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Florida to U.S. Supreme Court: Hear Texas lawsuit to overturn Biden win

Federal officials have said there was no widescale voter fraud, but Republicans are trying to overturn the election results anyway.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody with a bipartisan group of state attorneys general speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody with a bipartisan group of state attorneys general speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. [ MANUEL BALCE CENETA | AP ]
Published Dec. 9, 2020
Updated Dec. 10, 2020

TALLAHASSEE — Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Wednesday she signed on to a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit from the state of Texas that hopes to overturn President-Elect Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.

The brief joined by Moody, a Republican, is in support of a lawsuit filed on Tuesday by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The suit argued the elections in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin suffered from “voting irregularities” that tainted the presidential results to the point that those state’s Legislatures should be left to choose how their state votes in the electoral college.

Officials from all four states, Republican and Democrat, have said these allegations are untrue, and that their elections were decided fairly.

Biden won all four states. All four states also have Republican-controlled Legislatures. Multiple federal officials, including Attorney General William Barr, have said there is no evidence of voting irregularities that could have turned a potential Trump win into a Biden win in the presidential race.

But that didn’t stop Moody, along with 16 other attorneys general, all Republican, from arguing Texas’ lawsuit should be heard.

“The integrity and resolution of the 2020 election is of paramount importance,” Moody wrote in a Twitter post. “The United States Supreme Court should weigh the legal arguments of the Texas motion and all pending matters so that Americans can be assured the election was fairly reviewed and decided.”

A lack of evidence for the widespread irregularities alleged by Texas’ lawsuit is not the only problem with the case, legal experts say. By arguing the case should be heard, Florida is opening itself up to potential litigation from other states about how it conducts its elections.

“The states have 50 different election laws. I doubt the Supreme Court wants to open Pandora’s box of allowing states to sue each other because they don’t like how another state is running their election,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a law professor at Stetson University College of Law.

Since Election Night on Nov. 3, President Donald Trump has blamed his loss to Biden on fraud without citing any credible evidence. Even though Trump lacks any proof, most Florida Republicans have either remained silent or, like Gov. Ron DeSantis or Moody, encouraged the president’s actions.

Related: Trump continues to question election results. What do Tampa Bay Republicans say?

Moody joined a brief that makes the case that elections conducted without proper safeguards against fraud infringe on a state Legislatures’ Constitutional responsibility to send presidential electors to the electoral college.

“Encroachments on the authority of state Legislatures by other state actors...threaten individual liberty,” the brief reads.

But Torres-Spelliscy argued throwing out millions of votes on the thinnest of pretenses would be the real threat to individual liberty.

“I expect the Supreme Court justices to reject this effort to undermine the will of millions of American voters,” Torres-Spelliscy said.

Moody’s office responded to questions about the lawsuit by linking to the attorney general’s tweet.

Florida’s official backing of a long shot bid to overthrow the presidential election results drew scorn, if not surprise, from Florida Democrats.

“It’s disappointing, but predictable, that Florida’s Attorney General isn’t acting in the interest of the people she was elected to serve, but in self-interest to a president who lost an election and cannot face the reality of his defeat,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement.

The Florida attorney general’s history of using her office to demonstrate loyalty to the president predates the election. In May, Moody joined 14 other Republican state attorneys general to ask that the federal government drop its case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Trump announced last month he had granted Flynn a full pardon. Shortly after the election, Moody joined nine other Republican attorneys general in challenging how Pennsylvania counted mail-in ballots in a lawsuit that was later thrown out.

The brief backing the Texas lawsuit wasn’t the only noteworthy filing to come out of Moody’s office Wednesday. The state’s top law enforcement official also joined 47 other attorneys general in a lawsuit against social media giant Facebook.