The US Supreme Court on Friday rejected a long-shot lawsuit by Texas and backed by president Donald Trump seeking to throw out voting results in four states, dealing him a likely fatal blow in his quest to undo his election loss to president-elect Joe Biden.
The decision allows the US Electoral College to press ahead with a meeting on Monday, where it is expected to formally cast its votes and make Biden’s victory official.
Biden, a Democrat, has amassed 306 votes to Trump’s 232 in the state-by-state Electoral College, which allots votes to all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on population.
The four states in question – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – contributed a combined 62 votes to Biden’s total. To win the White House, 270 votes are needed.
In a brief order, the justices said Texas did not have legal standing to bring the case, abruptly ending what Trump had touted this week as his best hope for overturning the election.
After midnight, Trump said on Twitter, “The Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom, no Courage!”
Complaining that the court had rejected the case “in a flash” despite his winning more votes than any other sitting president, Trump wrote: “A Rigged Election, fight on!”
While Biden has moved forward with a wave of appointments for his incoming administration ahead of assuming office on 20 January, Trump and his legal team have filed a flurry of unsuccessful lawsuits in several states baselessly claiming voter fraud and challenging the results.
Trump’s goal had long been for a case to reach the Supreme Court, where he had placed three new justices in his first term and where conservatives hold a 6-3 majority. The lawsuit brought by Texas and supported by 17 other states and more than 100 Republican members of Congress gave him that opportunity.
In the run-up the 3 November election, Trump had pushed for the swift confirmation of justice Amy Coney Barrett, with the publicly stated hope that she could be in a position to help rule on an election challenge.
But Barrett and the two other justices appointed by Trump – Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – signed onto the court’s order derailing the Texas suit without comment.
“Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections,” the court’s order said.
Two of the court’s conservatives, justice Samuel Alito and justice Clarence Thomas, said they would have allowed Texas to sue but would not have blocked the four states from finalizing their election results.