Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Wednesday signed onto a brief with 16 other states in support of a lawsuit seeking to throw out the results of the presidential election.
Kansas along with Missouri filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday afternoon, a move that drew sharp criticism from Democrats who described it as an “embarrassment” to the state.
The brief was filed in support of a lawsuit brought by Texas against four battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that decided the election in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.
The lawsuit is generally regarded as a legal “Hail Mary,” taking the rare step of asking the court to directly take up the matter rather than climbing through the appeals process.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has already said the Justice Department found no signs of widespread voter fraud during the election.
“A month ago, Kansas asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court violated the U.S. Constitution by disregarding the plain requirements of that state’s statutory deadline governing mail-in ballots,” Schmidt said in a statement.
“Our request remains pending at the high court, and the Texas filing yesterday presents to the court the same important legal question.”
Schmidt, mentioned as a leading Republican candidate for Kansas governor in 2022, announced the filing of the brief after another potential rival for governor, Jeff Colyer, called on him to join the case.
“There’s never a bad time to do the right thing. I call on Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to join Ken Paxton’s lawsuit on behalf of the more than 74 million voters who voted for Donald J. Trump and more than 770K Kansans,” the former govenor posted on Facebook.
“By an overwhelming margin, Kansas voters supported President Trump. A threat to election security anywhere is a threat to election security everywhere. To protect our voice, Kansas needs to be in this fight,” Colyer said.
In the Texas lawsuit, state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is under indictment for felony securities fraud, accuses government officials in the four states of using the coronavirus pandemic to rework their election laws through what he described as “executive fiat.”
The four states, the lawsuit claims, “usurped their legislatures’ authority and unconstitutionally revised their state’s election statutes.
“They accomplished these statutory revisions through executive fiat or friendly lawsuits, thereby weakening ballot integrity
“Finally, these same government officials flooded the defendant states with millions of ballots to be sent through the mails, or placed in drop boxes, with little or no chain of custody and, at the same time, weakened the strongest security measures protecting
the integrity of the the vote — signature verification and witness requirements.”
Schmidt said there are important issues for the court to decide.
“Texas asserts it can prove four states violated the U.S. Constitution in an election that affects all Americans, so Texas should be heard.
“Everyone would benefit from clarity about what the U.S. Constitution requires of states as they administer federal elections.”
Schmidt pointed out in his announcement that his office has been working with Missouri on the brief since Tuesday, putting him ahead of Colyer’s Facebook post.
The attorney general’s decision to enter the case drew criticism from Democrats.
“There’s never a good time to a do a bad thing,” outgoing Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said in a text message.
“As he’s done so many times before, Derek Schmidt is wasting taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit that won’t see the light of day.”
Democratic Rep. John Carmichael of Wichita also rebuked the attorney general.
“The election is over,” Carmichael said. “President-elect Biden has won. The attorney general is grandstanding with our tax dollars.”
Congressman Ron Estes praised Schmidt’s decision and added that he plans to join with other Republican members of Congress in filing a brief supporting the Texas lawsuit.
“Americans deserve free and fair elections that uphold our Constitution, where all legal votes are counted,” Estes said in a statement.
“Regardless of party, all citizens should have confidence in the electoral process,” he said.