The US Supreme Court has rejected an unprecedented attempt to throw out election results in four battleground states that was backed by President Donald Trump.
The lawsuit, filed this week by the state of Texas, sought to invalidate results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
President-elect Joe Biden won all four.
The lawsuit was supported by 18 state attorneys general and 106 Republican members of Congress.
But in a brief order rejecting the bid, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Texas did not have legal standing to bring the case.
The ruling represents a setback for Mr Trump, who has previously suggested without evidence that the result of November’s presidential election would be settled in the Supreme Court.
The court rejected a separate legal challenge against Mr Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania earlier this week, dismissing it in a one-sentence ruling.
Mr Trump has made repeated unsubstantiated assertions that “illegal votes” cost him a second presidential term.
Since the election, Mr Trump and his supporters have launched dozens of lawsuits questioning the results of the election. None have come close to overturning Mr Biden’s victory.
The Democratic candidate defeated Mr Trump by a margin of 306 to 232 votes in the US electoral college, which chooses the US president. Mr Biden won seven million more votes than the president nationwide.
The electoral college is expected to meet on Monday to formally elect Mr Biden as the 46th president of the US.
What reaction has there been to the ruling?
“There’s no way to say it other than they dodged,” said White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, referring to the judges. “They dodged, they hid behind procedure, and they refused to use their authority to enforce the constitution.”
A spokesman for Mr Biden said it was “no surprise” the Supreme Court rejected “baseless attempts” to deny Mr Trump lost the election.
“Our nation’s highest court saw through this seditious abuse of our electoral process,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said on Twitter.
Dana Nessel, Michigan’s Democratic attorney general, said the ruling was “an important reminder that we are a nation of laws, and though some may bend to the desire of a single individual, the courts will not”.
The tone was gloomier among Republicans.
The chairman of the Republican Party in Texas, Allen West, said the court’s decision would have “far-reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic”.
“Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution,” he said in a statement.