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ND officials predicted electoral vote lawsuit would fail

January 16, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Emails indicate North Dakota’s attorney general signed onto the Texas lawsuit over the presidential election despite expectations from some of his top officials that the legal challenge would fail.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the lawsuit which 17 states signed onto in support of Texas’ claim which sought to overturn the electoral votes in several key states on the grounds that non-legislative officials had wrongly changed election procedures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s deputy solicitor general told Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem he thought the high court would deny the case “in one sentence.”

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Shortly before the state signed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit, Deputy Solicitor General Jim Nicolai told state Solicitor General Matt Sagsveen that “The decision whether we join this amicus is more political than it is legal,” the Bismarck Tribune reported after obtaining hundreds of state emails and other records.

Stenehjem, a Republican, told the Tribune he and Nicolai “conferred about it and the decision of course was mine ... and we understood that it was quite possible the Supreme Court would refuse to hear the case and if that was it, that would be it.”

“The decision that I made was based on what I thought was sensible knowing that the Supreme Court would end it and hoping that it would end it sooner than have these things linger,” he said.

Stenehjem has said North Dakota incurred no cost for joining the lawsuit.