On January 1, a federal judge dismissed a key election lawsuit which sought to overturn the results of the presidential election. Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward, and other Republicans filed the lawsuit on December 28.
The lawsuit sought permission for Vice President Mike Pence to put aside the Electoral College votes of states with serious allegations of fraud and irregularities in their elections.
According to reporting by The Hill, “The vice president’s role in presiding over the Jan. 6 meeting is usually a ceremonial one governed by an 1887 federal law known as the Electoral Count Act. But the Republican lawsuit asked the judge to invalidate the law, arguing that it places an unconstitutional constraint on the vice president’s authority to choose among competing claims of victory when state-level election results are disputed.”
Instead of accepting the votes from these battleground states, the lawsuit wanted to give Pence the power to determine which electors to accept.
Before the federal judge’s decision was announced, the vice president filed a brief prepared by attorneys from the Department of Justice opposing the suit. Pence referred to it as a “walking legal contradiction” because its stated goal was to empower him as vice president, but he was the only defendant named in the suit.
Judge Jeremy Kernodle, appointed to his position in the Eastern District of Texas in 2018 by President Trump, dismissed the lawsuit in a ruling stating that Representative Gohmert and other plaintiffs lacked proper legal standing to sue Vice President Pence.
“This case challenges the constitutionality of the Electoral Count Act of 1887… The Court cannot address that question, however, without ensuring that it has jurisdiction. One crucial component of jurisdiction is that the plaintiffs have standing. This requires the plaintiffs to show a personal injury that is fairly traceable to the defendant’s allegedly unlawful conduct and is likely to be redressed by the requested relief,” Kernodle explained.
“The problem for Plaintiffs here is that they lack standing. Plaintiff Louie Gohmert, the United States Representative for Texas’s First Congressional District, alleges at most an institutional injury to the House of Representatives. Under well-settled Supreme Court authority, that is insufficient to support standing,” the federal judge added.
“The other Plaintiffs, the slate of Republican Presidential Electors for the State of Arizona (the “Nominee-Electors”), allege an injury that is not fairly traceable to the Defendant, the Vice President of the United States, and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief,” Kernodle continued.
“Accordingly… the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this case and must dismiss the action,” the judge ruled.
Kernodle dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, which means that Gohmert and other plaintiffs still have the ability to re-file the suit.
Representative Louie Gohmert has already announced his plans to appeal the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.