Idaho’s legal support for failed Texas election suit had N. Idaho ties

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

An amicus brief showing Idaho’s support for the lawsuit challenging election procedures in four states boasts North Idaho origins, as the names of District 1 Reps. Heather Scott and Sage Dixon, along with Sandpoint attorney Colton Boyles, appear in the brief, which was filed one day ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the suit due to lack of standing.

Texas led the charge in the legal challenge, which alleged that election processes in four states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — were unlawful, and the 2020 election results in those states should therefore be thrown out. President-elect Joe Biden won all four states in November, but had the court determined those votes null and void, President Donald Trump would have come out victorious. 

The highest court in the land rejected the suit Dec. 11 and the Electoral College voted Dec. 14 to certify Biden’s win as the 46th president of the United States. 

“Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,” the court stated in its order.

The SCOTUS decision echoed concerns that Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden shared in a statement Dec. 10 amid pressure from across the state to join Texas in the lawsuit.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Wasden, a Republican, also acknowledged the tense political atmosphere surrounding the legal challenge.

“As is sometimes the case, the legally correct decision may not be the politically convenient decision,” he said. “But my responsibility is to the State of Idaho and the rule of law.”

Hours after Wasden made his position known, Gov. Brad Little announced that he would throw his support behind the Idaho GOP as it endorsed the Texas lawsuit.

“Idaho’s elections are safe and secure, and we expect the same of other states,” Little stated in a news release. “Protecting the sanctity of the voting process is paramount to ensuring a strong democratic process, and our citizens need the confidence that their vote counts.”

Little’s announcement signaled a rare united front with Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin as she announced the same day that she’d be teaming up with Scott and other legislators from Idaho, Arizona and Alaska as they filed an amicus brief in support of Texas’ suit. 

McGeachin has repeatedly criticized Little, particularly over his COVID-19 response, which she feels is an overreach, and has vocally allied herself with the hard-right wing of the GOP, elements of which have gone so far as to call for his impeachment. 

“I greatly appreciate the hard work of Idaho Rep. Heather Scott in spearheading this effort and the diligent efforts undertaken by Richard Seamon, The MacPherson Group, and Boyles Law to make this amicus brief possible,” McGeachin stated in a news release announcing the filing of the brief.

One law firm to which the lieutenant governor referred has roots in Sandpoint: Boyles Law.

Self-described on his website as a “North Idaho freedom-fighting attorney,” D. Colton Boyles — previously of Davillier Law Group — was the lawyer who drafted the August 2019 letter to the city of Sandpoint on behalf of the Bonner County commissioners, warning city officials of the alleged unconstitutionality of The Festival at Sandpoint’s gun ban policy. That letter evolved into a legal complaint, which a district judge ruled more than a year later the county lacked the standing necessary to bring before the court.

Boyles has since started his own firm, representing plaintiffs in lawsuits against Idaho’s stay-at-home order and, more locally, the Panhandle Health District’s adoption in July of a mask mandate for Kootenai County.

In response to the SCOTUS decision to reject the Texas suit, Boyles told the Reader in a text message that “a partisan self-appointed oligarchy has elevated itself above the Legislatures of the Defendant States.”

“The Guarantee Clause of the Constitution, which places a duty on the United States to guarantee that each state in the Union has a republican form of government, does not allow this result,” he continued. “Only the Court can address this, and we implore it to act. All states clearly have a cognizable interest and duty to enforce and require legal elections in all other sister states. To deny mandatory original jurisdiction is itself a violation of the guarantee clause, diminishes legally cast votes, constitutes the dereliction of the justices’ oath, and allows another fatal attack on the rule of law in the face of widespread election fraud. The plot to steal the election started before the death of Seth Rich and will end as the final phase of the ‘insurance policy.’”

Dixon shared in an email with the Reader that he was “disappointed that the Supreme Court decided not to hear the Texas suit.”  

“I signed on to the amicus brief because I considered the Texas filing legitimate,” he continued, “and felt Idahoans had a vested interest in maintaining the rule of law, as well as upholding a pursuit of truth.”

Scott did not reply to a request for comment.

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