A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Mike Pence by Republican lawmakers who wanted the US vice-president to overturn the results of the November 3 election.
The ruling is yet another blow to Donald Trump and his allies who continue to falsely insist that the election was rigged.
US media on Friday night reported that Texas US District judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, threw out the case as the plaintiffs — Louie Gohmert, a Republican US representative from Texas, and several Republicans from Arizona — lacked standing.
The Associated Press said Mr Kernodle wrote that the plaintiffs “allege an injury that is not fairly traceable” to Mr Pence, “and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief”.
Mr Gohmert and the Arizona Republicans sought to scrap the rules on how Congress certifies presidential elections, in an effort to give Mr Pence the ability to throw out the results next week.
In a 14-page court filing made on behalf of the vice-president, Department of Justice lawyers on Thursday called the lawsuit a “walking legal contradiction” and argued Mr Pence was not the proper person to sue in the matter.
Last month members of the Electoral College gathered in state capitals and the District of Columbia to formally select Joe Biden as the US president-elect, and their ballots are set to be counted and certified by both houses of Congress on Wednesday.
Mr Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, will oversee the session and declare the winner of the US presidential race.
Mr Trump and his allies have filed dozens of lawsuits challenging the election results and almost all of them have been dismissed or dropped.
The US Supreme Court has rejected two cases. Though the legal assaults have failed to reverse Mr Biden’s victory, the unsubstantiated claims of fraud have undermined faith in the US electoral system.