Appeals court dismisses Gohmert case asking Pence to interfere in Electoral College vote count
Posted January 2, 2021 10:21 p.m. EST
CNN — A federal court on Saturday dismissed an appeal from Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert in his lawsuit to force Vice President Mike Pence to interfere in the Electoral College vote count.
The Saturday decision by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals came just hours after the Republican congressman filed his appeal of an earlier loss.
On Friday, a district court threw out Gohmert's and several Arizona Republicans' lawsuit seeking to force Pence to help throw the election to President Donald Trump next week when Congress meets to count the Electoral College votes. Saturday's ruling affirmed the previous decision.
"We need say no more, and we affirm the judgment 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 motion to expedite is dismissed as moot. The mandate shall issue forthwith," read the ruling.
CNN has reached out to Gohmert for comment on the Saturday ruling.
Gohmert's suit was part of the desperate and extraordinary GOP attempt to overturn the presidential election using baseless and unproven allegations of mass voter fraud and charging that multiple states that President-elect Joe Biden won illegally changed their voting rules due to the pandemic.
Gohmert and a slate of would-be Trump electors from Arizona had said only Pence could decide what electoral votes count -- a remarkable argument suggesting vice presidents can directly determine who wins a presidential election, regardless of the results.
Pence on Thursday had asked a federal judge to reject the lawsuit, arguing that the legal issues raised by Gohmert, along with a slate of Arizona Republicans, should be addressed to the House and Senate, rather than the vice president. Pence's filing did not say if he would entertain the possibility of interfering in the Electoral College count, but there is no public indication that he will.
"(A) suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction," Pence said.
"Ironically, Representative Gohmert's position, if adopted by the Court, would actually deprive him of his opportunity as a Member of the House under the Electoral Count Act to raise objections to the counting of electoral votes, and then to debate and vote on them," Pence's filing added.
CNN has reached out to Pence for comment.
At least 140 House Republicans are expected to vote against counting the electoral votes on January 6, CNN's Jake Tapper reported Thursday. Gohmert has said he will be one of them.
Nearly a dozen Republican senators and senators-elect announced Saturday they will vote against counting electoral votes. The 11 Republican lawmakers said they intend to support an objection to the Electoral College votes, if one is brought, and propose an election commission to conduct an "emergency 10-day audit" of the election returns in the "disputed states." Pence appeared to endorse the move on Saturday.
"A fair and credible audit—conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20—would dramatically improve Americans' faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President. We owe that to the People," the group of 11 GOP lawmakers said in a statement.
They added that Congress' vote on January 6 is the "lone constitutional power remaining to consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud."
There have been no credible allegations of any issues with voting that would have impacted the election, as affirmed by dozens of state and federal courts, governors, state election officials and the departments of Homeland Security and Justice.