Attorneys representing Rep. Louie Gohmert and a group of Arizona Republicans indicated that Vice President Mike Pence is not in agreement with their lawsuit filed with a Texas court earlier this week. According to a court filing, Vice President Pence did not agree with Gohmert’s position that he has the authority to choose between counting Republican and Democrat electoral votes in states where both parties submitted votes.
Earlier this week, Gohmert’s lawyers met with the Vice President’s counsel to see if the two sides could come to an agreement however Pence’s team remained firmly opposed to Gohmert’s position.
Fox News reports:
In the teleconference, Plaintiffs’ 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,” the filing said. “Those discussions were not successful in reaching an agreement and this lawsuit was filed.”
From the filing, it is unclear if Pence was specifically asked to count the Republican votes instead of the Democratic ones or if the two sides simply discussed the legal issues surrounding whether he had the authority to do so. Fox News reached out to counsel for Gohmert and the Arizona Republican electors for clarification but he did not immediately respond.
The lawsuit claims that if more than one party has cast electoral votes, the Constitution allows Pence to decide which party’s votes to count when Congress meets to formally announce the winner of the election Jan. 6, 2021. In Arizona and other battleground states that President-elect Joe Biden won in November’s election, the slate of Republican electors — whose votes would have been certified had President Trump won — met on Dec. 14 and cast votes in case legal challenges of the Democrats’ victory were successful.
While the Electoral Counting Act details a process of handling objections to votes that involves both the House and Senate, Gohmert’s lawsuit claims that this law runs contrary to the 12th Amendment, which outlines the process of counting electoral votes. While the 12th Amendment does not specifically address what happens in the event of disputed votes, it does say that if no candidate has a majority, it is up to the House of Representatives to choose the president.
In Rep. Gohmert’s lawsuit, he claims that because the 12th Amendment excludes the Senate in the process, the Electoral Counting Act is unconstitutional for including the Senate in the dispute resolution process.