U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle has shot down a lawsuit that sought to give Vice President Mike Pence broad power to fight back against election fraud.
According to the Associated Press, Kernodle sided with Pence on Friday in a decision to dismiss the suit, which was brought against the vice president by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and a handful of other Republicans.
The suit charged that a late-1800s law defining procedures for Congress to certify the Electoral College vote is unconstitutional, and sought to give Pence the power to throw out individual states’ electoral votes, ostensibly on the grounds that fraud or last-minute rules changes impacted the results of the presidential race.
With the suit thrown out, Congress is set to meet Wednesday to certify the Electoral College’s 306–232 decision in favor of Democrat Joe Biden, over the objections of President Donald Trump and a number of his allies, as Fox notes.
“Not the proper defendant”
In his Friday ruling, Kernodle said the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit in the first place.
“Plaintiff Louie Gohmert, the United States Representative for Texas’s First Congressional District, alleges at most an institutional injury to the House of Representatives. Under well-settled Supreme Court authority, that is insufficient to support standing,” he wrote, according to the Washington Examiner.
“The other Plaintiffs, the slate of Republican Presidential Electors for the State of Arizona (the ‘Nominee-Electors’), allege an injury that is not fairly traceable to the Defendant, the Vice President of the United States, and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief,” the judge added.
Kernodle’s decision came after lawyers for the vice president at the Department of Justice (DOJ) argued that Gohmert and company sued the wrong party.
“The Vice President is not the proper defendant in this lawsuit,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Coghlan wrote in a Thursday filing, according to the Daily Mail. “A suit to establish that the vice president has discretion over the count, filed against the vice president, is a walking legal contradiction.”
Another tough loss
The DOJ’s stance against the lawsuit reportedly angered President Trump, and Gohmert doubled down with a swift appeal. But on Saturday, the effort was shot down yet again.
According to the Washington Examiner, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed Gohmert’s appeal “essentially for the reasons stated by the district court.”
“We express no view on the underlying merits or on what putative party, if any, might have standing,” the appeals court’s three-judge panel wrote in its weekend ruling, as the Examiner reported. “The motion to expedite is dismissed as moot.”