Pence rejected Republican plan to choose 'alternate' electors as President of Senate to overturn 2020: Report

Lawyers of Rep. Louie Gohmert and Arizona's slate of Republican Electoral College electors had tried to work out a deal with Pence but failed, thereby prompting the lawsuit


                            Pence rejected Republican plan to choose 'alternate' electors as President of Senate to overturn 2020: Report
Mike Pence (L), Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence is seemingly disinterested in getting on board with a plan that would prevent Congress from certifying the election in January for President-elect Joe Biden. Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert and Arizona's slate of Republican Electoral College electors filed a federal lawsuit earlier this week in a bid to get a judge to declare that Pence had the ultimate discretion to pick Republican electors when he certifies the presidential election in his capacity as President of the Senate.

A legal filing in the case suggested that Gohmert and the electors' lawyers had tried to work out a deal with Pence but failed, thereby prompting the lawsuit, Politico reported. "In the teleconference, Plaintiff's counsel made a meaningful attempt to resolve the underlying legal issues by agreement, including advising the Vice President's counsel that Plaintiffs intended to seek immediate injunctive relief in the event the parties did not agree," Gohmert's filing stated. "Those discussions were not successful in reaching an agreement and this lawsuit was filed."

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) attends a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on June 24, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

The plaintiffs, including Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, are suing Pence as they want Texas-based U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle to validate the vice president's constitutional powers to choose pro-Trump electors. While Kernodle has agreed to expedite proceedings, he has not agreed to hold a hearing on the case.

According to the lawsuit, the 1887 Electoral Count Act violates the 12th Amendment, which outlines the framework for electing the president and vice president. According to the amendment, which was ratified in 1804, the "President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall be counted." When Electoral College electors met in state capitals across the nation on December 14, several separate groups of Republican electors also did so in states with disputed election results.

White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller had previewed the plan earlier in the day during an appearance on 'Fox & Friends', saying 'alternate' slates of electors were casting votes on the same day. One of those states was Arizona, per the report, and Pence should be able to choose which set of electors' votes count as President of the Senate, the lawsuit argues. "That, with respect to competing slates of electors from the State of Arizona or other Contested States, the Twelfth Amendment contains the exclusive dispute resolution mechanisms, namely, that (i) Vice-President Pence determines which slate of electors' votes count, or neither, for that State," the suit states. 

U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Vice president Mike Pence answers questions during the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 27, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

An online thread from popular polling outlet Rasmussen Reports noted how Pence could also simply refuse to open votes from states that are alleged to have been plagued by widespread voter fraud.

During a Student Action Summit on December 22, Pence urged the crowd "to stay in the fight in our election." "As our election contest continues, I’ll make you a promise, we’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We’re going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out," the vice president said at the summit organized by Turning Point USA, a major pro-Trump and conservative youth advocacy group.

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