Amid continued efforts by some GOP lawmakers to overturn the reported results of the presidential election, one such ploy seeks to essentially give Vice President Mike Pence the authority to count alternate electoral votes when Congress convenes next week to ratify the results.
According to Politico, however, a Department of Justice attorney representing Pence is asking a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
GOP lawmakers plan to object
The court filing was initially brought by U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and cited a 19th-century law in making his argument that the vice president should have increased powers in the upcoming counting process.
According to the Electoral Count Act, the vice president unveils and formally introduces the vote tally from each state’s electors. From there, lawmakers have the option to accept or challenge the results, triggering a House and Senate debate and legislative vote.
Some of this will play out on Wednesday when a number of House Republicans are reportedly prepared to object to some of the electors. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has indicated he would join them with an objection in the upper chamber.
Gohmert, however, is taking action to target Pence directly by hoping to toss out the Electoral Count Act on the assertion that it is actually unconstitutional.
If successful, Pence would be granted the power to determine which electoral votes to introduce. This would, for all intents and purposes, give the vice president the ability to select the next commander in chief.
“A walking legal contradiction”
For his part, however, Pence’s lawyer filed a brief asking the judge in the case to throw out Gohmert’s suit, reports said.
“A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction,” the brief states.
If anything, Pence is arguing that the lawsuit should have been filed against Congress.
“It would be the Senate and the House of Representatives that are best positioned to defend the Act,” Pence’s brief continues. “Indeed, as a matter of logic, it is those bodies against whom plaintiffs’ requested relief must run.”
Of course, Pence is not arguing against the substance of the lawsuit, only the procedural aspects of it. He has not yet publicly commented on the matter and Gohmert is still expected to file a response to the brief.