Vice President Mike Pence refused to sign on to a plan that would upend Congress certifying the election on January 6 for President-elect Joe Biden.
Earlier this week, Rep. Louie Gohmert and Arizona’s slate of Republican Electoral College ‘electors’ filed a federal lawsuit to get a judge to say Pence has the power to pick pro-Trump electors when he presides over the Congressional session where he will finalize the presidential election results.
Politico reported late Tuesday night that a legal filing in the case indicated that Gohmert and the electors’ lawyers had reached out to Pence in advance, trying to work out a deal – and it was shot down.
Vice President Mike Pence refused to sign on to a plan that would have him choose to read the votes cast by President Donald Trump’s ‘electors’ in states that President-elect Joe Biden won when he presides over a Congressional session to finalize the election on January 6
Rep. Louie Gohmert and Arizona’s slate of Republican ‘electors’ have sued Vice President Mike Pence in an effort to get a Texas-base federal judge to give Pence the right to choose which electoral votes count
President Donald Trump is seen from his motorcade Wednesday as he headed to his West Palm Beach golf club. His allies want Vice President Mike Pence to ignore Electoral College votes cast for President-elect Biden during the January 6 Congressional session
Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, and other ‘electors’ joined the lawsuit. On the same day the actual Electoral College met, groups of Republican electors gathered in key swing states that President-elect Joe Biden won and voted for President Donald Trump
‘In the teleconference, Plaintiff’s counsel made a meaningful attempt to resolve the underlying legal issues by agreement, including advising the Vice President’s counsel that Plaintiffs intended to seek immediate injunctive relief in the event the parties did not agree,’ Gohmert’s filing said. ‘Those discussions were not successful in reaching an agreement and this lawsuit was filed.’
The group, which includes Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, is suing Pence because they want Texas-based U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle to grant the vice president expanded powers to choose pro-Trump electors.
Kernodle, so far, as agreed to expedite proceedings, but did not agree to hold a hearing on the case.
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.’
On December 14, when Electoral College electors were meeting in state capitals around the nation, groups of Republican ‘electors’ did so in states that Trump didn’t win and cast votes for him.
Among those states was Arizona and the lawsuit argues that Pence, as president of the Senate, should be able to choose which set of electors’ votes 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.
A thread from the GOP-leaning polling firm Rasmussen Reports suggested Pence could also simply refuse to open and read the results from states that Trump and his allies have claimed were plagued by widespread voter fraud, of which there is no evidence.
The Hill Newspaper first reported on the lawsuit.
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.
Trump and his allies have tried legal case after case to try and find a loophole to get courts to declare the Republican president the victor of the 2020 race.
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden won the presidential election by more than 7 million votes and earned 306 Electoral College votes, compared to Trump’s 232.
The December 14 meeting of the Electoral College cemented that count.
Then, on January 6, Pence will preside over what’s usually a ceremonial meeting of Congress to count the votes.
House members and senators are allowed to object to states’ counts – and Gohmert said he plans to engage in that effort.
A number of GOP House members plan to object to counts in key swing states, but debate won’t occur unless they’re joined by a U.S. senator.
Trump has been pressuring incoming Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville to voice objections.
If that were to occur, lawmakers would debate the objections in their respective chambers, with a majority vote needed to kill the effort.
There are enough votes in the House and the Senate to overrule any objections and so while the effort could delay the reporting of the vote, it won’t change the result.