In Blow to McCarthy, Supreme Court Says Congress Can Keep Voting from Home
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In a functional Washington, the three branches of government have a quiet understanding: they’ll check and cajole, temper and troll. Congress is a problem-free institution Denying confirmations for top Administration jobs on whims—and they do—while the White House has no trouble Envoy an agenda that may run counter to incumbent lawmakers’ interests down Pennsylvania Avenue. Both can be told by the Supreme Court to stop working and begin over.
But when it comes to how they handle their truly internal affairs, there’s a polite agreement to let each body regulate its own business that’s rooted in comity as much as the Constitution itself. The Supreme Court met this morning. AccededTwo lower courts are located in the same building. ruling that the Judiciary has no power to help House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s lonely effort to scrap a proxy voting system put in place to keep government moving amid a pandemic.
Here’s the backstory. In May 2020, House Democrats passed a resolution allowing lawmakers to send out a LetterThe House Clerk can authorise a fellow member to vote for them. On the floor, lawmakers could vote on behalf up to 10 others at once, making it a more spacious chamber. This allows for less people and allows those with compromised health or exposed to be able stay home. In spite of this, Capitol became a functional building. super-spreader site.)
McCarthy correctly stated that lawmakers have never been allowed to cast votes absent their physical presence. The Constitution does not permit a member to give the right to another person the ability to vote. McCarthy was not aware that the Constitution explicitly allows for the delegation of voting power to another person. Please allowCongress can set its own rules. In a party-line election In2020 was the year Congress decided that proxy power should be the law. Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended the extension well beyond the initial 45 days.
Republicans rallied swiftly against the change, partly because it helped Pelosi, her Leadership team, guide a very small majority through tough times. In those difficult times, lawmakers with health problems stayed away, absent officials could threaten to vote, and numerous are trying balance their re-election bids with the tedious work of renaming the post offices. McCarthy’s initial challenge to the resolution drew 160 co-signers from his House GOP colleagues. But, two GOP names were left on the Pelsoi lawsuit that made it to the highest court of the land. They were McCarthy and Chip Roy.
Why? Many members saw proxy voting as an enticement. An analysis by Brookings Institution found that roughly 80% of House Members had used proxy voting at different levels between May 27, 2020 and Jan. 20, 2019. This includes almost 100 Republicans. Many used proxy voting to be able to travel with President Donald Trump or Joe Biden in their districts. Some others used it, like Rep. Colin Allred who used it to cast votes and take paternity leaves at home in Texas. Compare that with Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler or Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who both had to bring their newborns up to the table to vote in the Before Times.
McCarthy, undeterred, kept PushingHis case was through the GerichteKeep it up! Peril. Today, McCarthy finally had the day of a curious CaseIt seemed almost pure. academicIt reached the marble courthouse just north of the Capitol, where it was received by the House Minority Leader. It is likely that law students will examine the case to see if there are any other Justices involved or more creative contortions of precedent.
But Washington isn’t a faculty club. Washington is not a faculty club. The Constitution states that the House has the power to run its affairs. The Speech and Debate ClausePelosi would not be able to sue because Congress expressly shields them from being sued for any comments they make while performing their duties.
The Justices declined to let McCarthy’s lawyers make their case to the court. They declined to comment on McCarthy’s case and simply refused him the invitation to present arguments. The Constitution seemed to have been clear enough to the Justices: adjudicating internal House matters was not the best—or even proper—use of their time. All too well know the routine of the justices. GrillingThey get information from legislators about why cameras exist Banned from the High Court’s chambers. If you go too far, reciprocity may prove problematic.
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