The shrewd Attorney General of Texas filed an insightful complaint in the U.S. Supreme Court against Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan. While all eyes are on the Presidential election, the Texas Attorney General explained in his complaint the importance of who is elected Vice President. Indeed, the issue of who is elected Vice President is not only pertinent to Texas’ standing to sue the other states, that issue places Texas’ standing to sue on bedrock. That nuance is explained by the Texas Attorney General in his complaint as follows:
Whereas the House represents the People proportionally, the Senate represents the States. See U.S. CONST. art. V, cl. 3 (“no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate”). While Americans likely care more about who is elected President, the States have a distinct interest in who is elected Vice President and thus who can cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Through that interest, States suffer an Article III injury when another State violates federal law to affect the outcome of a presidential election. This injury is particularly acute in 2020, where a Senate majority often will hang on the Vice President’s tie-breaking vote because of the nearly equal—and, depending on the outcome of Georgia run-off elections in January, possibly equal—balance between political parties. Quite simply, it is vitally important to the States who becomes Vice President.
Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, Brent Webster, First Assistant Attorney General of Texas, and Lawrence Joseph, Special Counsel to the Attorney General of Texas should all be heralded for their skillful legal work. The Texas complaint is truly an amazing document, which is why 17 other states have joined with them in the complaint. “The states of Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, have all signed on to the brief that backs the Texas suit.”
In addition, the state of Arizona has filed an amicus curiae [friend of the court] brief in support of the Texas Complaint.