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Carter Joins Lawsuit Against Democrat's Proxy Voting Scheme

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Washington, May 27, 2020 | comments
Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-Ga.) has joined a lawsuit in D.C. Federal District Court challenging the constitutionality of the House Democrat's plan to vote by proxy in the United States House of Representatives. 

"Members of Congress are trusted with the great responsibility of being the voice of a district in Washington," said Carter. "It is impossible to be that voice if you're not there or if you authorize someone else to speak for you. Proxy voting not only ignores the job we were elected to do, it is also a violation of the Constitution. For more than 200 years, through everything from the Civil War to the Spanish flu, voting by proxy was never allowed. Throughout the pandemic, health care professionals, truck drivers, grocery and drug store employees and others have gone to work each and every day. If these hardworking Americans can show up for work, so can we. 

I joined this suit because the Democrat's proxy voting scheme is a blatant power grab by Nancy Pelosi. These drastic, partisan changes to House rules cannot continue. I will be in Washington representing the people of the First District, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same. As we work to safely reopen the nation, we must be the leaders we are asking Americans to be."

Overview and Background of the suit from Leader Kevin McCarthy:

For over 231 years, the House of Representatives has never permitted a Member to vote by proxy from the floor of the chamber. Through the Yellow Fever of 1793, the Civil War, the burning of the Capitol during the War of 1812, the Spanish Flu of 1918, and 9/11, Congress has never flinched from its constitutional duty to assemble at the Nation’s Capital and conduct the People’s business. 

Defying this unbroken record, Democrats, over unified Republican opposition, voted on May 15, to adopt H. Res. 965 authorizing Members to vote by proxy. Voting by proxy is flatly prohibited by the Constitution. It is impossible to read the Constitution and overlook its repeated and emphatic requirement that Members of Congress physically assemble: 

Article I, Section 4, Clause 2 states: “The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall . . . .” 

Article I, Section 5, Clause 1 states: “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections . . . and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; . . . and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members.” 

Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 states: “The Senators and Representatives . . . shall . . . be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses” 

The constitution clearly contemplates the physical gathering together of representatives as a deliberative body. As the Supreme Court has held, to constitute a “quorum” necessary to “do business,” the Constitution requires “the presence of a majority, and when that majority are present the power of the house arises.” United States v. Ballin, 144 U.S. 1, 6 (1892) 

On May 20, Speaker Pelosi claimed that we were in a “covered period” allowing for the proxy voting authorized in H.Res. 965 to proceed. Beginning on May 20, Democrat members of Congress began writing letters to the Clerk of the House giving their vote to different members of Congress. 

The defendants are Speaker Pelosi, the Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson in her official capacity who is responsible for conducting a record vote or quorum call under the rules of the House, and Paul Irving, the House Sergeant at Arms, in his official capacity who is responsible for determining whether a public health emergency has begun and has ended. 
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