Pence Leaves Biden’s DOJ Hanging

Senate Democrats, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Former Vice President Mike Pence is going to be fighting the subpoena sent by the Department of Justice’s special counsel investigating former President Trump.

Pence is going to have to bring on a lengthy legal battle in order to resist the subpoena. This is not the first time that Pence has been reluctant to testify about the events that took place on January 6, 2021. Depending on the outcome of Pence’s fight against the subpoena there could potentially be important changes to the definition of powers and privileges held by the vice President. It could also be a big roadblock in Smith’s investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections, as well as his possible role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

Pence’s legal argument will relate to his role on Jan. 6 as the presiding officer of the Senate. His legal team will claim that as this work falls under the legislative branch, he should be protected by the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution. The clause provides lawmakers protection when being questioned outside the legislative chambers.

Juliet Sorenson, a law professor at Northwestern University has argued that if former vice President Pence is successful in blocking the subpoena, then it could “morph our understanding of separation of powers.” She added however that she did not think it was likely to be successful as the Constitution clearly states the branch that the vice president belongs to.

However, some believe that the vice president’s periodic role within the Senate could allow the position to have the same protection as other Senate members and positions.