Federal Judge dismisses Gohmert's attempt to force Pence decide election results

A federal judge on Friday dismissed lawsuit that aimed to give Vice President Mike Pence the power to overturn the results.

Photo: Fox News

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit registered by Congressman Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas on Friday that would empower Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally decide the 2020 election results rather than have Congress count the electoral votes on January 6. Pence and the Department of Justice on Thursday had advised the court to reject Gohmert's lawsuit, saying the power lies with the House and the Senate. 

U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas ruled out the plaintiffs  saying they lack "standing" to sue, since they claim "institutional injury" to the House of Representatives, but "that is insufficient to support standing."

Gohmert's writ was part of the desperate GOP attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election using baseless allegations of mass voter fraud and charging that in multiple states,  President-elect Joe Biden won illegally changed their voting rules due to the pandemic. Those arguments have been proven false dozens of times in state and federal courts over the past two months.

Gohmert and a team of would-be Trump electors from Arizona had said only Pence could decide what electoral votes count -- a remarkable argument suggesting vice presidents can directly determine who wins a presidential election, regardless of what the results come out.

The House and the Senate are set to count the Electoral votes on January 6, an event that usually draws little fanfare. But some of Trump's supporters are using it as a last-ditch attempt to overturn the results from 2020 presidential election. 

In the lawsuit Gohmert had claimed that Pence has the "sole" power to decide the outcome of the election, and Gohmert said he had 140 House members willing to object to the election results.

"Under the Constitution, he has the authority to conduct that proceeding as he sees fit," Gohmert wrote in his lawsuit". He may count elector votes certified by a state's executive, or he can prefer a competing slate of duly qualified electors. He may ignore all electors from a certain state. That is the power bestowed upon him by the Constitution."

The Justice Department said on Thursday that Republican lawmakers can not overturn the 130-year-old law that governs how electoral votes are to be counted. Gohmert argued that giving Pence the unilateral power to decide the election results will "help smooth the path toward a reliable and peaceful conclusion to the presidential election process,"

As presiding officer of the Senate, Pence will have the total control over the counting of the votes, like President-elect Joe Biden did in 2017 for Trump's victory. If Pence refuses to preside over the count, then Senator Chuck Grassley, will step in to fill the void.

Lawmakers have the right to object to the results and Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri so far is the only senator who has said he will object. CBS News has found that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held a conference call on Thursday asking Hawley to lay out his plans, but Hawley wasn't present there.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said on Friday that Hawley's objection is "dangerous for democracy here and abroad," as it "continues to spread the false rumor that somehow the election was stolen."

GOP Majority Whip John Thune told in December that any objection is likely to "go down like a shot dog." Trump on Friday called Thune "Mitch's boy" and "RINO John Thune" in a tweet. Trump also tweeted that he would "hope to see" for his ally, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, to primary Thune in 2022. 

Thune also said that GOP leadership will be allowing the conference to "vote their conscience" on January 6 and described the Electoral College certification as "incredibly consequential, incredibly rare historically and very precedent setting."

Publish : 2021-01-02 11:55:00

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