Pence won’t join conspiracy to overthrow U.S. government

The U.S. government, as of noon on January 20, 2021, is the one that was elected by the American people on November 3, 2020, and one of our political parties is trying to overthrow it.

As part of this lawless conspiracy, they’ve attempted to enlist the outgoing vice president, but apparently he’s not having it.

“Lawyers for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Arizona’s 11 Republican electors revealed Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence declined to sign onto their plan to upend Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory,” Politico reported on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, adding, “It’s the first indication that Pence is resisting some of the most extreme calls to reverse the presidential election results … relying on his role as the presiding officer on Jan. 6, when Congress meets to finalize Biden’s win.” Read story here.

[Editor’s note: This reporting is in error; Arizona has no Republican electors. The 11 individuals referred to above have no Electoral College status, as they were not elected. Calling them “electors” is like calling a defeated candidate “Governor” or “Senator.”]

The lawsuit by Gohmert (photo, left), often referred to as “America’s dumbest congressman,” asks a judge to declare the Electoral Count Act of 1887 unconstitutional, and contends that “with respect to competing slates of electors from the State of Arizona or other Contested States, the Twelfth Amendment contains the exclusive dispute resolution mechanisms, namely, that (i) Vice-President Pence determines which slate of electors’ votes count, or neither, for that State,” the U.K.-based tabloid Daily Mail said (read their story here).

Ironically, it’s that law which allows House Republicans like Mo Brooks, and GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, to object to electoral votes in the first place.

There’s an actual legal question there, because neither the constitutionality of the ECA, nor Congress’ ability to flesh it out with detailed procedures, has ever been court-tested; but even if a court tackled those issues, that gets these morons nowhere, because the 12th Amendment says,

“the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;”

and those of us with any brains all know what “shall” means, right? It means you don’t have any choice, there’s no discretion involved, you have to do what the rest of the sentence says. You don’t have to take my word for it; if you have any doubts, look it up here. In other words, it’s not enough to have the ECA declared unconstitutional; their scheme also requires declaring the 12th Amendment unconstitutional, too.

Both sources (Politico and Daily Mail) indicated Gohmert’s lawyers had contacted Pence to ask him to join in the lawsuit, but Pence refused. Gohmert and Pence are both lawyers, but Gohmert is an idiot, and Pence is not, to wit (quotes taken from the Daily Mail article):

“Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe tweeted that Gohmert effort ‘may be the dumbest law suit of all’ adding that it’s ‘jaw-droppingly stupid.’

“‘The idea that the Vice President has sole authority to determine whether or not to count electoral votes submitted by a state, or which of competing submissions to count, is inconsistent with a proper understanding of the Constitution,’ Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley told The Hill.”

The fine print of both articles notes that the judge has agreed to expedite matters, but has pointedly not agreed to grant the plaintiffs a hearing, and they won’t get one. This lawsuit is a nonstarter and Gohmert & Co. aren’t going to like the ruling the judge hands down next Monday. In our judicial system, even revolutionaries are entitled to due process, or it would be gone sooner.

Meanwhile, Republican pollster Rasmussen suggested Pence “could also simply refuse to open and read the results from states” whose electoral votes Republicans choose to dispute. Uh, no, he can’t. Both the 12th Amendment and ECA say the vice president, as president of the Senate, “shall” open and read the results.

To recap, these Republicans argue that a single person, the vice president, can pick and choose which electoral votes to count, and thereby anoint the loser of a presidential election as president. Yeah, and I get to pick the next Pope. Yes, folks, it’s that stupid. But most of all it’s very, very subversive, anti-democratic, authoritarian, and extremely violative of your basic rights as an American.

And, get this, these numbskulls and their supporters have the gall to pretend it’s patriotic. Give me a break. This is how Stalin held elections; even Rasmussen knows that:

Update (1/1/21): To no one’s surprise, the judge — a Trump appointee — dismissed this silly lawsuit on Friday, January 1, 2021. I’m surprised he didn’t sanction the plaintiffs. Read story here. The judge’s order (read it here) is a lesson in federalism: Federal courts don’t have the broad jurisdiction of state courts of general jurisdiction. If you want to do something like this, boys and girls, you should forum-shop for an Obama-appointed activist judge inclined to interpret his authority more expansively than this Federalist Society judge. (If you don’t know what that is, find out here.)

Photo: What a post-lobotomy congressman looks like

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0 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Dumbest lawsuit #

    Opinion of Harvard law professor:

    Dumbest lawsuit of all was presented by?

    Answer: A Republican trump loyalist, grandstanding publicity hound. Show boater for his constituents.

    Amusing if it wasn’t all so pathetic and sad.

    Can we get our country back from all these trump lunatics?

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