The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit on Monday brought by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
McCarthy and fellow House Republicans sued Speaker Pelosi last year over a proxy voting system that was put in place due to Covid-19, but the Court said that the lawsuit was rejected because it is an internal legislative matter that can’t be challenged in court.
McCarthy had asked the justices last year to overturn a resolution passed by the House that enables members to have a colleague vote for them even though they are not physically present in the House chamber. The resolution allows a member to vote on behalf of as many as 10 absent members. McCarthy released a lengthy statement in May of 2020, when the country was early into the quarantine and uncertainly continued to surround the proper working conditions. The Speaker’s insistence on all members wearing masks while in the House chamber and common spaces of the Capitol met with plenty of resistance which still continues. But as lockdowns were in place all over the country, McCarthy called the Speaker’s rules against proxy voting “an unconsitutional power grab.”
BREAKING Supreme Court has denied GOP leader Kevin McCarthy's lawsuit seeking to invalidate proxy voting for the House, a system adopted during the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/4xKAu4tVtQ
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 24, 2022
Lawyers for McCarthy argued that so far, 300 absent members have appointed another member to vote on their behalf. They say the resolution is unconstitutional in part because members are required to be physically present to do business. They also argued that one member can’t delegate his or her legislative power to another member.
In fact, proxy voting has been used by many of McCarthy's own conference members, including Representative Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 House Republican. 2/2
— Billy House (@HouseInSession) January 24, 2022
Republicans have called the practice “a power move by Democratic leadership” to ensure they keep their slim majority on tight votes regardless of whether all their members are on Capitol Hill, but despite their objections, more than half of the Republican conference have voted by proxy.
McCarthy et al. vs. Pelosi et al. the court case, as opposed to the general operating posture of the House of Representatives.
(TBC: this is important, as proxy voting is a key pandemic adaptation by the House and there are some hard questions to be answered about its future.) https://t.co/uqbqcf5vYO
— Molly Reynolds (@mollyereynolds) January 24, 2022