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GOP congressman sues Pence in effort to try and overturn Biden win

The lawsuit, led by Rep. Louie Gohmert, focuses on the Jan. 6 ceremonial meeting of Congress to finalize Joe Biden's victory.

WASHINGTON — Mike Pence is facing a new lawsuit in his official capacity as vice president from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and a slew of other Republicans in a last-ditch effort to try and overturn Democrat Joe Biden's presidential win.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court Sunday, focuses on the Jan. 6 meeting of Congress to certify the states' electoral vote counts and finalize Biden's victory over President Donald Trump. The incumbent vice president, which is Pence, presides over the largely ceremonial meeting as written in the 1887 federal law known as the Electoral Count Act. 

However, the lawsuit asks a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas to strike down the act as unconstitutional according to the Twelfth Amendment. The lawsuit cites the "exclusive dispute resolution mechanisms" which allow the vice president to determine which slate of electors count for a given state. 

Electors across the country cast their votes on Dec. 14. Biden won, receiving 306 electoral votes, compared to Trump's 232. In some Biden states, pro-Trump electors cast ballots of their own, however, they have no legal significance. 

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Legal experts quickly dismissed the validity of the lawsuit online. 

"The suit will go nowhere," Joshua Geltzer, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, tweeted.

"No, this won't work," Rick Haen, an election law expert, tweeted. 

Gohmert is joined by 11 other plaintiffs in the suit against Pence including Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward.

Pence has faced pressure from core Trump supporters to disrupt the Jan. 6 event. Before leaving for Florida for the Christmas holiday, Trump hosted several House Republican lawmakers at the White House to discuss an ultimately futile effort to block Congress from affirming Biden's victory in the November election.

On Jan. 6, a lawmaker can object to a state’s votes on any grounds. The objection will not be heard unless it is in writing and signed by both a member of the House and a member of the Senate.

If there is such a joint request, then the joint session suspends and the House and Senate go into separate sessions to consider it. For the objection to be sustained, both chambers must agree to it by a simple majority vote. If they disagree, the original electoral votes are counted.

The last time such an objection was considered was 2005, when Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected to Ohio’s electoral votes by claiming there were voting irregularities. Both chambers debated the objection and rejected it. It was only the second time such a vote had occurred.

Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, urged lawmakers to remember that an effort to block the election results in Congress was “just not going anywhere.”

“I mean, in the Senate, it would go down like a shot dog," Thune told CNN. "I just don’t think that it makes a lot of sense to put everybody through this when you know what the ultimate outcome is gonna be.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told Senate Republicans that a dispute over the results in January would yield a “terrible vote” for Republicans. They would have to choose whether to back Trump or publicly buck him.

The full lawsuit can be read below.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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