Trials & Litigation

CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom had circulated proposed suit seeking to overturn election

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The president and CEO of a conservative Christian legal group played a behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to a report by the New York Times.

The lawyer is Michael Ferris of Alliance Defending Freedom, which has won 13 victories in the U.S. Supreme Court. They include the group’s win on narrow grounds for a Christian baker who cited religious reasons for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

Ferris circulated a draft of the lawsuit, which challenged election results in four other states. Paxton kept “large chunks” of the draft when he filed suit directly with the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 7, according to the New York Times.

The Supreme Court rejected the direct filing, saying Texas had not demonstrated “a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”

Ferris and other conservative lawyers had tried to get several Republican attorneys general to file the suit, according to the Times. Its article is based on materials received in an open-records request.

Ferris had opposed Trump before the 2016 election. But he later embraced Trump, partly for his appointment of conservative judges and his opposition to federal spending on abortions.

Ferris told the New York Times in an email that his involvement in the suit was not part of his work for Alliance Defending Freedom.

“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.”

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