Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21), nine of his House GOP colleagues, and Mountain States Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Texas v. DOJ.
The brief supports the State of Texas’ position that the passage of the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill for FY 2023 violated the Constitution’s physical quorum requirement and should be overturned.
Last December, 226 Members of the House of Representatives voted by proxy on final passage of the omnibus spending bill – marking the first time in American history that a chamber of Congress passed a bill without a physical majority present.
The brief contends,“Article I [of the Constitution] unmistakably requires that House and Senate members be physically present when conducting certain legislative business.”
“The United States has endured for nearly 250 years because of our commitments to the Constitution and to representative government. The COVID-19 pandemic is no excuse to abandon these commitments.”
Signers of the amicus brief also include Representatives H. Morgan Griffith (VA-9), Andy Ogles (TN-5), Harriet Hageman (WY-AL), Andy Biggs (AZ-5), Clay Higgins (LA-3), Warren Davidson (OH-8), Gary Palmer (AL-6), Matt Rosendale (MT-2), and John Rose (TN-6).
“Our government is one of checks and balances. For our constitutional structure to work, however, it must be followed,” the brief adds. “…the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 cannot be sustained as proper exercise of Congress’s power to enact legislation.”
The full text of the amicus brief may be viewed here; other key quotes are below.
- “Americans are blessed to live under a written Constitution. And there is no dispute that the Constitution places limits not solely on what legislation may be enacted, but the manner in which it is enacted.”
- “Consistent with the principles surrounding representative government, the Constitution does not permit the House of Representatives to adopt an exception to the rule that one must vote in person. In short, to do business, Congress must have a quorum physically present in the House.”
- “The House of Representatives’ adoption of proxy voting rules was unconstitutional on the day that it was announced; this Court therefore has the power—indeed the duty—to review and adjudicate the constitutionality of legislation enacted due only to proxy voting.”
- “The Constitution was made for times such as this, when government may claim emergency powers or special privileges to respond to extraordinary circumstances. But affording the government such powers undermines our structure of government, and ultimately imperils American citizens even more than infectious disease does.”
- “This Court may correct a constitutional error, and restore the primacy of the Constitution, by preliminarily enjoining the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.”