Speaker Johnson sides with constitutionality of Pelosi's masking fines

 December 24, 2023

Several Republican members of Congress challenged the fines associated with not wearing a mask, which was set in place originally by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was one of the Republicans challenging the constitutionality of the fines, but she just met resistance from an unexpected colleague.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) was essentially forced to side with Pelosi's masking rule, according to RawStory.

House members were fined for not donning the masks, and it became a huge issue within the halls of Congress over the course of several years.

"When U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and two other Republicans decided to ask the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the fines they paid after refusing to wear masks on the House floor, they put the chamber’s new GOP leadership in a tough spot," Tia Mitchell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

She added, "And those leaders, including Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, have chosen to defend the fines even as they say they don’t like the policy put into place by his predecessor. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, implemented an escalating fine system for mask infractions."

"Attorneys for Johnson argue the constitutionality of the fines as part of their response to Greene and her co-defendants, Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Ralph Norman of South Carolina," said the report.

"Earlier this month, the trio asked the Supreme Court to review their case after two lower courts upheld the fines."

The speaker's attorneys made it clear that the rule was "controversial" and largely unsupported by House Republicans, but added that it wasn't about whether or not the rule was wise.

“The rule was controversial, and all members of the current House Leadership voted against it,” the attorneys stated.

"But this case is not about the wisdom of the rule or whether it was based on sound science."

Greene and other Republicans who filed the petition for the Supreme Court to take up the matter argued that the fines were an "unlawful" deduction from their annual congressional salary.

It was noted that the likelihood of their petition being heard by the high court is low, given the volume of petitions they receive and how few are acted upon.



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