Accountability Democracy Elections Trump

Trump-Appointed Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Seeking to Block Biden Electoral College Victory

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A federal judge in Texas, appointed by Trump, dismissed a lawsuit filed by Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert, seeking to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.

A federal judge in Texas has dismissed a long-shot lawsuit by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) that sought to overturn the presidential election, saying neither the congressman nor his allies have legal standing to pursue the case.


The judge’s Friday night ruling tosses out what many election law experts considered a far-fetched theory to challenge the formal mechanism by which President-elect Joe Biden will be affirmed as the winner of the race for president.


U.S. District Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle issued an order dismissing the case because, he found, neither Gohmert nor his fellow plaintiffs have a sufficient legal stake in the process to justify the lawsuit. Kernodle was nominated to the federal bench by Trump.


The judge’s ruling comes less than 12 hours after lawyers for Gohmert filed court papers arguing that Vice President Pence has far more power than the government claims to alter the outcome of the presidential election.

It was not immediately clear if Gohmert’s legal team plans to appeal the decision.


In response to a Justice Department request to reject the suit, the Friday filing by Gohmert’s legal team accused the government of trying to “hide behind procedural arguments.” Gohmert’s lawyers contended that arguments made by the Justice Department and Congress — that the suit upends long-established procedures and that Pence is an inappropriate target for the suit — are unfounded.


“They say that the Vice President, the glorified envelope-opener in chief, has no authority to preside over anything else or to decide anything of substance or to even count the votes in those weighty envelopes. He is only the envelope-opener,” Gohmert’s filing states.

Gohmert claimed the vice president has the power to effectively pick the next president during the formal recording of electoral college votes by Congress on Wednesday. Pence oversees that ceremony and, as president of the Senate, has the power to declare Biden electors in a handful of key states invalid and instead recognize electors supporting President Trump, the filing contends.


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 filing states.


Gohmert and a number of Republicans in Arizona filed the suit in Texas, arguing that an 1887 law governing how Congress certifies presidential elections is unconstitutional. They argue that the Constitution gives the vice president discretion to determine which states’ electors are valid for choosing the president of the United States...

In a Thursday night filing, a Justice Department lawyer wrote on Pence’s behalf that the case is “a walking legal contradiction,” because Gohmert has sued Pence seeking to give Pence more power. If Gohmert and his allies want to make such a claim, the Justice Department argued, they should sue Congress, not Pence.

Trump no doubt is furious that judges he appointed are loyal to the Constitution, not to him personally. His legal team has filed dozens of lawsuits, and almost all have failed. The few that succeeded dealt with minor issues that had no bearing on the outcome of the vote. The legal theories get increasingly bizarre, but Trump’s followers are unfazed in their zeal to overturn the election results andtoassuage Trump’swounded ego.

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