U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) and the Republican slate of “electors” from Arizona have sued Vice President Mike Pence over his largely ceremonial role in the counting of electoral votes on January 6. The suit seeks to have provisions of the Electoral Count Act declared unconstitutional and have the judge determine that Pence has sole authority to decide which electors’ votes will be counted.
The case was filed in the Eastern District of Texas (PDF) and assigned to U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle, an appointee of President Trump. The venue is appropriate, the plaintiffs assert, because Gohmert is a Texas congressman. All other plaintiffs are from Arizona. It is unclear why this case was not filed there since it essentially revolves around Arizona’s electoral votes.
Specifically, the suit argues that the Twelfth Amendment “contains the exclusive dispute resolution mechanisms” to settle competing slates of electors and provides that the Vice President “determines which slate of electors’ votes count” for any state.
The Twelfth Amendment provides that “the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.” That is all it says about the Vice President’s role.
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