U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, dismissed the suit by Mr. Gohmert and Arizona voters that asked to give Mr. Pence the sole discretion to decide which presidential electors to choose when Congress meets next week to certify the Electoral College vote totals.
In a one-page order, the judge dismissed the complaint without prejudice “for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”
“All pending motions are denied as moot,” the judge wrote.
About 140 House Republicans are planning to object to certifying Mr. Biden’s electoral votes from at least six contested battleground states when Congress meets on Wednesday to count those votes. Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, announced this week that he will join their effort.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is urging his GOP colleagues not to object to Mr. Biden’s vote totals, a position that is angering the president. Mr. McConnell has said the effort is doomed to fail and that Mr. Biden has already been certified by states as the winner.
Mr. Pence’s lawyers in the Justice Department asked the judge on Thursday to reject the request from Mr. Gohmert. The vice president said the legal issues raised by Mr. Gohmert should be addressed to the House and Senate, if they should be raised at all.
Mr. Gohmert’s lawsuit was a last-ditch effort by Republicans to persuade Mr. Pence to interfere in the declaration of Mr. Biden’s victory and flip the election for President Trump.
Mr. Biden received 306 electoral votes to Mr. Trump’s 232. If the House and Senate agreed to reject enough of Mr. Biden’s votes to reduce his total below the threshold of 270, the House would pick the next president.
Traditionally, the vice president’s role during the vote counting as president of the Senate is simply to open the envelopes containing each state’s electoral vote totals.
But Trump allies have been urging Mr. Pence to take a much more active role in rejecting the vote totals from states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin where the Trump team has claimed widespread election fraud.
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