Washington AG Ferguson threatens to sue if Trump uses electoral college to overturn results
President Trump’s legal strategy challenging the election has shifted in recent days, with his team now reaching out to Michigan state lawmakers, urging them to appoint electors willing to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. Should that happen, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he plans to take the president to court.
Ferguson has been involved in upwards of 80 lawsuits against the Trump administration over the last four years, challenging everything from the president’s immigration policies to changes made to the U.S. Postal Service prior to the election.
In this instance, the Washington state attorney general says he’d be fighting for democracy itself.
“The voters have spoken,” Ferguson said Friday on Twitter. “Attempts to overturn the results of a fair election are improper and deeply unpatriotic.”
Trump reportedly invited Michigan Republican leaders in the state Legislature to the White House on Friday to discuss a strategy to delay the certification of election results long enough to have local lawmakers choose electors that will hand the state to the president. That would be despite President-elect Joe Biden winning the state by roughly 155,000 votes.
That said, Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey — both of whom are Republicans — have said publicly that they have no intention of overturning the state’s results through an electoral college end-around.
“That’s not going to happen,” Shirkey said earlier in the week.
If Trump manages to change Michigan Republicans’ minds, Ferguson remains ready to stand in the way of what he labels “an illegal, undemocratic scheme.”
Experts have also questioned the legality of such a strategy from Trump, with many states enacting laws in recent years to penalize electors who flout the popular vote of their respective states.
“If the electors have lost their superpowers to an emerging democratic consensus, then legislatures must have lost them as well,” Harvard law professors Lawrence Lessig and Jason Harrow wrote in a recent blog post. “It would be a complete perversion of the Framers’ design to remove the constitutional discretion of electors but accept a constitutionally unconstrained power in the state legislatures.”