U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Kevin McCarthy Over Pelosi Spat

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The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a lawsuit brought by House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) over rules in the House allowing for proxy voting following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, a previous ruling against McCarthy will remain in effect. Proxy voting entails members of the House getting other members to cast votes on their behalf, which Republicans have claimed to be unconstitutional. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) — the last rank-and-file GOP member besides McCarthy to remain on the lawsuit as a plaintiff — previously characterized proxy voting as “an unconstitutional attack on a functional Congress — allowing members to avoid their responsibility to meet in DC to do their jobs.” The thing is: numerous Republicans have used voting-by-proxy for various reasons throughout the course of the pandemic.

As explained by POLITICO, with the previous ruling against McCarthy, which the Supreme Court has allowed to stand, a “three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously agreed that the courts did not have jurisdiction under the Constitution to weigh in on the House’s rules and procedures.” Although proxy voting, as allowed in the House, requires members using it to formally state that they’re “unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency,” members — including Republicans — have used it for unrelated reasons. Republicans even utilized proxy voting procedures to allow them to attend last year’s Florida edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) pointedly noted at the time that “[apparently] hypocrisy has become a [tenet] of the Republican Party.”

Reporter Kyle Cheney observed on Twitter that “judges are extremely reticent to intervene in the House’s interpretation of its own rules,” explaining that “[this] principle is among the reason the courts are highly unlikely to determine that the Jan. 6 committee is invalid despite lacking GOP Leader McCarthy’s appointees.” It’s McCarthy’s own fault that the panel doesn’t have any of his appointees on it; after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected a few of his picks, he entirely withdrew from the process… which hasn’t stopped Republicans from characterizing the lack of McCarthy-backed involvement in the committee as Pelosi’s doing.

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