Idaho Dispatch

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Idaho AG’s Office Declines to Join Texas Lawsuit

By • December 10, 2020

UPDATE: Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has issued the following statement:

“I’ve spent substantial time reviewing Texas’s Bill of Complaint so I could fully understand and consider the legal arguments being made. After doing so, I am declining to join this effort.

“As I have done since the day I took my oath of office – in which I pledged to uphold and protect both the Idaho and U.S. constitutions – I strive to protect the State of Idaho’s legal interests. As is sometimes the case, the legally correct decision may not be the politically convenient decision. But my responsibility is to the State of Idaho and the rule of law.

“This decision is necessary to protect Idaho’s sovereignty. As Attorney General, I have significant concerns about supporting a legal argument that could result in other states litigating against legal decisions made by Idaho’s legislature and governor. Idaho is a sovereign state and should be free to govern itself without interference from any other state. Likewise, Idaho should respect the sovereignty of its sister states.”

A number of legal challenges are still working their way through the courts regarding the 2020 presidential election.

One of those challenges comes from the state of Texas, which has filed a lawsuit with the United States Supreme Court. Another 18 other states have joined the Lone Star legal challenge, which states that Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan violated the U.S. Constitution with how their election laws were changed in the weeks and months leading up to the Nov. 3 general election.

The Idaho Republican Party, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, Republican legislative leaders, and a number of other lawmakers have encouraged Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to join the suit.

However, Idaho Dispatch has obtained an email from Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane in which he informs Sen. Christy Zito, R-Hammett, that Wasden’s office will not join the lawsuit.

Zito, who served two terms in the Idaho House before winning a seat in the Idaho Senate this year, originally submitted questions to Wasden’s office regarding the suit after she had received a number of inquiries from her constituents.

Kane confirmed in the office’s official response that Idaho will not join the suit because the challenge, the office contends, conflicts with state sovereignty over election protocols. Here’s Kane’s full email response to Zito: 

Hi Senator Zito—

Idaho will not be joining Texas’s suit.  Idaho is a sovereign state within the Union, and as such respects the sovereignty of her sister states.  Each state has its own election laws as granted by the United States Constitution in Article 1, Section 4, cl. 1. (States have authority to regulate time, places, manner of elections).  This office is unaware of any credible allegation of election fraud or election procedure arising to the level of a violation of the United States Constitution—particularly when placed against the backdrop of the Constitution’s express grant of authority to states over elections.  Just because Idaho does not agree with, or would not have conducted the election in the manner that another state did, does not mean that State’s election was unconstitutional.  Finally, election law is very clear that election results will not be set aside absent extreme circumstances—no such circumstance has been identified to date.  

I hope that you find this response helpful.


Zito, in a comment emailed to Idaho Dispatch, condemned Wasden’s office. 

I find it very unfortunate that the Attorney General of the State of Idaho refused to join in protecting the validity and integrity of the election process in this great country. A number of other states have joined the Texas lawsuit and I believe there is some valid concerns that warrant Idaho also being a part of that lawsuit.

Here are the 18 other states that have joined the lawsuit: Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Arizona.

Maryland has declined to join the lawsuit.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, for his part, has not signaled his opinion on the matter. Idaho Dispatch reached out to the governor for comment. 

Do you believe Wasden’s office should join the Texas lawsuit or is Wasden making the right call his legal abstention?

Let us know in the comments below

Tags: Donald Trump, Idaho, Idaho GOP, Janice McGeachin, Joe Biden, Lawrence Wasden, Texas Lawsuit