Republicans sue Mike Pence over choice of electors

Republicans are turning up the pressure on one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies to “stop the steal.” 

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) filed a lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence ahead of a congressional session to count the Electoral College vote next week. Gohmert is joined in the case by several Republicans, including Arizona’s Republican chairwoman Kelli Ward.

Pence sued over election powers

The lawsuit hinges on Pence’s role in the January 6 joint session, which has been described as a largely formal event for recognizing the Electoral College winner.

Trump and his allies have pushed, instead, for Trump to be declared the winner of the “rigged” election on that date, with Republicans in some states having chosen their own slates of electors for Trump.

Gohmert’s lawsuit takes aim at an 1880s law, the Electoral Counting Act, which he says violates the 12th Amendment by limiting Pence’s authority to choose electors.

In a lengthy statement, Gohmert ripped “rampant fraud” in the election and warned that failure to rectify the situation would spell “the end of our republic.”

“We continue to hold out hope that there is a federal judge who understands that the fraud that stole this election will mean the end of our republic, and this suit would insure that the Vice-President will only accept electors legitimately and legally elected,” he said.

Jan. 6 looms

Critics dismissed the lawsuit as legally flawed and a frivolous effort by Trump’s allies to illicitly overturn the election.

“The idea that the Vice President has sole authority to determine whether or not to count electoral votes submitted by a state, or which of competing submissions to count, is inconsistent with a proper understanding of the Constitution,” said Edward Foley, a law professor at the Ohio State University.

The Electoral College voted for Biden earlier this month, and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has dismissed calls to protest the result. President Trump has expressed frustration with Republicans who are not backing his election challenges, and Pence has faced pressure to defy expectations that he would simply rubber-stamp a Biden win.

A pro-Trump protest is planned in Washington D.C. the same day as the January 6 session.

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