By: Jeremy Pelzer – Cleveland .com
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Attorney General Dave Yost on Thursday filed a legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing a Texas lawsuit’s goal to effectively delay the Electoral College from voting Joe Biden the next U.S. president.
Yost, a Columbus Republican, stated in the brief that the Supreme Court lacks authority to order state legislatures in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to appoint presidential electors. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit argues such a move is needed because coronavirus-related changes to election rules in those states opened the door to voter fraud (claims of which have so far been unsubstantiated).
“The relief that Texas seeks would undermine a foundational premise of our federalist system: the idea that the States are sovereigns, free to govern themselves,” Yost stated in the brief, adding later: “The courts have no more business ordering the People’s representatives how to choose electors than they do ordering the People themselves how to choose their dinners.”
However, while Yost disagreed with Texas’ call to hold up the Electoral College vote on Dec. 14, he encouraged the Supreme Court to rule on whether the election changes made by the states are unconstitutional.
“It is not unreasonable to wonder — and many millions of Americans do — whether those hastily implemented changes exposed the election systems to vulnerabilities,” Yost wrote.
“It may prove difficult at this late date to fashion a remedy that does not create equal or greater harms,” he stated further in the brief. “But there will be an election in 2024, another four years after that, and so on.”
Yost’s reasoning is consistent with a legal brief he filed last month asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that ordered elections officials there to continue accepting absentee ballots that arrived within three days following Election Day.
“State legislatures, not state courts, set the rules for picking presidential electors,” Yost stated in that brief, though the Supreme Court ultimately upheld the Pennsylvania ruling.
Yost is opposing the lawsuit even though more than 40 Ohio Republican lawmakers wrote him asking him to have Ohio join Texas’ suit, which is supported by 17 other state AGs and President Donald Trump.
“We have seen irregularities in the vote count, unexplained statistical anomalies, as well as grave allegations of irregularities and misconduct” in the four states named in the lawsuit, the Ohio lawmakers stated in their letter.