STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Have Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and South Dakota all joined Texas's lawsuit filed with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn election results in four battleground states? No, that's not true: No states have officially joined Texas's lawsuit yet as parties to the suit.
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and South Dakota have joined an 18-state "friend of the court" brief filed in support of Texas' case.
Kentucky has neither joined the case as a plaintiff nor joined the 18 states who filed the friend of the court brief in support of Texas.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published by "Dixie Outfitters" on December 8, 2020. The post read:
BREAKING: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and South Dakota join Texas's lawsuit challenging election procedures in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. iadaily.com
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Dec 9 15:51:20 2020 UTC)
A so-called "friend of the court" brief is filed by someone who is not a party to a lawsuit, but wishes to supply information or insight they feel will be useful to the court, either on the merits of the plaintiffs' or defendants' cases or to point out to the court potentially unanticipated impacts of rulings.
Only attorneys general in Arkansas and Louisiana had, at the time of publication, made statements of support. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was less clear, however. "It is my expectation that the Court will act quickly in deciding whether to grant the State of Texas's request. That decision will instruct me as to how the State of Alabama will proceed in our fight to ensure election integrity," Marshall said in a statement. Marshall did not throw his support behind Texas's effort like Arkansas and Louisiana did.
Lead Stories reached out to the offices of the attorneys general in the other five states cited in the claim -- Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and South Dakota -- but only officials in South Dakota immediately responded. Lead Stories also reached out to the Texas attorney general and will update this report, as appropriate, when Texas responds.
Tim Bormann, chief of staff for South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, said that the post is "incorrect in its assertion" in an email to Lead Stories. Bormann added that the office of the attorney general "just received" the motion and is beginning the process of reviewing it. "Upon completion of that review a discussion will be held to determine whether or not South Dakota will join said case. We are, quite literally, very early in the process."
South Dakota later in the day joined the 18 states filing the friend of the court brief. That does not make them parties to the suit.
The origin of this claim, iadaily.com, belongs to a man by the name of Israel Anderson who has a substantial following online. The iadaily.com post does not link to a reputable source, but to Anderson's Parler account with the same misinformation:
BREAKING: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and South Dakota join Texas's lawsuit challenging election procedures in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. iadaily.com-- Israel Anderson israelanderson Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Anderson later issued a correction to the false post:
CORRECTION: AL, AR, FL, KY, LA, MS, SC and SD joined the Pennsylvania mail-in ballot deadline extension suit, not TX's lawsuit challenging election procedures in PA, MI, WI and GA. LA and AR are backing the TX suit. https://t.co/jerhOi68cbhttps://t.co/mOZ603z0Pq pic.twitter.com/D4LjFeY2HP-- President-Elect Israel Anderson (@IsraelAnderson) December 9, 2020
The correction was not precisely correct, either.
At the time the correction was posted, attorneys general in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas joined together to file an amicus curiae brief led by Attorney General Eric Schmitt of Missouri, supporting Pennsylvania Republicans' efforts to challenge the mail-in ballot extension deadline in the state.
Since then, all eight states, except Kentucky, joined into a "friend of the court" brief Missouri and 17 other states filed in support of Texas.
2020-12-09T20:39:00Z 2020-12-09T20:39:00ZUpdated to note that seven of the states mentioned have, since publication of the original fact-check, joined a "friend of the court" brief in support of Texas