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In a filing prepared by Justice Department attorneys, Vice President Mike Pence filed a brief in opposition to a lawsuit brought by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) which sought to give him the authority to unilaterally decide the 2020 presidential election.
The lawsuit, which was filed by Gohmert and joined by Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward (along with some other GOP officials), sought declaratory and injunctive relief that would have theoretically given Pence the power to unilaterally determine which electoral college votes should be counted. The lawsuit was considered the last ditch legal effort remaining for supporters of President Trump, many of whom retain hope that some avenue remains for overturning the results of the electoral college vote.
Although Pence’s filing opposes the suit on technical legal grounds — to wit, that he is not a properly-named defendant in the suit since it seeks to give him more power — the fact that he filed the brief at all seems to indicate that Pence has no interest in participating in a Vice Presidential nullification of any electoral college votes.
Indeed, in a hint that Pence does not believe he would have the authority to reject electoral college votes even in the highly unlikely event that Gohmert’s lawsuit succeeds, the brief states: “These plaintiffs’ claims against the Vice President in his capacity as President of the Senate also fail to address the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which prevents the other Branches of Government from questioning Congress in connection with ‘legislative acts,’ which have ‘consistently been defined as an act generally done in Congress in relation to the business before it.'”
The last remaining effort will likely occur on January 6th, when the electoral college votes are counted by Congress. A sizeable portion of the Republican House caucus is expected to object to certain votes from contested states being counted, and a handful of Republican Senators have indicated that they will support this effort, but these efforts are likewise certain to fail if for no other reason than that the Democrats remain in control of the House of Representatives.