Politics

Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy backs Texas' long-shot Supreme Court bid to overturn Biden wins

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Key Points
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., joined 125 other congressional Republicans in supporting Texas' long-shot Supreme Court lawsuit challenging Joe Biden's projected presidential victory.
  • McCarthy was included in a "friend of the court" brief led by Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., urging the high court to review the case filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton earlier this week.
  • Texas is asking the Supreme Court to declare that the Electoral College votes cast by electors in those four swing states "cannot be counted."
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the lawsuit "an act of flailing GOP desperation" and accused Republicans of "subverting the Constitution."
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks during a news conference with other House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 10, 2020.
Erin Scott | Reuters

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Friday joined 125 other congressional Republicans in supporting Texas' long-shot Supreme Court lawsuit challenging Joe Biden's projected presidential victory.

McCarthy, the top-ranking Republican in the House and a close ally of President Donald Trump, was included in a "friend of the court" brief led by Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., urging the high court to review the case filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton earlier this week.

Paxton's case accused Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin — four key swing states where Biden defeated Trump — of certifying "unlawful election results." Texas is asking the Supreme Court to declare that the Electoral College votes cast by electors in those four swing states "cannot be counted."

The alignment of the majority of the House GOP conference behind the Supreme Court bid to effectively reverse the outcome of the 2020 election came after all 50 states and Washington, D.C., certified their election results. Biden is projected to win 306 electoral votes, compared with 232 for Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a scathing Dear Colleague letter accused Republicans supporting the case of engaging in "election subversion that imperils our democracy."

"This lawsuit is an act of flailing GOP Desperation, which violates the principles enshrined in our American Democracy," Pelosi wrote.

"As Members of Congress, we take a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution," her letter said. "Republicans are subverting the Constitution by their reckless and fruitless assault on our democracy which threatens to seriously erode public trust in our most sacred democratic institutions, and to set back our progress on the urgent challenges ahead."

The Supreme Court has given no indication it will hear the case, and election law experts say the justices are highly unlikely to take it up. The unprecedented request by one state to have other states' votes invalidated in a presidential election has never before been granted.

But the lawsuit has nevertheless been hyped up by Trump, who is falsely claiming he won reelection while refusing to concede to Biden. Trump on Wednesday asked to intervene in Paxton's case.

Numerous other states where Trump won the popular vote have also signaled their support for Paxton's lawsuit, as have dozens of sitting Republican members of the House — a group that now includes McCarthy.

Despite news outlets calling the election for Biden weeks earlier, and with less than a week left until electors in their respective states cast their votes, many Republicans have been reluctant to acknowledge Biden won the election.

Asked point-blank on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday whether he accepts Biden's victory, McCarthy refused to give a yes-or-no answer.

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"Look, the electors have to go through and put forth that," McCarthy said in his response. "The president, he has to make sure that every legal vote is counted, every recount is done, and make sure every complaint [is being] heard inside court. Once that's done, I think the election will be over and the electors will make their decision."

McCarthy had not been included in an earlier such amicus brief filed to the court Thursday, which was also led by Johnson and was co-signed by 106 total Republican House members.

Johnson said on Twitter that the 20 additional Republicans added to his latest brief to the court had previously been left out because of a "clerical error."

-- CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.