Republicans who opposed Pelosi's mask rule are taking the matter to the Supreme Court

December 3, 2023

A group of House Republicans who refused to comply with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) congressional facemask mandate are taking the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The House Republicans, according to The Hill, are U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Ralph Norman (R-SC).

Background

The New York Post reports that Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats instituted the facemask mandate for House members during the summer of 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.

The mandate required members to cover their faces while in the House chamber, although an exception was made for speaking during debates.

Pelosi and her fellow Democrats would go on to institute fines for any violators of the mandate. The House member would be fined $500 for a first violation, and the member would be fined $2,500 for each subsequent violation.

Massie, Greene, and Norman were part of a group of House members that refused to comply with the mask mandate. And, accordingly, in 2021, they were each fined $500.

The ensuing legal battle

Since then, the group has legally challenged the mandate and the fines.

The lower court dismissed the lawsuit. The matter was then appealed, and the appellate court, again, ruled against the three congressmen.

The Daily Caller reports:

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals held in June that the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause makes Pelosi and other named defendants, former House Sergeant at Arms William Walker and House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor, immune from the lawsuit.

Now, the trio is attempting to get the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case.

The Republicans' latest plea

Massie, Greene, and Norman have now filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking the justices to consider whether or not Pelosi's mandate and the corresponding fine violate the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"In addition to concerns about pay increases, the Founders were also greatly concerned that diminishing congressional pay could be used to pressure Members from exercising independent judgment, which could prevent qualified men of modest means from serving in the new national legislature," the lawmakers wrote in their petition.

They continued, "[F]inancial retaliation against members of Congress is a tool by which Members’ independence can be degraded. It is crucial that the Twenty-Seventh Amendment be given effect, lest there be another means by which members of Congress are subjected to retaliation for their decision to act in accordance with the desires of their district rather than the desires of the Speaker of the House."

At the time of this writing, it remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court justices will take the case.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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