Pence Wants Last-Gasp Election Lawsuit Tossed

Suit seeks to give him power to overturn the results of the presidential election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 1, 2021 9:24 AM CST
Pence Wants Last-Gasp Election Lawsuit Tossed
Vice President Mike Pence waves as he walks off the stage after speaking at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to dismiss a last-gasp lawsuit led by a House Republican that seeks to give Vice President Pence the power to overturn the results of the presidential election won by Joe Biden when Congress formally counts the Electoral College votes next week. Pence, as president of the Senate, will oversee the Wednesday session and declare the winner of the White House race. The suit names Pence, who has a largely ceremonial role in next week's proceedings, as the defendant and asks the court to throw out the 1887 law that spells out how Congress handles the vote counting. It asserts that the vice president "may exercise the exclusive authority and sole discretion in determining which electoral votes to count for a given State," per the AP.

The Justice Department is representing Pence, and in a court filing in Texas on Wednesday, the department said Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert and a group of Republican electors from Arizona "have sued the wrong defendant"—if, in fact, any of those suing actually have "a judicially cognizable claim." "It is the role prescribed for the Senate and the House of Representatives in the Electoral Count Act to which plaintiffs object, not any actions that Vice President Pence has taken. ... A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction."

(Read more Louie Gohmert stories.)

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