Of all of the bad men in politics in Texas, Republican Representative Louie Gohmert, who made the news earlier this year when he boldly claimed that wearing a mask gave him covid-19, is likely not the worst, but he’s probably the stupidest.
So it’s not surprising that Gohmert is behind the latest effort to subvert the will of the people and throw the election to the loser, Donald Trump, by means of a lawsuit targeted at Mike Pence.
More, via Politico:
Gohmert and a handful of the would-be electors sued Pence in federal court on Monday in a long-shot bid to throw out the rules that govern Congress’ counting of electoral votes next week. It’s an effort they hope will permit Pence — who is tasked with leading the Jan. 6 session of the House and Senate — to simply ignore President-elect Joe Biden’s electors and count Trump’s losing slates instead.
The lawsuit asserts that the 1887 law known as the Electoral Count Act, the vague statute that has long governed the electoral vote counting process with minimal drama, unconstitutionally binds Pence from exercising total authority to choose which votes to count.
“Under the Twelfth Amendment, Defendant Pence alone has the exclusive authority and sole discretion to open and permit the counting of the electoral votes for a given state, and where there are competing slates of electors, or where there is objection to any single slate of electors, to determine which electors’ votes, or whether none, shall be counted,” the suit contends.
I’m pretty sure that’s not how any of this works, but here’s what someone who went to lawyer school has to say:
Through a creative reading of the 12th Amendment, Gohmert’s brigade contends the Constitution empowers Pence to ignore a statute making his work ministerial and select “competing slates of Presidential Electors.” The lawsuit, which was filed against Pence in his official capacity as vice president, is based on outright falsehoods—there are no “competing electors”—and an absurd misreading of federal law that would let the VP unilaterally decide the outcome of his own election.
The only positive thing to say about Gohmert’s lawsuit is that it may ruin Pence’s ski vacation in Colorado! As Politico noted, this lawsuit represents something of a pickle for the outgoing VP—it “put[s] Pence in the position of having to either contest the suit — putting him on the opposite side of Trump and his GOP defenders — or support it and lay bare the intention to subvert the will over the voters in the 2020 election.” Is Pence shitting his brains out in his snow pants right now? One can only hope!
The decades-old Hyde Amendment, which bars federal Medicaid funds from paying for the vast majority of abortion services, may receive renewed attention during the Biden administration. As NBC News reported, Democrats like Representative Rosa DeLauro and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are ready for the ban to be tossed out.
“This is the last year,” DeLauro said earlier in December during a House hearing, adding, “The time has come in this current moment to reckon with the norm, with the status quo.” Pelosi, for her part, called getting rid of the discriminatory ban “long overdue.”
While President-elect Joe Biden recently reversed his stance on the Hyde Amendment—he supported the ban for years, only switching his position in June of last year during the Democratic presidential primary—the staunchest opposition will come not from Biden, but from Republicans in the Senate. Via NBC News:
But most Republican lawmakers oppose abortion rights and favor the Hyde restrictions. Even if they lose control of the Senate in the Georgia runoffs Jan. 5, they’ll retain filibuster power and be able to force a 60-vote threshold to pass a bill in the chamber.
If Biden uses his veto power to demand removal of the Hyde Amendment, it could enhance the Democrats’ leverage. But the president-elect’s recent focus has been on other matters and it’s not clear how much political capital he will spend on that goal.
As for how much political capital Biden would be willing to spend to get rid of the Hyde Amendment, my guess is, not much!
- President-elect Joe Biden will use the Defense Production Act to speed up the production of the covid-19 vaccine, thank god! [CNBC]
- The House is expected to override Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, because the only thing Republicans love more than Trump is eternal war. [Washington Post]
- States like New York and Washington are stepping in to fill the breach left by the Trump administration when it comes to covid-19 relief. Now tax the rich and do more. [New York Times/Seattle Times]
- Kelly Loeffler is definitely not okay.
- Dr. James Phillips, the Walter Reed doctor who criticized Donald Trump’s photo op after being treated for covid-19, worked his last day at the medical center. [NPR]
- Too late, Rupert! [CNN]