Today is a shameful day in the history of our country, where a proxy vote will take place in the House.
With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) becoming the power broker for House votes, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) along with 20 other House Republicans and a handful of constituents have filed a lawsuit claiming proxy voting is unconstitutional.
The Power Grab
With almost 10 percent of the House missing, Pelosi conducted a vote to allow House business to be conducted virtually, including a proxy vote.
The measure passed by a vote of 217-189 on May 15, much to the chagrin of Republicans.
The Constitution does stipulate that each chamber can write its own rules regarding how business is conducted, but it is unlikely our Framers and Founders ever imagined a day when power could be shifted to so few individuals without an assembly ever taking place.
This goes the very heart of the lawsuit being brought on my Rep. McCarthy.
On his website, McCarthy stated, “This week, House Democrats will break over 230 years of precedent and allow Members of Congress to vote by proxy on the House floor.
“This is not simply arcane parliamentary procedure. It is a brazen violation of the Constitution, a dereliction of our duty as elected officials, and would silence the American people’s voice during a crisis. Although I wish this matter could have been solved on a bipartisan basis, the stakes are too high to let this injustice go unaddressed.
“That is why, along with other members of the House and our constituents, I have filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn Speaker Pelosi’s unconstitutional power grab.”
It should be noted that we have gone through far worse in this country and the House never succumbed to allowing proxy voting before.
The Civil War, Spanish Flu, 9/11, and even during Yellow Fever in the late 1700s, the House always assembled.
Will He Succeed?
While the attempt at stopping Pelosi is a valiant one, legal precedent does not stand on the side of McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress.
Due to the wording of the Constitution, technically, Pelosi is well within her rights.
There is also the fact that historically, the federal court refused to get involved when it comes to procedural matters due to that clause in the Constitution that allows for each chamber to decide its procedures.
McCarthy may have found a stipulation, though, that will at least give pause for thought.
He stated, “While the Constitution allows Congress to write its own rules, those rules cannot violate the Constitution itself — namely, the requirement of actual assembly. Rapid and robust legal relief is necessary.
“The alternative — a small number of members dictating the businesses of the whole House while the people’s voice is diluted — is unacceptable and would only make it more difficult for Congress to respond in the national interest.”
On that front, McCarthy is very much correct and if Democrats are able to move forward, there simply is no telling what other “rules” they will put in place that will enable the House to continue to push forward partisan legislation with zero input from Republicans and no formal debate.