases, you know, fraud without evidence cases at all.

CLAIRE FINKELSTEIN: It's a very problematic state of affairs because it tests our ability to engage in peaceful transition of power to the utmost. So our system is being stress tested. I think on the whole, we're coming out OK.

SIMON: Miles, are there any legal challenges left to the election results?

PARKS: Legal experts seem to think this is basically the end of the road. You know, Trump had, as I mentioned, pinned his hopes on the Supreme Court. And that obviously has not worked out. The Electoral College meets in all 50 states and D.C. on Monday to cast votes, solidifying Biden's victory.

Trump had previously said he would accept the Electoral College's decision. But, obviously, a statement like that is not binding. President Trump has been known to say something and do something else. So we'll see. He says he's going to continue fighting the election results. The question is, what form does that take?

SIMON: NPR's Miles Parks, thanks so much.

PARKS: Thanks, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Miles Parks is a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers voting and elections, and also reports on breaking news.