House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Thursday declared that he’s taking his crusade against the House’s proxy voting protocols to the Supreme Court, despite surging cases of COVID-19 throughout the country due to the delta variant.
“Today, we are asking the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution by overturning Speaker Pelosi’s perpetual proxy voting power grab,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Although the Constitution allows Congress to write it’s own rules, those rules cannot violate the Constitution itself, including the requirement to actually assemble in person.”
McCarthy’s statement echoes a talking point among Republicans who paint proxy voting as a practice that works in Democrats’ favor to ensure that they maintain their slim majority.
The proxy voting provision, which allows members to have a colleague vote for them when they cannot be physically present in the chamber, was adopted by the House in March 2020.
CNN notes that the provision has been regularly used among members on both sides of the aisle. Although the provision requires members to attest that they can’t be on the House floor to vote due to the pandemic, CNN reported that members have missed votes to attend political events or trips with the President, citing a review of 185 House votes taken since January.
Neither Republicans nor Democrats have pushed for punishment against members who have used proxy voting outside of its original intent.
House Republicans filed a lawsuit last year to end proxy voting, arguing that constitutional provisions require lawmakers to be physically present to vote. Challenges to the practice have been unsuccessful at the district and appeals court levels.
McCarthy’s aversion to proxy voting comes as several Republicans continue to flout COVID mitigation measures in the chamber.
On Wednesday, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Chip Roy (R-TX) were fined by the House Ethics Committee for repeatedly refusing to wear masks on the House floor.
In addition to Greene and Roy, five other Republican lawmakers have been hit with fines for failing to comply with the House floor’s mask mandate: Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Brian Mast (R-FL), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA).
Greene, Massie and Norman previously filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in July to challenge the constitutionality of the mask fines. They argue that the fines violate the Constitution’s 27th Amendment, which states a law that alters lawmakers’ pay can’t go into effect until after an election. But that claim appears to lack standing due to the House floor mask mandate technically being a rule.
Read McCarthy’s statement below:
I’m asking the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution by overturning Speaker Pelosi’s perpetual proxy voting power grab.
She cannot be permitted to write rules that violate the Constitution itself, including the requirement for Congress to assemble in person.
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/Q9ksUcFCcB
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) September 9, 2021