The legal efforts by Rep. Louie Gohmert have experienced another court’s rejection. Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, was attempting to force Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the votes of certified electors and essentially overturn the election results. He joined with a group of Arizona Republicans who call themselves pro-Trump electors. If you have not read Ed’s explanation of the lawsuit, go read that now.
As predicted, the Friday ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, was appealed. On Saturday evening, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals handed Gohmert and the other plaintiffs their second rejection in as many days. A one-paragraph opinion was delivered by a three-judge panel. It agreed that the plaintiffs have no standing. The judges who rejected the appeal are all Republicans, including one Trump appointee.
“We need say no more, and we affirm the judgment essentially for the reasons stated by the district court,” the appeals court panel wrote. “We express no view on the underlying merits or on what putative party, if any, might have standing.”
The judges who rejected Gohmert’s appeal were all Republican appointees. The panel included Reagan appointees Patrick Higginbottom and Jerry Smith, as well as Trump appointee Andrew Oldham.
Gohmert and the others have two options left. They can take their case to the Supreme Court, which is unlikely to take it, or they can take it before a full bench of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Do we think they would receive a different outcome from the full bench? I don’t see it happening. The speed in which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals moved is a huge red flag against the success of further action. It disposed of the case in less than a day and took no legal briefs from either side of the lawsuit.
Kernodle’s decision did not completely slam the door on the possibility that Gohmert or the would-be electors might be able to get some relief in court. The judge dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning that Gohmert’s lawyers could try to reframe the suit so it will pass legal muster. Gohmert, who filed the suit on Dec. 27, had asked for a final ruling from Kernodle by Jan. 4 in order to have time for potential appeals. Gohmert and the Arizona plaintiffs notified Kernodle they were appealing to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Friday night, with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the district court’s ruling Saturday.
Louie Gohmert is an attorney and a former judge in Texas. He knows he is fighting a losing battle. He knows the role of the vice-president is a procedural one on January 6. His theory is that the election could be thrown to the House and each state delegation would receive one vote, as the procedure is stated in the 12th Amendment.
Although the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution requires Pence, as vice president, to preside over the Jan. 6 session, his specific powers are detailed in the Electoral Count Act of 1887. It requires Pence to introduce electors alphabetically by state, and it sets out a process for House members and senators to challenge disputed electors.
Under the Electoral Count Act, that challenge would be resolved by separate votes of the House and Senate — and in the case of the 2020 election, those challenges would effectively be doomed. The Democratic House majority would certainly oppose them and many Senate Republicans have acknowledged that Biden is the unequivocal winner of the contest.
It was a surprising remark he made during an interview on Newsmax after the Friday ruling that put him on the defensive. It was interrupted as a call for violence in the streets. The show host quickly cut Gohmert off.
After the ruling on Friday, Gohmert appeared on network Newsmax to call the Electoral Count Act, which gives the vice president a procedural role in counting electors, unconstitutional.
“Basically, in effect, the ruling would be you’ve got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM,” Gohmert said before host Emerald Robinson cut him off.
After the pushback began on social media, Gohmert had to issue a statement saying he was not calling for violence in the streets despite what his actual words were during the interview.
But on Saturday, Gohmert said he was not advocating violence and has “long advocated for following the teaching and example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of peaceful protest.”
“Violence is not the answer,” he said. “The appropriate answer is courts and self-governing bodies resolving disputes as intended.”
— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) January 2, 2021
For the record, I have to assume that Gohmert isn’t really calling for the violence we have seen from leftists in the streets. He was clearly frustrated over the court’s ruling against him and the others. He’s a Trump loyalist who is not bashful about lashing out against what he sees as injustices toward Trump supporters. I think that was what he was doing during that interview. He should have known better than to use such an example of behavior, though, especially in today’s explosive political atmosphere.