U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer is among a large group of House Republicans formally supporting a dubious last-ditch bid to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the presidential election.
In all, 106 House Republicans signed onto an amicus brief in support of a suit filed last week by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. It attempts to invalidate President-elect Joe Biden's 62 Electoral College votes in four swing states.
Emmer was the only Minnesota Republican to sign on. In a statement Thursday, he said the amicus brief "asserts the democratic right of state legislatures to make appointments to the Electoral College was violated in several states."
"All legal votes should be counted and the process should be followed — the integrity of current and future elections depends on this premise and this suit is a part of that process," Emmer said.
Like many prominent Republicans, Emmer and his three Republican colleagues in the Minnesota delegation have refused to acknowledge President Donald Trump's loss, nor have they disputed his barrage of unproven voter fraud claims.
After failing in dozens of court challenges nationwide, Trump is trying to join the Supreme Court case. Paxton's suit repeats disproved and unsupported allegations about mail ballots and voting in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Some leading Republicans, including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, have called the latest lawsuit legally unconvincing.
The amicus brief Emmer signed argues that officials in the four battleground states illegally changed rules governing how states choose presidential electors ahead of Election Day. The brief also claimed without evidence that "the election of 2020 has been riddled with an unprecedented number of serious allegations of fraud and irregularities."
It cites polls in which "a large percentage of Americans now have serious doubts about not just the outcome of the presidential contest, but also the future reliability of our election system itself."
Emmer is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the House GOP. Since 2015 he has represented Minnesota's Sixth District, stretching from northern Twin Cities suburbs to St. Cloud and areas in between.
Even as Emmer signed on to the unlikely pro-Trump effort, Minnesota joined 22 other states — some led by GOP governors — and the District of Columbia in arguing to the Supreme Court that Paxton's suit would unconstitutionally disenfranchise tens of millions of voters.
The four states in question on Thursday urged justices to reject the Texas lawsuit. The court could act as soon as this week.
"Texas' effort to get this court to pick the next president has no basis in law or fact," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro argued. "The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated."
Texas is backed by Trump and 17 other GOP-led states in asking for an extraordinary intervention by the Supreme Court. Texas is arguing that its citizens' rights were violated because the four states unconstitutionally expanded mail-in voting and opened up their elections to fraud and irregularities.
The lawsuit repeats allegations about mail-in voting that have been roundly rejected in dozens of courts across the nation. Members of Trump's administration, including Attorney General William Barr, have said they haven't found any widespread instances of fraud.
Moves by Republicans to challenge actions taken by governors and state elections officials — many of which were in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — have been a centerpiece of postelection scrutiny both in and outside of the courts.
Minnesota state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, earlier this week made Secretary of State Steve Simon's preelection agreement to waive witness requirements and extend the counting deadline for mail ballots a key point of inquiry in the first of likely multiple Senate hearings over the election this month.
"Some of my concerns are that we are having the attorney general, the secretary of state and the courts involved in changing election law during the process of actually conducting the election," Kiffmeyer said. "I think that has opened up some doors that are a concern."
Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court tossed out a Republican lawsuit that sought to stop certification of the state's election results. Simon has repeatedly said his office has received no credible allegations of voter fraud in Minnesota.
The unprecedented legal wrangling over the election's outcome continued just days before the Electoral College is scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 to make official Biden's 306 votes.
Even before then, Biden's victory has been all but sealed by Tuesday's federal "safe harbor" deadline for states to finish certification and resolve any legal disputes over the vote.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison argued Thursday that Paxton's suit relied on "specious claims of voter fraud" and provided no evidence of systemic fraud in last month's election.
"Unfounded and frivolous challenges to the American people's will have been thrown out in courts across the country," Ellison said in a statement, calling it an "evidence-free effort to undemocratically throw out the votes in states where he just doesn't like the result."
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.