Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert lawsuit argued that vice-president Mike Pence is more than just a “glorified envelope-opener in chief” and he has the power to pick the next President based on his reading of the validity of the electoral votes. Pence “may count elector votes certified by a state’s executive, or he can prefer a competing slate of duly qualified electors. He may ignore all electors from a certain state. That is the power bestowed upon him by the Constitution,” the lawsuit argued, seeking to overturn norms and conventions that have been in place for more than a century.
Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, threw out the case saying neither Gohmert nor his fellow plaintiffs have a sufficient legal stake in the process to justify the lawsuit. Gohmert said he would appeal the ruling.
Pence himself, represented by lawyers from the administration’s Justice Department turned his back on the argument, contending that the case is “a walking legal contradiction,” even though it sought to give the vice-president more power. Lawyers for the House of Representatives also urged the judge to reject the suit, maintaining that it called for “a radical departure from our constitutional procedures and consistent legislative practices” and would “authorize the Vice President to ignore the will of the Nation’s voters.”
A majority of lawmakers, including prominent GOP Senators, have also acknowledged that Biden won the elections fair and square, and see the Gohmert effort as nothing more than a political ploy by radical Republicans from ruby red districts. “All the clever arguments and rhetorical gymnastics in the world won’t change the fact that this January 6th effort is designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party. We ought to be better than that,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse said.
Such lawmakers have attracted Trump’s ire, with the defeated President who commands the support of radical storm troopers in the party threatening to have them “primaried” – defeated in inner-party election. With Pence compelled to formally declare Biden elected at the joint session on January 6, the stage is set for a conspicuous cleave – if not a formal split – in the Republican Party.
Some 140 lawmakers Republican lawmakers are expected to oppose Pence’s declaration that Biden has been elected President based on electoral college votes in a process that has long been seen as ceremonial and has never been challenged. The objection leading to a debate that is expected to last couple of hours will only delay the inevitable.
Trump and his loyalists have called for a “StopTheSteal” rally in Washington at the same time Congress is convening. “Massive amounts of evidence will be presented on the 6th. We won, BIG!” the defeated President tweeted on Friday even though his lawyers failed to present such evidence in courts, lost nearly 50 cases, and now face rejection in Congress.
The Congressional seal of approval on the Biden-Harris victory will be preceded by results from the two Senate run-off elections in Georgia on January 5 which could potentially give Democrats a trifecta – control of the Senate (current 50-48 in Republican favor) in addition to their White House and House of Representatives wins. Trump himself has queered the pitch for the two Georgia Republican Senators trying to hold their seats by calling the elections “illegal and invalid” even though he is scheduled to campaign for them on Monday.