Jason Ravsnborg isn’t practicing law; he’s just angling for his pardon.
On Wednesday, South Dakota’s killer Attorney General further besmirched out state’s good name by joining Texas and 16 other Trump-voting states in denying fact and the voice of the American electorate and petitioning the United States Supreme Court to delay or invalidate the Electoral College votes of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Here’s the original complaint from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his motion for preliminary injunction, claiming that the four defendant states “debased the votes of citizens in Plaintiff State and other States” by “flood[ing] their citizenry with tens of millions of ballot applications and ballots in derogation of statutory controls as to how they are lawfully received, evaluated, and counted.” Here’s the amicus curiae brief Ravnsborg signed to support that radical claim of authority to dismantle federalism and let Texas and South Dakota tell other states how to conduct their elections.
SCOTUSblog expert Amy Howe calls the Texas lawsuit a “Hail Mary”; the attorneys general from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia call it reckless, wasteful, and wrong:
Officials in the states being challenged described Texas’ filing as an outlandish stunt with no legal basis. “These continued attacks on our fair and free election system are beyond meritless, beyond reckless,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) wrote on Twitter.
“I feel sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) wrote. “Texas is as likely to challenge the outcome of the Ice Bowl as it is to overturn the will of Wisconsin voters in the 2020 presidential election.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R), who was recently named the new chair of the Republican Attorneys General Association, also brushed off the lawsuit. “With all due respect, the Texas Attorney General is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia,” a spokesperson for Carr said, according to The Dallas Morning News [Amy Howe, “Texas Tries Hail Mary to Block Election Outcome,” SCOTUSblog, 2020.12.08].
Ravnsborg has signed onto a lawsuit with numerous fatal flaws, the primary of which are that the Supreme Court cannot suspend the Constitutionally mandated Electoral College vote:
That would be unconstitutional, said Edward Foley of the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. He points out that Article II, Section 4, says Congress can choose the day the electors meet to vote but says that day “shall be the same throughout the United States.” This year, it’s Dec. 14, or five days from now [Pete Williams, “5 Glaring Problems with Texas’s Big to Overturn Biden’s Win at the U.S. Supreme Court,” NBC via Yahoo News, 2020.12.09].
…and that each state sets its own rules for running elections, and South Dakota and Wisconsin have no standing to challenge each other’s execution of that duty:
The United States doesn’t have a national election for president. It has a series of state elections, and one state has no legal standing to challenge how another state does it any more than Texas could challenge how Georgia elects its U.S. senators, legal experts said.
“This case is hopeless. Texas has no right to bring a lawsuit over election procedures in other states,” said Tom Goldstein, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who argues frequently before the court and publishes SCOTUSblog [Williams, 2020.12.09].
A group of former Republican officials, including UN Ambassador and Missouri Senator John Danforth, New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, and Connecticut Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker, explain that Paxton and Ravnsborg have no grounds to bring this suit to the U.S. Supreme Court:
…the Constitution does not make this Court the multidistrict litigation panel for trials of presidential election disputes. To the contrary, pursuant to the Electors Clause and 3 U.S.C. § 5, state legislatures have made state courts the tribunals for presidential election disputes. This Court’s only jurisdiction is appellate.
The Electors Clause and 3 U.S.C. § 5 contradict the Plaintiff’s unprecedented argument that a presidential election dispute is a controversy between two or more states. One way these provisions contradict Plaintiff’s argument is by authorizing each state to delegate by statute the adjudication of all controversies or contests concerning federal presidential election results in that state to that state’s courts. Such statutory delegation to state courts is part of each state legislature’s chosen statutory “manner” for presidential elections as much as are the statutes on, for example, mail-in voting. A state’s chosen “manner” applies “exclusively,” McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 27 (1892), “absent some other constitutional constraint.” Chiafalo v. Washington, 140 S. Ct. 2316, 2324 (2020) (emphasis added). There is no constitutional constraint against state courts being the trial courts for presidential election disputes.”
Moreover, 3 U.S.C. § 5 expressly and properly enables a state to designate “its” state tribunals as the “conclusive” arbiter of “any controversy or contest concerning” presidential election results in that state. (Emphasis added). In the rare instance that a state supreme court’s ruling violates a federal constitutional provision or statute, this Court has appellate jurisdiction. See, e.g., Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 100-01 (2000) (per curiam).
Plaintiff’s Motions make a mockery of federalism and separation of powers. It would violate the most fundamental constitutional principles for this Court to serve as the trial court for presidential election disputes [Carter Phillips, Stuart Gerson, John Danforth, et al., amicus curiae brief, Texas v. Pennsylvania et al., 2020.12.09].
As a demonstration of the plaintiffs’ real intent—not to actually win but simply to use the highest court in America as a platform for fomenting further distrust in democracy and support for potential straight-up coups against duly elected Presidents—the Texas complaint includes this pants-on-fire lie:
The probability of former Vice President Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—independently given President Trump’s early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion, or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000. For former Vice President Biden to win these four States collectively, the odds of that event happening decrease to less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power (i.e., 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,0004). SeeDecl. of Charles J. Cicchetti, Ph.D. (“Cicchetti Decl.”) at ¶¶ 14-21, 30-31. SeeApp. 4a-7a, 9a [Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, complaint, Texas v. Penn. et al., 2020.12.07].
The quadrillion claim is Facebook fake news:
Kenneth Mayer, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin Madison, said Cicchetti’s approach is “ludicrous.”
“The analysis assumes that votes are all independently and randomly distributed,” he said in an email. “This is going to be used in undergraduate statistics classes as a canonical example of how not to do statistics.”
…”Cicchetti doesn’t even provide the relevant probability (in his methodology). He doesn’t consider obvious alternative explanations. And he makes a basic error in interpretation,” Justin Grimmer, a Stanford University professor of political science, said on Twitter. “I’m sure this claim will now become canon in election-conspiracy media, particularly given that Trump retweeted it. I’m frankly embarrassed that such statistical incompetence would appear in such a high profile venue.”
…If ever a claim deserved the label of utter nonsense, this is it.
What masquerades as a statistical analysis is actually a logical wasteland that ignores fundamental facts that make all the difference.
The votes still uncounted when Trump had his short-lived lead were largely absentee ballots from major cities. Those cities have consistently voted Democratic historically, and mail-in votes within them should be expected to lean even more that direction since Trump had attacked that method of voting leading up to the election while Biden encouraged it.
We rate this Pants on Fire! [Eric Litke, “Lawsuit Claim that Statistics Prove Fraud in Wisconsin, Elsewhere Is Wildly Illogical,” Politifact, 2020.12.09].
Read Litke’s full explanation of Cicchetti’s errors, and you’ll see that Ravnsborg can’t even get math right, let alone law.
In joining this mad effort to steal the Presidential election, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg profoundly misunderstands, misrepresents, and ignores the law and the Constitution. Such legal malpractice—call it malfeasance—is grounds for impeaching an Attorney General, isn’t it?