Mike Pence says he’s the wrong person to sue (Update #3)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 31, 2020, at 10:38 pm.
  2. January 1, 2021, 11:57 am:
  3. January 1, 2021, 9:30 pm:
    • The judge dismissed Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the Electoral Count Act, “saying neither the congressman nor his allies have legal standing to pursue the case.”[6]

Previously, Louie Gohmert sued Mike Pence seeking to overturn the Electoral Count Act in a bid to allow Pence to pick and choose which electoral college votes to accept.[7] Pence has moved for dismissal, claiming that Gohmert should sue Congress instead and that the suit is anyway problematic:[8]

To win a lawsuit, a plaintiff must convince a judge that the interests of the person they are suing are opposed to their own — there must be some controversy or conflict between them that could be resolved through the litigation.

In this case, a Justice Department lawyer, writing on Pence’s behalf, wrote that the interests of Gohmert and the other plaintiffs were not sufficiently opposed to Pence’s own — since they were seeking to expand his power — to justify a suit.

“The Vice President is not the proper defendant to this lawsuit,” wrote Deputy Assistant Attorney General John V. Coghlan.

“The Vice President — the only defendant in this case — is ironically the very person whose power they seek to promote,” he added. “A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction.”

Instead, Coghlan wrote that Congress was the proper defendant for such a suit.

Coghlan wrote that the lawsuit has other problems, too, and that, as a result, the judge should reject the suit, particularly given the limited timeline before next week’s vote, without trying to weigh difficult and never-before-tested constitutional issues.[9]

I’m not a lawyer. But I have heard of a ‘friendly’ lawsuit, but that was under very sketchy circumstances. I have also heard that there’s no such thing as a ‘friendly’ lawsuit. The Justice Department lawyer appears to be arguing the latter on behalf of Pence.[10] I guess we’ll see what the judge says.

Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner, “Pence seeks rejection of lawsuit that aimed to expand his power to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sasse-letter-electoral-college-ploy/2020/12/31/44da8dba-4b65-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html

Devlin Barrett, “Judge dismisses Gohmert lawsuit seeking to stymie Biden electoral college count,” Washington Post, January 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/gohmert-court-filing-claims-pence-is-not-a-glorified-envelope-opener/2021/01/01/eeb6b222-4c51-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html


  1. [6]Devlin Barrett, “Judge dismisses Gohmert lawsuit seeking to stymie Biden electoral college count,” Washington Post, January 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/gohmert-court-filing-claims-pence-is-not-a-glorified-envelope-opener/2021/01/01/eeb6b222-4c51-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html
  2. [7]Kyle Cheney, “Gohmert suit may force Pence’s hand in effort to overturn Trump’s defeat,” Politico, December 28, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/28/gohmert-suit-pence-overturn-trumps-defeat-451485
  3. [8]Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner, “Pence seeks rejection of lawsuit that aimed to expand his power to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sasse-letter-electoral-college-ploy/2020/12/31/44da8dba-4b65-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html
  4. [9]Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner, “Pence seeks rejection of lawsuit that aimed to expand his power to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sasse-letter-electoral-college-ploy/2020/12/31/44da8dba-4b65-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html
  5. [10]Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner, “Pence seeks rejection of lawsuit that aimed to expand his power to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sasse-letter-electoral-college-ploy/2020/12/31/44da8dba-4b65-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html

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