Gohmert Suggests Street Violence After Court Tosses Electoral Suit
(Bloomberg) -- Representative Louie Gohmert suggested street violence as the next recourse after a federal judge in Texas threw out his lawsuit filed in an effort to overturn President Donald Trump’s election loss.
The Texas lawmaker appeared on the conservative Newsmax network Friday night after U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle dismissed Gohmert’s suit, in which he argued that Vice President Mike Pence has the authority to unilaterally reverse the election result during a joint session of Congress Wednesday.
“If the bottom line is, the court is saying, ‘We’re not going to touch this. You have no remedy’ -- basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you gotta go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM,” Gohmert said.
His comment referred to Antifa, a loosely-aligned movement that opposes fascism, and Black Lives Matter.
Judge Kernodle ruled that the Texas congressman hadn’t suffered a specific injury caused by any action of Pence and therefore didn’t have legal standing to sue. The judge didn’t rule on the merits of Gohmert’s argument, which would have radically reshaped a vice president’s role.
“Congressman Gohmert’s alleged injury requires a series of hypothetical -- but by no means certain -- events,” said Kernodle, appointed by Trump in 2018. “Plaintiffs presuppose what the Vice President will do on January 6” and “which electoral votes the Vice President will count or reject from contested states.”
Gohmert argued that Pence has the power to hand Trump a second term by simply rejecting swing states’ slates of Democratic electors, and instead choosing competing GOP electors when the Senate and House meet jointly to open and count certificates of electoral votes on Jan. 6. Election experts have said such a finding would create a major conflict of interest.
Gohmert filed a notice of appeal in the case late Friday.
The U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit won’t necessarily hold Gohmert’s recent comments against him when they consider the case, because judges decide cases on the law and facts alone, said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
“However, judges are human and might find it distasteful that a member of Congress who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution is urging violence,” Tobias said, adding that while the 5th Circuit is “clearly” the most conservative appeals court, “it is not clear what that means for this weak case.”
Gohmert, 67, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and is a former judge.
Pence as vice president has the constitutional role of presiding over the Senate, which has traditionally included overseeing the formal acceptance of the Electoral College vote, which President-elect Joe Biden won.
Pence urged the judge to reject Gohmert’s lawsuit, saying in a Thursday filing that the congressman should have sued the U.S. Senate or the House of Representatives if he disagreed with the established way that Electoral College votes were counted. Pence’s filing was made by the Justice Department.
The Dec. 27 lawsuit by Gohmert echoes Trump’s debunked claim that Biden won the election only through rampant voter fraud perpetrated by thousands of corrupt Democratic officials and election workers. Some members of Congress have signaled they will object during the joint session, though not enough to block Biden’s win.
Gohmert’s attorney Howard Kleinhendler didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Trump continues to rail against his election loss on Twitter, repeating claims of electoral fraud that have been rejected in dozens of court actions in battleground states.
The president has also egged on his supporters to gather in Washington what he describes as a “protest rally.”
Two pro-Trump demonstrations in the nation’s capital since the election have resulted in scattered violence and arrests.
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