Having lost the popular vote, the Electoral College and 59 court cases seeking to overturn the will of the voters, President Trump would appear to be out of options when it comes to the prospect of remaining in office past Jan. 20. But some of the president’s most ardent supporters still see one last ray of hope: Vice President Mike Pence.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, filed a far-fetched lawsuit on Sunday against Pence, who, by law, is slated to preside over the counting of the electoral votes in Congress on Jan. 6, when Joe Biden will formally be declared the winner of the presidential election.
Joined by a group of Republicans, Gohmert is asking the court to grant Pence the sole authority to overturn Trump’s defeat in key battleground states, rather than to simply oversee the Electoral College vote tally.
“Under the Twelfth Amendment, Defendant Pence alone has the exclusive authority and sole discretion to open and permit the counting of the electoral votes for a given state, and where there are competing slates of electors, or where there is objection to any single slate of electors, to determine which electors’ votes, or whether none, shall be counted,” the lawsuit states.
The case, which legal scholars say has next to no chance of yielding the outcome hoped for by the plaintiffs, will be heard by Texas Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee.
Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer who specializes in elections, did not mince words after reviewing Gohmert’s attempt to allow Pence to simply pick the winner of the 2020 election.
I typically ignore Gohmert, but I sense some are nervous. Don't be. This lawsuit is nonsense.
I wish I could say its the dumbest thing Gohmert has ever done, but it's not. The real scandal is that he is still a member of Congress.https://t.co/tGfvn9mrli
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) December 28, 2020
Yet Gohmert and his Republican co-litigants aren’t the only ones hoping for a Jan. 6 miracle. A small group of Republican House members also plan to challenge the election results in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Wisconsin — states that have all certified Biden as the winner.
Along with Gohmert, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., will seek to overturn the election results in a dramatic last stand on the floor of Congress before the final tally of electoral votes.
“We have a superior role under the Constitution than the Supreme Court does, than any federal court judge does, than any state court judge does,” Brooks told the New York Times. “What we say, goes. That’s the final verdict.”
On its Twitter feed, conservative pollster Rasmussen Reports went so far as to cite a quote often attributed to 20th-century Russian dictator Joseph Stalin when endorsing the idea of letting Pence decide to keep his running mate in office.
Come January 6th:
(Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything. - Stalin)
"Come January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence will be presented with the sealed certificates containing the ballots of the presidential electors.
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) December 27, 2020
“There is nothing stopping Pence, under the (plenary and unappealable) authority vested in him as President of the Senate, from declining to open and count the certificates from the six disputed states,” Rasmussen continued.
How Pence will respond on Jan. 6 amid challenges by some Republican lawmakers to the Electoral College outcome remains to be seen. The vice president has long been rumored to have presidential aspirations of his own, and the sight of him declaring Biden the winner is not likely to sit well with Trump’s most ardent supporters. Yet a growing chorus of voices on the right is now urging Trump to concede his election loss.
Pence has kept a relatively low profile in recent days. Over the weekend, Pence, who is the head of the president’s coronavirus task force, broke the committee’s own travel guidelines when he went for a ski vacation in Vail, Colo. That trip went forward despite the fact that the president had refused to sign a stimulus bill meant to help Americans suffering due to the pandemic.
Hours after Pence is scheduled to declare Biden the winner of the election, he is due to leave the country on a trip to Bahrain, Israel and Poland, NBC News reported.
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