Court Battles

Court dismisses GOP suit over proxy voting in House

The U.S. Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza at sunset on June 7
Greg Nash

A federal appeals court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that tried to nix the proxy voting system put in place in the House amid the COVID-19 pandemic to make remote work possible for lawmakers.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously in a 12-page opinion that the lawsuit lacked jurisdiction because the court did not have the authority to make decisions regarding House rules.

McCarthy was alleging that the proxy voting system is unconstitutional.

The ruling upheld an August decision that said the lawsuit should be dismissed because the House “unquestionably has the authority” under the Constitution to determine rules for proceedings.

“The district court dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction,” Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote in the panel’s opinion.

“The court concluded that the Resolution and its implementation lie within the immunity for legislative acts conferred by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. We agree, and we thus affirm the district court’s dismissal of the case,” he added.

A McCarthy spokesperson told The Hill that his office plans to petition the Supreme Court for review of the case later this summer.

“We are disappointed in the DC Circuit’s opinion but look forward to petitioning the Supreme Court for review later this summer,” Michele Exner said in an emailed statement.

The House in May 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, adopted rules to allow lawmakers to cast votes and conduct committee meetings remotely.

The effort to allow for proxy voting was met with GOP opposition, with several lawmakers saying it would limit members’ input in the legislative process and weaken parliamentary tradition.

The rules require the Speaker to extend emergency authority every 45 days, according to the Times. The current period ends in mid-August.

The Hill reached out to McCarthy and Pelosi for comment.

–Updated at 11:02 a.m.

Tags appeals court Bill Clinton Donald Trump House House minority leader Kevin McCarthy Lawsuit Nancy Pelosi Proxy voting Speaker Supreme Court

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