VP Pence reportedly asks judge to dismiss GOP Rep’s bid to grant him power over electoral vote

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Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly moved to have a lawsuit dismissed that was seeking to give him more power in the upcoming electoral vote count in Congress.

Pence asked a federal judge on Thursday to reject the bid by U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert and other Republicans who filed the lawsuit this week to expand the role of the vice president and allow him to essentially overturn the 2020 election results which have handed Democrat Joe Biden the presidential victory.

The vice president told U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle in Texas Thursday that the lawsuit is a “contradiction” and he is not a proper defendant.

“A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction,” the 14-page filing, written by Department of Justice attorneys representing Pence, read.

(Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

“It would be the Senate and the House of Representatives that are best positioned to defend the Act. Indeed, as a matter of logic, it is those bodies against whom plaintiffs’ requested relief must run,” the filing said.

A reply from Gohmert to Pence’s brief is expected to be filed Friday and Kernolde, a Trump appointee in Tyler, Texas, has not yet scheduled a hearing in the case. Arizona’s 11 GOP electors signed on to Gohmert’s lawsuit seeking to declare the 1887 Electoral Count Act unconstitutional.

The law, established after the disputed presidential election of 1876, set procedures for counting electoral votes in Congress after presidential elections. It gives Pence a ceremonial role in the upcoming Jan. 6 meeting which Gohmert and others see as constraining the vice president, calling in the lawsuit to invalidate the law as unconstitutional.

According to Gohmert’s lawsuit, as president of the Senate, Pence would count the electoral votes under the authority of the 12th Amendment. In the case of the 2020 election, this count would then hopefully hand the electoral win to President Donald Trump.

But House General Counsel Doug Letter argued in the amicus curiae brief filed Thursday that the move is “meritless” and that the plaintiffs, which include Kelli Ward, who chairs the Arizona Republican Party, have no standing in the case.

“At bottom, this litigation seeks to enlist the federal courts in a belated and meritless assault on longstanding constitutional processes for confirming the results of a national election for President,” Letter said.

“Granting plaintiffs this extraordinary relief just days before the Joint Session would not only reward their inexcusably delayed filing,” Letter added, “it would also risk upending the orderly rules that have governed Congressional counting of electoral votes for more than a century and undermining the public’s confidence in the constitutionally prescribed processes for confirming—not overturning—the results of the election.”

Meanwhile, an effort to formally object to the 2020 Electoral College results is gathering steam with House Republicans. About 140 GOP House members plan to object to the vote certification next week.

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley announced that he plans to object to the certification of the election results, becoming the first GOP senator to openly join Republican House members and thereby force a debate and vote in both the chambers of Congress.

The Missouri lawmaker announced on Wednesday that he wants lawmakers to investigate potential voter fraud in several states and to pass measures “to secure the integrity of our elections” moving forward. On Thursday,  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has repeatedly called on GOP lawmakers not to be part of what he sees as a doomed effort to give Trump a second term, realized Hawley had skipped out on a conference call on the issue.

Frieda Powers

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