A federal appeals court dismissed the lawsuit against House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) that sought to nix the proxy voting system in the House.
How we got here: The proxy voting system was put in place during the coronavirus pandemic and made it possible for lawmakers to work and vote remotely. They were given the option to pick another lawmaker to vote on their behalf.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy challenged the rule. He argued in court that the proxy voting system is unconstitutional because, under the Constitution, a majority of lawmakers must be present in the House to take up business and vote on bills.
The ruling: The three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously that under the Constitution, courts do not have jurisdiction over the House of Representative’s rules and procedures. Thus, they said, the lawsuit should be dismissed.
The appeals court did not weigh in on the merits of the lawsuit claims regarding the proxy voting system.
“The district court dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction. 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,” Sri Srinivasan, the court’s chief judge, wrote on behalf of the panel.
Worth noting: The panel’s decision upheld an earlier ruling from the Federal District Court.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Cortreras last year dismissed the lawsuit, writing in an 18-page opinion that the House “unquestionably has the authority, under the Constitution, to ‘determine the Rules of its Proceedings.'”
“The Court can conceive of few other actions, besides actually debating, speaking, or voting, that could more accurately be described as ‘legislative’ than the regulation of how votes may be cast,” Cortreras added.
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