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Ravnsborg Joins SD to Texas Effort to Steal Presidency from Voters’ Choice

Jason Ravnsborg, Christmas video, 2019.12.24.
♪♬ All I want for Christmas is a pardon from Trump, a pardon from Trump, a pardon from Trump! ♪♭

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?

27 Comments

  1. Nix 2020-12-10

    No wonder the Dope Queen of Delusion built a fence around the capital building. She was aware that there would be a revolt if she pulled the crap that she is.
    What country takes steps to override
    Free elections that reflect the will of the people.?

    The Amendment A lawsuit and now this, is NOT AMERICAN.
    This is what happens with Fascism.
    I am publicly demanding that Noem,
    Thomas, and Miller remove my American Flag from their uniforms.
    Not only do they not represent me,
    I would begin criminal prosecution.
    These people are not Americans.
    They are drunk on Trump.

  2. Tim 2020-12-10

    What Nix said

  3. Tim 2020-12-10

    Has anyone heard how the state authorized cover up of our killer AG’s case is going?

  4. mike from iowa 2020-12-10

    comment deleted by author, me.

  5. Donald Pay 2020-12-10

    It’s personal to me since my vote would be invalidated by this lawsuit. Not only my vote, but the votes of everyone who cast ballots in Wisconsin would be thrown out and a handful of activist justices and corrupt and treasonous politicians would substitute their will for the will of the people. Ravnsborg killed a man and now he’s trying to kill America. i am against the death penalty. I make an exception for Ravnsborg. I hope he fries and then rots in hell for his sins.

  6. sdslim 2020-12-10

    Cory, Ravsnborg can not get a pardon from Trump. Trump can only pardon federal crimes, not state crimes. I have not heard where the feds are considering any charges against the AG. If he is charged and convicted of a felony, then he would lose his law license. If he is charged with a misdemeanor, then I think it would be up to the state bar if he would retain his license. At any rate, Trump can’t help him, but Kristi could —– so if she suggested he join the suit it would probably carry a lot of weight for him —- and I think those considerations are what was driving the decision to join the damaging lawsuit.

  7. bearcreekbat 2020-12-10

    sdslim is correct on the pardon issue. Ravnsborg’s potential iability for killing in this case is a matter of state law, not federal law, hence Trump has no authority to pardon Ravnsborg.

    While Noem may pardon Ravnsborg for killing someone, I don’t think that a pardon could insulate Ravnsborg from being disbarred and losing his licence to practice law if he violates the South Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, codified at SDCL 16-18 Appendix. This particular case seems to implicate that remedy, as it appears the filing may have violated one or more the South Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct, including, but not limited to, these specific rules:

    SDCL 16-18, App. Rule 3.1

    Rule 3.1. Meritorious Claims and Contentions
    A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.

    SDCL 16-18, App, Rule 3.3

    Rule 3.3. Candor Toward the Tribunal
    (a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:
    (1) make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to timely correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer;
    (2) fail to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel; or
    (3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer, the lawyer’s client, or a witness called by the lawyer, has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall timely take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal. . . .

    SDCL 16-18, App, Rule 4.1

    Rule 4.1. Truthfulness in Statements to Others
    In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:
    (a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person

  8. bearcreekbat 2020-12-10

    There is a certain comical irony to this particular legal brief. In reviewing the claims, it appears that most are premised on the idea that a non-legislative actor changed or intepreted State legislative rules, which the brief claims is simply not permitted by the Constitution.

    The non-legislative actors include Secretaries of States and Judges in state courts that issued rulings or approved settlements directing the actions of the Secretaries of State in state elections. According to the brief Ravnsborg signed on to, such actions by non-legislative individuals, judges in particular, violate the Constitution.

    So who is being asked to intervene in the this case? The non-legislative members of the U.S. Supreme Court! In other words, Ravnsborg, et al, want 5 or more non-legislative Supreme Court Judges to independently (rather than by deciding an appeal from a state court case) make a non-legislative judicial decision that non-legislative judical decisions are in violation of the Constitution.

  9. Bob Newland 2020-12-10

    That picture of Jason is perfect. His stupid shirt collar reflects the insipidity of his face. Where does he even buy shirts with collars that stand out like Mickey Mouse ears?

  10. jerry 2020-12-10

    Think of the 82 million who voted for Biden versus the 74 million who voted for trump. Both are huge numbers but small compared to the total voting age population of 253,768,092. Most of those, who were of voting age, were not allowed to vote because of voter purges and other republican shenanigans. In short, there are more of us than there are of them by over 100 million. That there is a whole lot of pitchforks in the streets, so by all means, proceed.

  11. Dicta 2020-12-10

    The math in the “expert” testimony to the Texas filing is absolutely atrocious. There is a lot to cover why it is so bad, but fundamentally, it boils do two points:

    1. They basically assume that the probability of someone who didn’t vote for Clinton in 2016 would vote for Biden in 2020 is negligible; and

    2. That all of the 2020 votes that were counted late came from the same people whose votes were counted late in 2016.

    These are insane assumptions, especially given the increase in absentee votes and laws passed by predominantly GOP state legislatures that prevented early counting. Jesus, this is just awful science.

  12. Eve Fisher 2020-12-10

    As Heather Cox Richardson pointed out today: this argument comes from the party that claims to oppose “judicial activism.”
    17 Republican states (all Republican-majority states) want the Supreme Court to disfranchise the majority in the United States and to let them put their chosen president in the White House. This assault on American principles is breathtaking.

    https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/december-9-2020

  13. o 2020-12-10

    Let us not miss the point: none of these Trump lawsuits has to be right; one only needs to be a vehicle for a judge to throw out the will of the people and the election process. President Trump et al are just looking for a judge (or 5) to play ball.

  14. mike from iowa 2020-12-10

    Here is drumpf’s lawyer, a white scumacyst with ties to Federalist Society…..

    There is no better example of the conservative legal movement’s failure to police its own members than Trump’s motion to intervene in this case. It bears the signature of just one lawyer, John Eastman, senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and the founding director of its Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. (The brief appears to be ghostwritten by the lawyer whom Paxton hired to write his own brief.)

    Eastman is a white supremacist who notoriously promoted the lie that Kamala Harris may not be a U.S. citizen. That falsehood grew out of Eastman’s decadeslong quest to strip millions of nonwhite Americans of their citizenship because they are the children of immigrants, subjecting them to deportation. The Federalist Society continued to invite Eastman to “debates” long after he revealed himself to be a racist crank peddling falsehoods. Now he is backing Trump’s last-ditch attempt to steal the election based on lies and conspiracy theories. His brief on Wednesday parroted the president’s outright falsehood shared on Twitter earlier in the day that no presidential candidate had lost the presidency after winning both Ohio and Florida, as he had done. (John Kennedy won the presidency with neither state in 1960.) Eastman will, no doubt, still get invited to Federalist Society events. After all, according to his ideological allies, a mere word of criticism aimed at his efforts would constitute a threat to the entire legal profession.
    \

    from this link … https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/12/trump-doomed-supreme-court-filing-civil-war.html

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-12-10

    Thanks for looking at that math, Dicta. It is atrocious in a math classroom and in responsible civil discourse. Beyond that, in a courtroom, it seems to be entirely circumstantial and irrelevant. Ravnsborg and the Trumpists have no evidence of actual malfeasance; they are simply dressing their denial in shoddy numbers, trying to get the court to sanction their belief that there was no chance that Trump could lose to Biden.

    Of course, there’s another mishmash about this suit that Ravnsborg considers worth his time: the suit hinges not on actual voter fraud (again, there’s no evidence to support such a claim) but on contending that the four defendant states took unconstitutional actions. That argument is almost as thin; Texas et al. Appear to try to fluff that argument up by claiming that the the states’ actions led to the fraud they contend must inevitably result (but which they still haven’t proven anywhere!) by mailing people ballots and helping them participate in democracy amidst a pandemic.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-12-10

    Slim, Bear, good correction on my pardon speculation. But then bar-certified Jason seems to be worse at reading the law than I am….

  17. Dv 2020-12-10

    Cant bring charges on AG, he is an elector. So wait till Dec15, to prosecute!!

  18. MC 2020-12-10

    Cory, I rarely agree with you on a number of subjects, however, I agree with you on this lawsuit. South Dakota shouldn’t meddle in the affairs of other states. Nor should other states meddle in the affairs of South Dakota. That alone should stick a fork in this lawsuit.

    Unless something momentous happens, on December 14th The electors will gather in their state capitols and cast their vote, then Former Vice President Joe Biden become President elect.

  19. jerry 2020-12-10

    Terry, your links should be read by South Dakota newspapers. They then could clearly ask why our AG would side with an indicted man. Why would he do that unless he was getting something in return. Wonder what that could be? pardon me, while I think about that.

  20. John 2020-12-10

    Has the otherwise feckless democratic party filed complaints to the SD bar regarding the Ravnsborg murder and filling a frivolous law suits? If not, why not?
    Paraphrasing Mitch in The Firm, ‘if you want to get the mob, get their lawyers’.

  21. mike livingston 2020-12-11

    Did you get your law degree at trump u jonnie?

  22. Eve Fisher 2020-12-11

    Montana’s governor says his state did many of the things Texas said make an election illegal but Texas didn’t sue them because Trump won, “underscoring, of course, that this is less about election integrity than it is about attempting to overturn the will of the electorate.”
    In other words, our current President and an alarmingly large part of the GOP are pinning their hopes on the Texas lawsuit to destroy that longest running democracy on earth. It was fun while it lasted.…

    And, of course, the 106 House Republicans who are backing this lawsuit are also asking SCOTUS to overturn their own election wins. But that has never occurred to them. And it won’t.

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