Supreme Court Turns Down House Republican’s Appeal Over Refusal to Follow Mask Mandate

The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a coalition of House Republicans regarding pay deductions they faced for non-compliance with the COVID-19 mask mandate in the House of Representatives during 2021 and 2022.

The lawsuit, brought forth by Representatives Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), was dismissed by the lower courts.

Reportedly, Ms. Greene incurred over $100,000 in fines for breaching the requirement to wear masks on the House floor during the COVID-19 pandemic. This sum was deducted from her $174,000 salary.

Every breach led to a $500 deduction from their congressional pay. The lawmakers argue that these deductions violate the 27th Amendment, which bars adjustments to congressional salaries from taking effect until after “an intervening election.”

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, Mr. Massie informed The Epoch Times that the matter extends beyond the mask mandate.

“By allowing Congress to be shielded by the speech or debate clause, even for actions explicitly prohibited by the Constitution, the courts have rendered the 27th Amendment unenforceable,” he said.

“There are other implications of accepting that Congressional behavior, even in contravention of the Constitution, is beyond the reach of the courts,” continued Mr. Massie.

“For instance, do Congressmen have any obligation to allow constituents to engage with their social media accounts, or is the 1st amendment also not justiciable in this context?” he added.

Ms. Greene and Mr. Norman’s offices did not reply to a request for comment.

Legal representatives for Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) requested that the Supreme Court uphold the ruling of the lower court.

“The rule was controversial, and all Members of the current House Leadership voted against it,” they wrote to the Supreme Court.

“But this case is not about the wisdom of the rule or whether it was based on sound science. Rather, it is about whether Petitioners’ claims are subject to judicial review,” the letter included.

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However, the petitioners’ attorneys wrote, “To let the DC Circuit’s opinion stand would be to render the Twenty-Seventh Amendment non-justiciable in violation of this Court and the DC Circuit’s own precedents and to open the floodgates to unfathomable discipline.”

They continued, “The House Rules, under this Doctrine, could impose physical punishment, flogging, or even more medieval forms of punishment, upon members and, under the DC Circuit’s precedent, no judicial remedy would be available, the Eighth Amendment notwithstanding.”

In March 2022, a district judge threw out the lawsuit, and in June 2023, the circuit court affirmed the decision.

“The Representatives sued the Speaker of the House, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the Chief Administrative Officer, claiming the adoption and enforcement of the Resolution violated the First Amendment, the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, the Discipline Clause, the Compensation clause, and the Presentment Clause,” wrote the appeals court.

The ruling states that the speaker is protected from lawsuits contesting the management of the House.

Overseeing the case in the appeals court were Judges Neomi Rao, appointed by Trump; J. Michelle Childs, appointed by Biden; and David Tatel, appointed by Clinton.

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By Hunter Fielding
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