Washington, D.C. – House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), members of the House Republican Conference, and American citizens are filing suit in D.C. Federal District Court challenging the constitutionality of H. RES 965, the House Democrat plan to vote by proxy.
Leader McCarthy released the following statement on the lawsuit:
“This week, House Democrats will break over 230 years of precedent and allow Members of Congress to vote by proxy on the House floor. This is not simply arcane parliamentary procedure. It is a brazen violation of the Constitution, a dereliction of our duty as elected officials, and would silence the American people’s voice during a crisis. Although I wish this matter could have been solved on a bipartisan basis, the stakes are too high to let this injustice go unaddressed. That is why, along with other members of the House and our constituents, I have filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn Speaker Pelosi’s unconstitutional power grab.
“Already, nearly 60 Democrats have written to the House Clerk to give their vote to another member, and there is one member who presently represents 5 congressional districts under this proxy scheme. Those numbers can and will grow, while the number of members who cast votes in person shrinks. Ultimately, as few as 20 members could control the vote of over 220 members under this rule for the foreseeable future. That is not only irresponsible leadership, it is patently unconstitutional, as 230 years of Congressional history and Supreme Court precedent make abundantly clear.
“Worse, by changing the rules in a way that violates the Constitution itself, Democrats are creating a precedent for further injustice. If their changes are acceptable, what stops the majority from creating a “House Rule” that stipulates the minority party’s votes only count for half of the majority party’s? This is not the representative democracy our Founders envisioned or what our Constitution allows. It is tyranny of the majority.
“The Speaker’s reckless and partisan decision to adopt proxy voting was done despite unified opposition from the minority and even members of her own party. This is a serious matter that will damage the integrity of the House’s actions now and in the future. While the Constitution allows Congress to write its own rules, those rules cannot violate the Constitution itself — namely, the requirement of actual assembly. Rapid and robust legal relief is necessary. The alternative — a small number of members dictating the businesses of the whole House while the people’s voice is diluted — is unacceptable and would only make it more difficult for Congress to respond in the national interest. We must assemble.”
Representing the plaintiffs is Chuck Cooper and Joel Alicea (lead counsel), and Elliott Berke (outside counsel). The suit is being filed in the D.C. Federal District Court to enjoin the use of proxy voting.
An overview of the filing can be found here.