JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - After Friday’s unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a Texas lawsuit that would have overturned election results in four states, disenfranchising millions of voters in the process, one of that lawsuit’s supporters vows that the fight against alleged election fraud isn’t over.
“Many south Mississippians, myself included, have repeatedly expressed their deep concerns of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election,” U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, a Republican representing Mississippi’s fourth congressional district, said in an emailed statement to WLBT. “It is unfortunate the Supreme Court chose not to take up the case, but that does not mean this fight is over. At the end of the day, my goal is to restore voter confidence and trust in our electoral system.”
Palazzo is one of 126 House Republicans, three from Mississippi, who signed an amicus brief supporting the Texas lawsuit which sought to delay Monday’s electoral vote in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin because the suit claimed voting procedures in those states violated their own laws.
Palazzo’s support came after Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, also a Republican, announced she was joining the lawsuit with at least a dozen other states last week. Fitch, who announced her decision through a social media statement, has not spoken publicly about the matter since SCOTUS declined to hear the case Friday.
Neither Fitch nor her communications director responded to a request for comment by 3 On Your Side Monday.
WLBT also reached out to U.S. Rep. Michael Guest and U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly, two congressmen representing Mississippi who also supported the Texas suit. Guest’s communications director directed us to statements Guest made before the SCOTUS decision, where he justified his decision to sign the amicus brief.
“If the court finds that these elected officials overstepped their Constitutional duties and, therefore, tainted their states’ elections, we must focus on restoring the integrity of the electoral process that was found to be undermined,” Guest, who also served as the district attorney of Madison and Rankin counties before being elected to Congress, said Thursday in a prepared release.
Kelly’s office did not return a call for comment on the issue. Some of Mississippi’s Republican leaders echo Palazzo’s statement, saying they’re still waiting on other lawsuits that aim to prove fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“Obviously, we were very disappointed on Friday. And so there’s other cases out there that are going to work through the court system. And so we’ll see where this thing ends up,” said Frank Bordeaux, chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party. “We were definitely going to continue to make sure that the validity of the race is there.”
Bordeaux served as one of six of the state’s electors, casting his vote for President Donald Trump Monday in a special ceremony at the State Capitol.
During the event, Secretary of State Michael Watson and Gov. Tate Reeves, both Republicans, told reporters the state’s record turnout this year and double-digit increase in absentee votes showed a renewed faith in the electoral process and Mississippi’s commitment to free and fair elections.
That enthusiasm wanes when those same officials talk about other states, a suspicion stemming from election fraud claims made by Trump and his legal team in the days after the Nov. 3 election. Has that suspicion waned since that SCOTUS decision?
Neither Bordeaux nor Reeves would acknowledge Joe Biden winning the election, with the governor deferring at that time to the electoral college which was still casting votes across the nation.
Bordeaux, however, said he’ll wait even longer.
“I think that we don’t need to rush the process. I think that we’ll have a clear decision that it will be made by the voters on January 20, whenever whoever is elected,” Bordeaux said. “And if it’s Joe Biden, then Joe Biden will be our president. If it’s Donald Trump, then Donald Trump will be our president.”
Reeves said if election fraud took place through illegal voting, regardless of which state in which it occurred, the will of Mississippi’s voters become disenfranchised.
“I personally think that the disenfranchising of voters in Mississippi or Texas or any other state would occur if there was widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the election,” Reeves said.
Reeves told reporters the role of judges is to interpret the laws as they’re written, not write the laws, when asked about Fitch’s role in the lawsuit and its merits.
“I think that we’ve got in certain jurisdictions around America, we’ve got a federal judiciary that is certainly willing to be very activist. And I think that’s a problem,” Reeves said. At that point, Mississippi Today reporter Bobby Harrison asked him for specific examples of those activist judges.
“Where’d they do that, Governor?” Harrison asked.
“I’m just saying in general, in a lot of places across America, we have activist judges,” Reeves said.
Harrison asked Reeves to name one place, but the governor never did.
“It’s not unique to elections, Bobby. It’s actually, it’s in virtually every scope of government,” Reeves said. “You’ve got activists, federal judges, typically appointed by very liberal Democrats who want to put their own opinion in place of the voters of a particular state or jurisdiction.”
Reeves said he assumed the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the law in that Friday decision, a court where Republican-appointed justices outnumber Democrat-appointed ones, but wouldn’t say whether he agreed with that decision.
“I don’t think judges that are appointed by conservatives should be expected to make a political decision whenever there is a lawsuit before them. I want them to interpret the law. I assume that they did so in this case,” Reeves said.