FACT CHECK: Did The Supreme Court Signal It Will Hear The Texas Lawsuit To Overturn Election Results If The Suit Gets Refiled As A Different Motion?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the Supreme Court signaled it would hear the lawsuit filed by Texas that sought to overturn presidential election results in four battleground states if the suit gets refiled as a “motion to file the bill of complaint” rather than a “motion for leave to file a bill of complaint.”

Verdict: False

The Supreme Court said in its order rejecting the lawsuit that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution and that the state did not demonstrate a “judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.” Legal experts said the Supreme Court would not hear the case if it were filed differently.

Fact Check:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in a bid supported by President Donald Trump, filed the lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court for an emergency order to invalidate the ballots in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, alleging the four states had election procedures that violated laws, according to NBC News. The lawsuit sought to block the presidential electors for those states from voting in the Electoral College, according to The Associated Press. The Supreme Court rejected the suit on Dec. 11.

The screen grabbed tweet suggests that the Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit because of how it was filed and signaled it would rehear the case if refiled differently. “In a nut case, SCOTUS rejected the TX case because TX filed their case as ‘motion for leave to file a bill of complaint,’” reads the tweet. “However, SCOTUS signals to TX and other states that if they file their cases as ‘motion to file the bill of complaint,’ then their cases will be heard.”

The tweet, however, is incorrect. In a brief order, the Supreme Court said that it denied the motion due to a “lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution” and that Texas “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.” The court did not cite how the lawsuit was filed as a reason for it being rejected in its order. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Kelly Loeffler’s House?)

Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said in a statement that they believe the court does “not have discretion to deny the filing of a bill of complaint in a case that falls within our original jurisdiction.” While they said that they would have heard Texas’ complaint, they “would not grant other relief,” according to their statement.

Legal experts confirmed in emails to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the screen grabbed tweet’s claim is incorrect. (RELATED: Did Donald Trump Tweet That The Supreme Court ‘Should Decide The Presidency At Every Election’?)

Joshua Douglas, a law professor at the University of Kentucky’s Rosenberg College of Law, told the DNCF that “there’s no way the Supreme Court takes the Texas case even if filed in a different way,” while Alan Morrison, a law professor at George Washington University Law School, said, “I do not read [the court’s order] as rejection of the filing of the motion itself, but that the motion was defective for lack of standing (7 justices) and on merits (2 justices).”

“Despite that divide over whether the Court could hear the case, the Court was unanimous in denying an early injunction that Texas sought to stop the cast of electoral college votes,” said Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine School of Law. “At least 7 Justices believe that Texas does not have legal standing to be able to challenge how other states run their presidential elections – so no matter how the case would be filed, Texas would lose.”

The Electoral College affirmed Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election on Monday, with electors giving the president-elect 306 electoral votes and Trump 232 electoral votes, according to USA Today.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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