Even as President Donald Trump continues pursuing election-related challenges in the wake of last month’s election, a group of GOP leaders is filing a lawsuit against a member of the president’s inner circle.
U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) is leading the charge in a court case aimed at pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to approve pro-Trump electors when the Senate convenes to certify the results of a recent Electoral College vote declaring Democratic nominee Joe Biden the winner.
The news comes just days before Congress is set to meet on Jan. 6 to certify each state’s vote.
Gohmert’s lawsuit argues that Pence, as the president of the Senate, has the power to choose electors when two competing sets of Electoral College votes are submitted.
The Texas legislator is not targeting the vice president personally but seeks to convince U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle to grant Pence the necessary authority to pull off such a rare and unprecedented move.
Kernodle is a Trump appointee, but there is no indication whether he might be amenable to Gohmert’s request.
For his part, Gohmert is basing his case on the assertion that the Electoral Count Act of 1887 inherently violates the U.S. Constitution.
As he wrote in his complaint, the perceived violation stems from the 19th-century law’s directive that the vice president must “count the electoral votes for a State that have been appointed in violation of the Electors Clause” while limiting or eliminating “his exclusive authority and sole discretion under the Twelfth Amendment to determine which slates of electors for a State, or neither, may be counted.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that the Electoral Count Act “replaces the Twelfth Amendment’s dispute resolution procedure — under which the House of Representatives has sole authority to choose the President.”
According to The Hill, litigants are essentially encouraging Kernodle to allow Pence to overturn the election results in certain swing states where Biden was declared victorious.
While many Trump supporters are praising Gohmert’s longshot bid, many critics on both sides of the aisle are dismissing it as a nonstarter.
According to Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley, the notion that Pence “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.”