Supreme Court denies Republican leader McCarthy's challenge to House proxy voting

·2 min read
Alex Wong

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to House rules allowing proxy voting, a system adopted during the Covid pandemic.

McCarthy asked the high court in September to overturn the proxy voting rules, which allow lawmakers to cast votes through colleagues so they don't need to be in the House chamber.

Republican lawmakers themselves have taken advantage of the process, which took effect in May 2020.

McCarthy said in a statement at the time that he wanted the court to reverse House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's "perpetual proxy voting power grab."

Pelosi, D-Calif., announced late last month that remote voting would continue until Feb. 13. It was initially set to expire Jan. 4.

A spokesperson for McCarthy said in a statement Monday: "Members of Congress should show up to work on behalf of their constituents, just as they have since our nation was founded.

"We can't rely on a separate branch of government to make Congress do their jobs as intended by the Constitution, and if Republicans earn back the majority, proxy voting will be eliminated on Day One," the spokesperson added.

Pelosi said the Supreme Court's decision was a "victory for Congress, the rule of law and public health."

"With this failed lawsuit, Republicans have worked to recklessly endanger the health of colleagues, staffers and institutional workers," she said. "In doing so, they have fought harder to try to score political points than they have fought to help struggling families during the pandemic."

Pelosi also noted that more than half of House GOP lawmakers last year designated proxies so they could vote remotely.

An NBC News analysis of proxy letters found that more than 90 lawmakers have submitted one since December, about one-sixth coming from Republicans.