GOP Leader: Mike Johnson is No Election Denier
Mike Johnson's ascension to House Speaker has rekindled arguments about his motives for his legal challenges of the 2020 election. A local GOP leader pushes back on calling Johnson an election denier.
The ascension of Mike Johnson to Speaker of the House has reignited serious disagreements about Johnson’s role --- in what has become known by many as President Donald Trump’s attempted coup – to stay in power. Louis Avallone challenges the claim that Congressman Mike Johnson is an election denier.
And this Caddo GOP chairman says Johnson was no architect in efforts to overturn the 2020 election, despite any claims otherwise. “I think that they are misinformed to some degree.”
The debate boils down to one question: Was Mike Johnson doing his ‘due diligence’ to guarantee the accuracy and fairness of the 2020 presidential election? Or was Johnson looking for a legal remedy to simply keep Trump in office? As a friend and Republican colleague, Louis Avallone has no qualms with Johnson’s legal efforts challenging Donald Trump’s election loss. It began when Texas filed a last-ditch lawsuit against four states a month after the election. It was Johnson who filed a legal brief in support of the suit, signed by him and 125 other members of congress. The suit claimed the states violated the Constitution when they changed their election procedures to limit the spread of COVID-19. “Where they did not follow their own election laws.”
Johnson’s legal theory relied on something called the “independent state legislature theory,” that only a state legislature can make laws regulating federal elections, and therefore election results in those four states should be thrown out, which would coincidentally give President Trump the victory and another four years in office. Avallone says, “To the extent that a member of Congress wants to ensure that our elections are indeed or have indeed been fair and free of any impropriety, “I don’t consider that to be a negative whatsoever. I consider that to be good governing.”
But three days after Texas’ lawsuit was filed, on December 11 the Supreme Court declined to hear the case because Texas lacked standing to challenge election results of other states. Avallone is among those who feel Johnson’s legal efforts have been unfairly characterized. “It’s not so much that Mike Johnson is a, quote unquote, “election denier,” which is this sensational headline that someone might like to write about Mike.” And that’s why Louis Avallone cautions that you’ve got to put his legal efforts in context.
But voting rights lawyer and founder of Democracy Docket, Marc Elias, said of Johnson, “The newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is no ordinary Republican election denier. He was a ringleader in one of the most dangerous efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.” Elias concluded, “He used his position as a lawyer and member of Congress to legitimize the fringe legal theory underpinning the “Big Lie.”Other than former President Donald Trump, he is arguably the most culpable federal elected official in what transpired on Jan. 6, 2021."
The Supreme Court finally did make a ruling regarding the “independent state legislature theory,” On June 27 of this year. In a 6-3 vote the High Court rejected the theory in the case of Moore v. Harper. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The Elections Clause does not insulate state legislatures from the ordinary exercise of state judicial review.” Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – a longtime friend of Mike Johnson – both joined Roberts’ opinion.