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Federal appeals court rejects election lawsuit against Pence

It said U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, had no standing in his effort to put the presidential election outcome in the hands of the vice president.
Image: Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Dec. 18 in Washington.Andrew Harnik / AP file

A federal appeals court Saturday night rejected an attempt by a congressman to overturn the results of the November presidential election.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District threw out an appeal by U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, that sought to allow Vice President Mike Pence to hand the election to Trump.

The panel agreed with a Friday ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which said Gohmert and a group of 11 Arizona electors who favored Trump did not have standing to change Pence's role. Gohmert sued Pence in the effort to morph his job as an electoral vote counter to determinative role in the election.

Under the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution the vice president presides over the Senate's electoral vote count, acting as a human tally. The suit sought to liberate him to refuse to accept enough votes from supporters of Joe Biden to eventually give the White House again to Trump.

Pence "may exercise the exclusive authority and sole discretion in determining which electoral votes to count for a given State," the original, Dec. 27 suit against the vice president said.

The Trump administration's Justice Department opposed the suit in court, arguing that Pence was the wrong target.

Gohmert's office did not immediately respond to a request for his response to the ruling. His options include an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has so far sidestepped 2020 election challenges, and a request for a review by the full Fifth District court.

The Electoral College this month affirmed Biden’s 306-232 victory, and almost all the legal efforts by Trump's campaign and its supporters, including more than 50 lawsuits, have failed.

Trump has continued to make allegations, with no proof, of widespread voter fraud in the election.