SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 9, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox are questioning the “motivation” of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ decision to add Utah to a Texas amicus brief calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to effectively overturn results of the 2020 election.
“The Attorney General did not consult us before signing on to this brief, so we don’t know what his motivation is,” Herbert and Cox said Wednesday night.
“Just as we would not want other states challenging Utah’s election results, we do not think we should intervene in other states’ elections. Candidates who wish to challenge election results have access to the courts without our involvement.
“This is an unwise use of taxpayers’ money,” they said.
Word of Reyes’ surprise decision came in a Wednesday afternoon press release saying Utah had joined a “coalition of attorneys general” from 17 states supporting the Texas petition “to review the constitutionality of the election process.”
The states joining in the Texas suit include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
Each of those states was carried by Trump.
The petition, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, claims votes in the swing states violated the Constitution when authorities changed balloting procedures in response to the pandemic. That duty, Paxton asserts, belongs to the state legislatures, meaning the votes were cast illegally and should be thrown out.
“If Americans are to have confidence in the integrity of the election system, it is important the Supreme Court settles the question of who determines the time and place for voting: the legislature or the courts,“ Reyes said.
“The fundamental constitutional question we need SCOTUS to answer is who really controls the time, place, and manner of elections in individual states? Is it the legislature, as it appears the Constitution commands? Or can that power be delegated or usurped in certain circumstances? The answer affects not only this election but potentially every future election.”
Reyes’ move is in line with the Trump administration’s last ditch efforts to hang onto power by calling into question the validity of America’s electoral process.
Trump officially joined the fray in a filing late Wednesday before the U.S. Supreme Court with his legal team echoing the Texas suit’s contention that the swing state should be voided.
The last minute legal maneuvering came just one day after the Supreme Court refused to hear a similar petition by Republicans in Pennsylvania who asked the court to block certification of the Keystone commonwealth’s vote. The justices denied the motion without comment or dissenting opinion, a sign the court was united in the decision not to hear the case.
Wednesday, Sen. Mitt Romney added his voice to those questioning the Texas lawsuit, saying, “It’s just simply madness. The idea of supplanting the vote of the people with partisan legislators is so completely out of our national character that it’s simply mad.”
Romney’s sentiments were echoed by Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. In a statement released Wednesday Wilson said, “I am disheartened to see that Attorney General Sean Reyes continues to politicize an election that has now been decided for weeks. Right now is an opportunity for us to work together, across party lines to address issues of real concern. Our health systems are in crisis, so many lives have been lost, and our community is shaken. The last thing we need is more gamesmanship and manipulation from elected officials using public resources to perpetuate partisan schemes. We have all had enough.”
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn also took aim at Paxton’s suit Wednesday.
“I frankly struggle to understand the legal theory of it. Number one, why would a state, even such a great state as Texas, hay a say-so on how other states administer their elections?,” he said. “We have a diffused and dispersed system and even though we may not like it, they may think it’s unfair, those are decided at the state and local level and not at the national level.”
The Supreme Court has ordered four states to file a response to the Texas suit by 3 p.m. Thursday.