Chip Roy on His Effort with House GOP Leadership to Sue Pelosi Over Proxy Voting

May 26, 2020
Press Release

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) released the following statement Tuesday regarding the lawsuit he, along with House Republican leadership and other members, filed challenging the constitutionality of Speaker Pelosi’s new “proxy” vote rule: 

The Democrat-led House of Representatives recently voted for a rule, on close to a party line vote, that upends 231-years of history and the solemn obligation of representation as outlined in the Constitution. 

Until earlier this month, never in American history had the House of Representatives institutionalized a process for one or more of its members not present to give their vote – by so-called “proxy” – to another member. We did not allow proxy voting while the nation was engulfed in the Civil War. We didn’t allow it while the Capitol building was on fire during the War of 1812. We didn’t allow it through World Wars and the Spanish Flu.  We didn’t allow proxy voting after 9/11. Why are we doing it now? 

The American People send their representatives to Washington to represent them, which in no small part means casting votes for them. By adopting the new rule, they are allowing Representatives to delegate away something that is un-delegable.  Our constituents delegate to their elected member, and their elected member alone, the duty to decide votes on their behalf.  

Perhaps more – this new rule would dilute the voting representation of Americans whose representative casts, properly, only his or her vote, while another member his or her vote and put to ten additional votes.  For this reason, I am proud that a constituent of mine has also joined the litigation to preserve proper representation.

America is flexible. We certainly can adapt and use technology where appropriate to streamline hearings, committee work, and share information.  But the Constitution rightfully contemplates a quorum be present, and that no member of Congress passes off his or her obligation to vote to another.

It would be preferred for the House of Representatives to police its own adherence to the Constitution, rather than go to the Article III Courts. But, the rules of the House limit virtually all action and debate to the majority – in this case, led by Speaker Pelosi. Because the damage to the institution would be so significant and immediate, it demands we resolve this question quickly to protect the Constitution and true representation in our great Republic.

I am particularly pleased that the effort to challenge this constitutional rule is being represented by my friend and one of the finest legal minds in the nation, Chuck Cooper.