This story was updated Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, at 7:12 p.m. with more information.
Both Tennessee congressmen representing the Chattanooga area signed an amicus brief supporting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's unsuccessful effort to overturn the election results in Georgia and three other battleground states.
More than half of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and the attorneys general of 17 states won by President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election — including Tennessee — lined up in support of the legal action, rejected late Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court.
They had hoped to forestall Monday's Electoral College proceedings in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Democrat Joe Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump.
"It is incredibly important that Americans have trust in our elections," said U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah, in a statement to the Times Free Press on Friday. "The fact is that many Americans have concerns about irregularities in the 2020 election, and those concerns deserve to be heard. This amicus brief requests that the Supreme Court uphold the authority of the state legislatures to establish the manner by which electors are appointed. Both parties should be in support of ensuring the integrity and transparency of our elections."
He said on Twitter, "One person, one vote. It's that simple."
The legal effort challenged the legality of pre-election rule changes made in Georgia and the three other battleground states that went for Biden, to accommodate an unprecedented election during a pandemic.
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-South Pittsburg, was not initially listed on a brief signed by 106 Republican members of the House of Representatives. He was listed on a later version signed by 126.
"An important question is, of course, a legal question, concerning the constitutionality of last-minute election law changes made by executive orders without the approval of the state legislatures," DesJarlais said in a statement to the Times Free Press.
"There is no question that changes in state election laws were made by executive orders without legislative approval (usually under the guise of COVID) to allow for ballots to be allowed after deadlines had passed and mail-ins and absentees to be allowed under far more liberal circumstances which created an environment that allowed 'vote harvesting' and thousands of ballots to be counted days and weeks after the election – without the requisite standards of verification that we should expect for a secure election.
"This issue is also the premise of the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of Texas. I do believe it is a valid constitutional question."
All of Tennessee's Republican members of congress co-signed the brief except for outgoing Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City. All of Georgia's Republican members signed on, too, except for Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, who also is retiring.
President Donald Trump has raised ongoing concerns about irregularities in the Nov. 3 election, even though judges across the nation have rejected his arguments and top-ranking members of his own administration have said there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
His most active ongoing challenge was the failed Texas effort. Officials in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia rejected Texas's idea of widespread fraud affecting the outcome of the election.
"The allegations in the lawsuit are false and irresponsible," Georgia's deputy secretary of state, Jordan Fuchs, said in a statement. "Texas alleges that there are 80,000 forged signatures on absentee ballots in Georgia, but they don't bring forward a single person who this happened to. That's because it didn't happen."
In a legal brief successfully asking the Supreme Court to reject the Texas lawsuit, Pennsylvania wrote, "The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated. Let us be clear. Texas invites this court to overthrow the votes of the American people and choose the next president of the United States. That Faustian invitation must be firmly rejected."
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, took issue with the effort by his House colleagues in an interview with the "Meet the Press" television show, set to air on Sunday,
"That doesn't sound like a very Republican argument to me," he said. "I mean, our position, my position, Republicans believe that states are in charge of elections. Texas is a big state, but I don't know exactly why it has a right to tell other states how to run their elections, so I'm having a hard time figuring out the basis for that lawsuit."
Alexander is retiring. U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who remains in office, joined a similar failed effort among GOP senators to back the Texas effort.
"I fully support Tennessee's joining of the amicus brief in the Texas lawsuit to ensure states abide by the Constitution when it comes to our elections," she said on Twitter.