Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) released a statement on Saturday denying he was advocating for violence in comments he made after a court dismissed a lawsuit seeking to give Vice President Mike Pence the ability to reject electoral votes.
A federal appeals court on Saturday dismissed the last-gasp lawsuit led by the House Republican that aimed to give Pence the power to overturn the results of the presidential election won by Joe Biden when Congress formally counts the Electoral College votes Wednesday. It came a day after a district court judge dismissed the case.
After the ruling on Friday, Gohmert appeared on network Newsmax to call the Electoral Count Act, which gives the vice president a procedural role in counting electors, unconstitutional.
“Basically, in effect, the ruling would be you’ve got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM,” Gohmert said before host Emerald Robinson cut him off.
But on Saturday, Gohmert said he was not advocating violence and has “long advocated for following the teaching and example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of peaceful protest.”
“Violence is not the answer,” he said. “The appropriate answer is courts and self-governing bodies resolving disputes as intended.”
Pence, as president of the Senate, will oversee the session and declare the winner of the White House race. The Electoral College this month cemented Biden’s 306-232 victory, and multiple legal efforts by President Donald Trump's campaign to challenge the results have failed.
The suit named Pence, who has a largely ceremonial role in next week's proceedings, as the defendant and asked the court to throw out the 1887 law that spells out how Congress handles the vote counting. It asserted that the vice president “may exercise the exclusive authority and sole discretion in determining which electoral votes to count for a given State.”
In dismissing the lawsuit filed by Gohmert and a group of Republican electors from Arizona, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday agreed with Friday's ruling of U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle – a Trump appointee – that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the suit.
Kernodle wrote that the plaintiffs “allege an injury that is not fairly traceable” to Pence, “and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief.”
"We need say no more, and we affirm the judgment essentially for the reasons stated by the district court," the three-judge appeals panel ruled Saturday.
The Justice Department represented Pence in a case that aimed to find a way to keep his boss, President Donald Trump, in power. In a court filing in Texas on Thursday, the department said the plaintiffs “have sued the wrong defendant" — if, in fact, any of those suing actually have “a judicially cognizable claim.”
As many as 140 Republican members of the House and at least 12 Republican members of the Senate are set to formally object to the Biden's win when the votes are counted Wednesday. Several other Republicans have criticized this effort, calling it a "dangerous" and "egregious" ploy.
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