Jan. 1 (UPI) — Lawyers for Vice President Mike Pence issued a filing asking a federal judge to reject a lawsuit seeking to expand his power to overturn the electoral votes cast in the 2020 presidential election.
The filing asks a federal judge to reject the lawsuit by Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, and several Arizona Republicans, saying that Pence is not the correct defendant and that the issue should instead be addressed to Congress.
“Plaintiffs have presented this Court with an emergency motion raising a host of weighty legal issues about the manner in which the electoral votes for President are to be counted,” Pence’s filing states. “But these plaintiff’s suit is not a proper vehicle for addressing those issues because plaintiffs have sued the wrong defendant.”
Gohmert’s lawsuit states that the Electoral Count Act unconstitutionally requires Pence to abide by the Electoral College count certified by the states and that the 12th Amendment grants him “exclusive authority and sole discretion” to determine whether the electors put forth by the state are valid and to replace them with Trump-appointed electors.
Pence’s filing notes that Gohmert’s interests are not sufficiently opposed to his own to justify a lawsuit, as their case would expand the vice president’s powers.
“The vice president — the only defendant in this case — is ironically the very person whose powers they seek to promote,” it states. “A suit to establish that the vice president has discretion over the count, filed against the vice president, is a walking legal contradiction.”
House General Counsel Doug Letter also filed an amicus brief calling for the dismissal of Gohmert’s case, describing it as a “radical departure from our constitutional procedures and consistent legislative practices.”
“This court should dismiss the complaint and deny the extraordinary and unprecedented relief requested: a declaration that the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional and an injunction that would interfere with the time-honored procedures of Congress for counting electoral votes. Plaintiffs lack standing; their claims are barred by laches; and their legal and constitutional claims — which this court should not reach — lack merit,” said Letter.