This conservative lawyer played a key role in lawsuits filed by GOP state attorneys general to overturn the election
A well-known Conservative Christian lawyer played a behind-the-scenes role in the December lawsuit filed by Republican attorneys general to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
According to The New York Times, Michael P. Farris — the chief executive of the conservative Christian nonprofit advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom — was responsible for circulating a comprehensive draft of what became the lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) in hopes of overturning the presidential election in favor of former President Donald Trump.
Per the publication:
"Our Country stands at an important crossroads," the complaint filed by Mr. Paxton said in its opening argument. Those words were lifted verbatim from the draft Mr. Farris had sent, as was a subsequent passage asserting that "either the Constitution matters and must be followed, even when some officials consider it inconvenient or out of date, or it is simply a piece of parchment on display at the National Archives. We ask the Court to choose the former."
After making small changes to the draft, Paxton filed the lawsuit on December 7. The Times reports that the lawsuit was also filed in multiple other battleground states including Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In total, 17 Republican attorneys general filed Supreme Court briefs in support of Paxton's lawsuit. However, the lawsuit was tossed out of court in just four days.
Farris' contribution to the legal effort to overturn the presidential election underscores how Christian conservatives also circulated claims of voter fraud perpetuated by Trump.
The chief deputy attorney general in South Carolina, one of several Republicans whom Mr. Farris and a team of other conservative lawyers were trying to convince to file the lawsuit. On November 30, Farris wrote an email addressed to South Carolina's chief deputy attorney general in an effort to convince him to file a lawsuit challenging the election results.
"Please find a much-improved version of the complaint attached," Farris wrote. "I will call you and update you on the alternatives."
Although Farris reportedly declined to be interviewed by the Times, he did respond by email admitting his involvement in the post-election effort to overturn the election.
"While it's true that I care about this issue on a personal level, it is not something that ADF works on in any capacity," he wrote. "As President and CEO, my charge is to focus on ADF's mission, which is to protect Americans' God-given freedoms. I have nothing to say about the details of the way forward on the issue of election integrity other than the hope that all Americans take the issue seriously."