Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) attorneys and Arizona’s 11 Republican voters announced Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence refused to sign their plan to upgrade Congressional certification for President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
This is the first indication that Pence is defying some of the most extreme calls to reverse the presidential election results and is therefore relying on his role as chairman on Jan. 6 when Congress meets to finalize Biden’s victory.
Gohmert and the Arizona voters sued Pence this week for dismissing the procedures that Congress has relied on since 1889 to count the votes. Instead, Pence has the unilateral power to determine which voters Congress should vote on. This raises the prospect that Pence would simply override the decisions made by Biden in voters in states like Arizona and Pennsylvania to introduce President Donald Trump’s voters instead.
But in a request to expedite the procedureGohmert and voters announced that their attorneys had reached out to Pence’s attorney in the Vice President’s office to reach an agreement before going to court.
“During the conference call, Plaintiffs’ attorney made a meaningful attempt to amicably resolve the underlying legal issues, including notifying the Vice-President’s attorney that Plaintiffs intended to seek injunctive relief immediately if the parties disagreed,” so Gohmert’s submission. “These discussions were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement and this lawsuit has been filed.”
On Tuesday night, U.S. District Court Justice Jeremy Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas agreed to partially grant the expedited schedule request. He asked Pence to respond to the lawsuit by 5 p.m. December 31, and Gohmert, reply to Pence by 9 a.m. January 1, but Kernodle refused to hold a hearing, saying, that none is planned “without further notice from the court”. Kernodle also ordered Gohmert and his co-plaintiffs to immediately send a copy of the warrant to an attorney for pence, the Department of Justice, and the US attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.
Gohmert and voters told Kernodle they needed an expedited schedule that would result in a decision no later than Jan. 4 so that they can appeal before the Jan. 6 congressional session.
Pence has not yet publicly weighed his plans to chair the January 6th session when Congress will count the votes to confirm Biden’s victory. He has also not publicly commented on Trump’s public calls to reverse the results of the democratic process and campaign for a second term.
Gohmert’s attorneys on the case, some of whom have handled some of Trump’s lawsuits to overturn Biden’s victory in key swing states, said they have since been in contact with attorneys in the Department of Justice’s civil division for the government’s formal response this to clarify the suit. Further calls were planned for later Tuesday.