(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Saturday rejected a Republican congressman’s bid to allow Vice President Mike Pence to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 election victory in favor of President Donald Trump.
In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s decision on Friday to toss U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit, which had argued that Pence had the power to invalidate Biden’s win when Congress meets to certify the results on Wednesday.
Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede to Biden, claiming without evidence that his victory was due to widespread fraud. Dozens of election officials and judges around the country have dismissed Trump’s allegations.
Under the U.S. system, the presidency is determined by the Electoral College, which allots electoral votes to states and the District of Columbia based on congressional representation. Biden, who won the national popular vote by more than 7 million votes, prevailed in the Electoral College 306-232.
U.S. law requires Congress to formally count the electoral vote on Jan. 6.
Gohmert, a Texas Republican and staunch Trump ally, filed the lawsuit along with Republican electors from Arizona, asserting that Pence could throw out electoral votes in his role as the presiding officer of the Senate.
But U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, ruled on Friday that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because they had not suffered any personal harm.
The 5th Circuit judges, all appointed by Republican presidents, including a Trump appointee, agreed. The Justice Department, representing Pence, had opposed the lawsuit.
Some Congressional Republicans have said they will object to the electoral count, though their effort appears to have no chance of altering the outcome. On Saturday, Senator Ted Cruz announced a group of 11 senators would challenge Biden’s tally.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by David Gregorio)