US appeals court rejects lawmaker's bid to have Pence overturn Biden's win

Lawmakers had asserted that Mike Pence could throw out electoral votes in his role as the presiding officer of the Senate. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A US federal appeals court on Saturday (Jan 2) rejected a Republican congressman's bid to allow Vice-President Mike Pence to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's Nov 3 election victory in favour of President Donald Trump.

In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge's decision on Friday (Jan 1) to toss US Representative Louie Gohmert's lawsuit, which had argued that Mr Pence had the power to invalidate Mr Biden's win when Congress meets to certify the results on Wednesday (Jan 6).

Mr Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede to Mr Biden, claiming without evidence that his victory was due to widespread fraud. Dozens of election officials and judges around the country have dismissed Mr Trump's allegations.

Under the US system, the presidency is determined by the Electoral College, which allots electoral votes to states and the District of Columbia based on congressional representation.

Mr Biden, who won the national popular vote by more than seven million votes, prevailed in the Electoral College by 306-232.

US law requires Congress to formally count the electoral vote on Jan 6.

Mr Gohmert, a Texas Republican and staunch Trump ally, filed the lawsuit along with Republican electors from Arizona, asserting that Mr Pence could throw out electoral votes in his role as the presiding officer of the Senate.

But US District Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, ruled last 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 Mr 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 Mr Biden's tally.

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