OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden, the man who has been declared the president-elect, has a major situation on his hands that could cost him the White House.
Vice President Mike Pence had, in the minds of many, signaled that he would certify Biden’s election victory on January 6, 2021, but now he is signaling something else entirely, Yahoo News reported.
The vice president issued a statement on Saturday saying that he welcomed the efforts of the Republican senators, that includes Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, of objecting to the election results.
He also said that he had the same concerns about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election,” the statement from Pence’s Chief pf Staff, Marc Short, said.
“The Vice President welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th,” it said.
But it was just last week that Pence fought a lawsuit brought by Rep. Louie Gohmert that said Pence alone had the authority to reject electors from states where he thought there was fraud.
“A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction,” a 14-page document, penned by Department of Justice attorneys who represented the vice president, said.
“It would be the Senate and the House of Representatives that are best positioned to defend the Act. Indeed, as a matter of logic, it is those bodies against whom plaintiffs’ requested relief must run,” it said.
That still leaves in doubt whether or not Pence would actually use this supposed discretion, that has not been tested by courts, to change the results of the election.
It would be unprecedented and could forever change the way elections are run in the United States if future elections could simply be changed by a sitting vice president.
“Under the Twelfth Amendment, Defendant Pence alone has the exclusive authority and sole discretion to open and permit the counting of the electoral votes for a given state, and where there are competing slates of electors, or where there is objection to any single slate of electors, to determine which electors’ votes, or whether none, shall be counted,” the suit by Gohmert argued.
But Pence’s argument is that “Ironically, Representative Gohmert’s position, if adopted by the Court, would actually deprive him of his opportunity as a Member of the House under the Electoral Count Act to raise objections to the counting of electoral votes, and then to debate and vote on them.”
House General Counsel Doug Letter sent an amicus brief on Thursday, demanding that Rep. Gohmert’s case be dismissed and said it was a “radical departure from our constitutional procedures and consistent legislative practices.”
“This Court should dismiss the complaint and deny the extraordinary and unprecedented relief requested: a declaration that the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional and an injunction that would interfere with the time-honored procedures of Congress for counting electoral votes. Plaintiffs lack standing; their claims are barred by laches; and their legal and constitutional claims—which this Court should not reach—lack merit,” it said.
“At bottom, this litigation seeks to enlist the federal courts in a belated and meritless assault on longstanding constitutional processes for confirming the results of a national election for President,” the House attorney said.