Kevin McCarthy Asks Supreme Court to End House Proxy Voting

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Politics|In a caller appeal, Kevin McCarthy asks the Supreme Court to extremity proxy voting successful the House.

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California during a quality    league  astatine  the Capitol successful  July.
Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Catie Edmondson

  • Sept. 9, 2021, 2:33 p.m. ET

Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the number leader, asked the Supreme Court connected Thursday to onslaught down the proxy voting strategy adopted by the House of Representatives past twelvemonth to let for distant legislating during the pandemic.

Mr. McCarthy’s entreaty came aft a national appeals tribunal tossed retired a suit helium filed against Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California seeking to invalidate the voting system, the archetypal successful history to let members of Congress to formed votes successful the House without being physically present.

In that July ruling, a three-judge sheet of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously agreed that courts did not person jurisdiction nether the Constitution to wade into the House’s rules and procedures. The determination upheld an earlier ruling by a Federal District Court and was endorsed by judges nominated by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump, suggesting a wide statement connected the issue.

But House Republicans person continued to property the substance contempt the setbacks, casting the distant voting rules arsenic a governmental “power grab” by Democrats designed to pad their razor-thin bulk — though galore Republicans person besides adopted the signifier in caller months, arsenic distant voting has go a instrumentality of idiosyncratic and governmental convenience for lawmakers.

“Although the Constitution allows Congress to constitute its ain rules, those rules cannot interruption the Constitution itself,” Mr. McCarthy said successful a statement, “including the request to really assemble successful person.”

House Democrats implemented the peculiar rules successful May 2020, allowing lawmakers who were not contiguous to designate different members arsenic proxies who would formed their votes according to circumstantial instructions. They person argued that the changes are indispensable for information reasons, fixed the information of traveling successful a pandemic and the request for societal distancing. They person besides noted that a fig of Republican lawmakers person refused to stock their vaccination presumption oregon deterioration masks successful the crowded rooms of Congress.

It is unclear however agelong the measure, which was presented arsenic a impermanent one, mightiness last.

Republicans, led by Mr. McCarthy, rapidly filed suit. They argued that the nation’s founders had intended for Congress to conscionable successful person, and argued that the proxy voting strategy violated law principles. They person besides promised to instantly instrumentality to mean voting procedures if they retake the bulk adjacent year.

The system, which has besides allowed members of Congress for the archetypal clip to behaviour distant committee hearings and record bills electronically, has been utilized by lawmakers successful some parties for purposes different than its intended one. Some members person utilized distant voting to prevention them the hassle of traveling from their districts to Washington, portion others person utilized it to beryllium capable to formed a ballot portion attending governmental events. And it has served the interests of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tin sick spend absences successful Democratic ranks fixed her slim bulk successful the House.

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