Vice President Mike Pence has asked a judge to toss out Rep. Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit that aims to give Pence the power to overturn the presidential election result.
Gohmert and Arizona‘s slate of GOP ‘alternate’ electors sued Pence to expand his powers, so that he can solely determine which Electoral College votes to count when he presides over the January 6 session of Congress to make President-elect Joe Biden‘s win official.
Pence’s Justice Department lawyer, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Coghlan, pointed out a basic fallacy in this case – in order to sue, the plaintiff and the defendant must be in opposition.
Vice President Mike Pence’s Justice Department lawyer wants a judge to toss out a case being spearheaded by Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert that seeks to expand Pence’s powers so that he can choose which Electoral College votes count
Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, filed a federal lawsuit in Texas alongside Arizona’s ‘alternate’ Electoral College electors – and now some of Michigan’s too – that seeks to allow Vice President Mike Pence to choose Trump electors over Biden electors on January 6
In this case, Gohmert and Pence’s interests are aligned.
‘The Vice President is not the proper defendant in this lawsuit,’ Coghlan wrote. ‘The Vice President – the only defendant in this case – is ironically the very person whose power they seek to promote.’
‘A suit to establish that the vice president has discretion over the count, filed against the vice president, is a walking legal contradition,’ Coghlan noted in a Thursday night filing.
Still, on Friday, a number of Michigan’s ‘alternate’ electors filed a brief in the case.
If Trump had won Michigan, these individuals would have been the state’s members of the Electoral College.
However, because Trump didn’t win Michigan, the state’s electors are Democrats – and cast their votes in favor of Biden in Lansing on December 14.
In court documents the rogue electors say that ‘with the permission and endorsement of the Michigan Legislature’ they cast votes in favor of President Donald Trump ‘at the time, place, and manner required under Michigan state law and the Electoral Count Act.’
‘At the same time, Michigan’s Governor and Secretary of State appointed a separate and competing slate of electors who cast Michigan’s electoral votes for former Vice-President Joseph R. Biden, despite the evidence of massive multi-state electoral fraud committed on Biden’s behalf that changed electoral results in Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other states that have also put forward competing slates of Presidential Electors,’ the court document reads.
The group did not have the permission of the Michigan legislature – with Michigan State Police blocking their access to the capitol – but they did have approval from the White House.
On December 14, White House aide Stephen Miller revealed a plot to have separate Republican electors cast votes for Trump in key swing states including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
‘As we speak, today, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we’re going to send those results up to Congress,’ Miller said on ‘Fox & Friends.’ ‘This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open. That means if we win these cases in the courts, we can direct that these alternate electors be certified.’
This is where the Gohmert lawsuit comes in.
The suit argues that the Electoral Count Act, which was passed in 1887, violates the 12th Amendment, which outlines the procedure for electing the president and vice president.
The amendment, which was ratified in 1804, says that the ‘President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall be counted.’
The lawsuit argues that the ‘President of the Senate,’ which is Pence, has the sole authority to determine which votes to count.
‘That, with respect to competing slates of electors from the State of Arizona or other Contested States, the Twelfth Amendment contains the exclusive dispute resolution mechanisms, namely, that (i) Vice-President Pence determines which slate of electors’ votes count, or neither, for that State,’ the lawsuit says.
Legal experts called the reasoning laughable.
Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe tweeted that Gohmert effort ‘may be the dumbest law suit of all’ adding that it’s ‘jaw-droppingly stupid.’
‘The idea that the Vice President has sole authority to determine whether or not to count electoral votes submitted by a state, or which of competing submissions to count, is inconsistent with a proper understanding of the Constitution,’ Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley told The Hill.
Gohmert will also be joining the effort backed by more than 140 House Republicans to object to state vote counts during the Congressional session.
Congress has the power to toss out Electoral College votes – though has never dones so.
If a House member and a senator both sign on to an objection, lawmakers debate the merits of that objection and then vote.
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, has said he will file objections, but he hasn’t said how many states’ votes he will protest.
That effort, which could drag out the January 6 session for hours, even days, is doomed to fail, as only a simple majority is needed to knock down an objection.
With Democrats in control of the House and enough Republicans objecting to the plot in the Senate, Biden’s win will get the Congressional seal of approval.