Congress's Dumbest Man Files Election Lawsuit That Would Make A Krakenhead Blush
Louie Gohmert and Kelli Ward walk into a bar, and the average IQ in Cantina Stupida drops 30 points. Unfortunately, the dumbest man in congress and Chemtrail Kelli, the current chair of the Arizona GOP, haven't been spreading their dim in some backwoods watering hole. They've actually filed a federal lawsuit against Mike Pence to stop the January 6 certification of Joe Biden's presidential win. Because this is 2020.
Let's back up to last week when #PenceCard was trending on Twitter. The theory, which was being huffed like dollar store spray paint in the lowest rent corners of Wingnuttistan until Trump retweeted it, went like this:
- Under 3 U.S. Code § 12, Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, is supposed to send a reminder note to any state that hasn't turned in its Electoral College votes by the fourth Wednesday in November;
- Despite being unable to prove it in any court, there exists somewhere massive evidence of FRAUUUUUUUUUD in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin;
- Before midnight on December 23, Mike Pence would send all those states a note saying their Electoral College slates were UNLEGAL, allowing the Republican-controlled legislatures to certify cosplay slates of fake Trump electors;
- TRUMP WINS!!!!
This forced the nutbags to regroup, pinning their hopes on the Thomas More Society's preposterous lawsuit against Pence and the Electoral College, which will surely turn this whole thing around once those geniuses figure out exactly how to effect service of process on the Electoral College. Trump promised one last, heroic stand on January 6 when Congress convenes to recognize the Electoral College count, bumping room rates at the Trump hotel in DC for the night of the 5th, while simultaneously releasing the rooms reserved for the week of inauguration. Grifting through the tape!
But, lo, what star is this with beams so bright, more lovely than the noonday light? Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert has entered the arena with another lawsuit. And this time it will be different!
Just kidding. This suit is as stupid as every other bloody idiotic filing from Team Trump, et al, and it's going nowhere. Gohmert is represented by local counsel backed by two of the Kraken lawyers and Lawrence Joseph, who signed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's complaint as "Special Counsel to the Attorney General of Texas" and also appears to have had a hand in drafting the president's motion to intervene the same suit. The dream team!
The theory is that the Twelfth Amendment gives Mike Pence as VP and President of the Senate "exclusive authority and [...] sole discretion to determine which of two or more competing slates of electors' votes are to be counted for President," so Gohmert and the fake Republican electors from Arizona are asking the US District Court in Texas for an advisory opinion saying that procedures laid out in the Electoral Count Act for resolving disputed Electoral College tabulations are null and void.
Why is Louie Gohmert suing Mike Pence in a suit claiming to vindicate the vice president's constitutional rights, you are wondering? Dunno! But Mazal Tov to Jeffrey Rosen, who took over for Low Rent Jowly Roy Cohn as head of the DOJ, and now gets to defend Mother's Boy in this lawsuit. Wages of sin, etc.
Anyway! We can think of one or two minor problems with this line of reasoning.
First of all, the Twelfth Amendment actually says that "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." It does not, in fact, give him any authority to accept or reject the ballots that were already certified on December 14.
But never fear, as those galaxy brains at Rasmussen Reports have come up with a solution to this problem: What if Pence refuses to open the envelopes????
If they are (as more than 70% of Republicans believe) certificates from non-electors appointed via voter fraud, why… https://t.co/pt0REtq7gT— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen Reports) 1609077242.0
Second of all, federal courts are not in the position of issuing advisory opinions. There has to be a live case or controversy, which cannot be manufactured by simply writing in your complaint, "This is not an abstract or hypothetical question, but a live 'case or controversy' under Article III that is ripe for a declaratory judgment arising from the events of December 14, 2020 where the State of Arizona (and several others) have appointed two competing slates of electors."
Third of all, there's no standing for electors to sue to enforce state or federal election law, as the Arizona plaintiffs in this case were reminded three weeks ago when a federal judge in Arizona tossed their last bullshit suit. This is presumably why they hooked up with Gohmert and tried to get a friendlier hearing in Texas. Gohmert has dealt with the standing issue thusly: "Rep. Gohmert is entitled to have his objection determined under the Twelve Amendment, and not through the unconstitutional impositions of a prior Congress by 3 U.S.C. §§ 5 and 15." Once again, simply stating that something is true doesn't make it so.
Speaking of which ... NOPE.
The Arizona Electors have cast Arizona's electoral votes for President Donald J. Trump on December 14, 2020, at the Arizona State Capitol with the permission and endorsement of the Arizona Legislature, i.e., at the time, place, and manner required under Arizona state law and the Electoral Count Act. At the same time, Arizona's Governor and Secretary of State appointed a separate and competing slate of electors who cast Arizona's electoral votes for former Vice-President Joseph R. Biden, despite the evidence of massive multi-state electoral fraud committed on Biden's behalf that changed electoral results in Arizona and in other states such as Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that have also put forward competing slates of electors (collectively, the "Contested States"). Collectively, these Contested States have enough electoral votes in controversy to determine the outcome of the 2020 General Election.
That. Never. Happened. Less than half the state's Republican caucus signed on to a letter endorsing the band of dipshit dress-up electors. And sure, it's cool to have a penpal during quarantine, but since neither Arizona Senate President Karen Fann nor House Speaker Rusty Bowers signed the letter much less endorsed this dumbassery, that love note isn't worth the paper it's written on. Ditto for all the other cosplay electors.
And, by the by, I believe the legal term is "FUCKING RICH" for Louie Gohmert to claim that the Electoral Count Act is an unconstitutional assault on the Twelfth Amendment, while simultaneously promising that he and that nutbag Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville are going to unleash mayhem on January 6 by challenging electors using the procedure explicitly laid out in the Electoral Count Act.
Which brings us to yet another, fatal flaw in this case, one that even Trump appointee US District Judge Jeremy Kernodle is not going to ignore. This is a political question, i.e. one involving the responsibilities of the Executive or Legislative branches of government — or, as in this case, both. No federal court is going to intervene and tell Vice President Pence that he's obligated to refrain from doing something the Constitution says he "shall" do, and no court is going to tell Congress it can't carry out its own procedures for tabulating electoral votes as laid out in the Twelfth Amendment and further explicated in the Electoral Count Act. See also, Article I, Section 5, "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings."
Also, too LACHES, BITCHES.
In summary and in conclusion, Louie Gohmert retains his position as King Ignoramus in congress, Kelli Ward retakes the Worst State Party Chair crown from Texas's Allen West, and these useless sumbitches are about to get their asses kicked by yet another Trump judge. THE END.
And OPEN THREAD.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.