WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence has asked a federal judge to reject a lawsuit filed by a group of Republicans who want to put the authority to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s election win in the hands of the vice president.
Pence, in a 14-page filing by Justice Department attorneys Thursday evening, claimed the lawsuit should be brought against Congress.
“[T]hese plaintiffs’ suit is not a proper vehicle for addressing those issues because plaintiffs have sued the wrong defendant,” the response states, continuing that Pence “is ironically the very person whose power they seek to promote.”
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Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and a group of other Republicans filed the suit against Pence this week, arguing that the vice president has the constitutional authority to decide which states’ Electoral College votes to count.
Pence is set to oversee Congress when it officially counts the votes cast by the Electoral College on Jan. 6, and the suit argues that Pence has the constitutional authority to ignore votes cast for Biden in states where Republicans have tried to cast doubt on the results, where there is virtually no evidence to support Trump’s claims of election fraud.
Earlier in December, states certified their Electoral College results, giving Biden 306 votes to President Donald Trump’s 232.
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The response says the “the Senate and the House, not the Vice President, have legal interests that are sufficiently adverse to plaintiffs to ground a case or controversy” and continued that Pence “respectfully requests denial of plaintiffs’ emergency motion because the relief the plaintiffs request does not properly lie against the Vice President.”
The judge had ordered Pence’s response to the lawsuit to be filed by 5 p.m. Thursday.
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In the motion to expedite proceedings, Gohmert and the others revealed that lawyers reached out to the Office of the Vice President in an attempt to settle on an agreement before going to court, but “those discussions were not successful in reaching an agreement and this lawsuit was filed” in an indication Pence would decline to support the lawsuit.
“A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction,” Pence’s brief stated.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Kernodle, who is a Trump appointee, currently has not scheduled a hearing in the case.
Several GOP lawmakers have said they will object to the certification process on Jan. 6.