GOP Lawmaker Sues Mike Pence to Block Biden Win

He asks judge to give VP power to choose 'competing' slates of electors
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2020 3:15 PM CST
GOP Lawmaker Sues Mike Pence to Block Biden Win
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(Newser) – A conservative GOP congressman from Texas has filed what election law experts call an "insane" lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence in a bid to overturn Joe Biden's win. Rep. Louie Gohmert's lawsuit asks a federal judge to strike down the 1887 Electoral Count Law as unconstitutional and give Pence the "exclusive authority and sole discretion" to decide which electoral votes from a state should be counted, CNBC reports. He argues that Pence will be violating the Constitution if he fails to ignore the 1887 law, which establishes procedures for counting electoral votes. The suit asks Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, to give Pence the power to choose "competing" slates of electors from "contested states." Other plaintiffs include the 11 people Arizona Republicans nominated as an alternate slate of electors from the state.

The largely ceremonial role of the vice president in certifying election results is under the most scrutiny since Al Gore presided over the session of Congress that certified his own controversial defeat 20 years ago. Experts described the Gohmert lawsuit as extremely far-fetched and predicted that it will "go nowhere." "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," Edward Foley, a law professor at the Ohio State University, tells the Hill. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged fellow Republicans not to raise objections when Congress convenes on Jan. 6 to certify the results.)

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