IT Federal Judge Deems $1.7 Trillion Bill Unconstitutional

(IntegrityTimes.com) – A Texas judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has declared a $1.7 trillion spending package passed in late 2022 during the reign of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi unconstitutional due to lack of a majority of members present in the House chamber, otherwise known as a quorum.

The package was passed and signed into law by President Biden, but the Quorum Rule was violated despite former Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) adopting a rule that allowed members to vote by proxy, according to the judge.

The suit was brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) who requested the courts block a provision that required new special legal protections for pregnant women.

U.S. District Judge Wesley Hendrix gave a “limited” ruling on one of the two subsections Paxton wanted blocked. He ruled that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was passed unconstitutionally, and thus blocked the law from enforcement against Texas as an employer.

Paxton filed a brief in late 2023 and argued that the act was unconstitutional due to the circumstances surrounding its passage. Paxton highlighted that more than half of the House of Representatives were absent at the time to provide a quorum, despite constitutional requirements. He said votes by proxy were allowed under a rule change by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi adopted the rule in May 2020 during the height of the pandemic. The rule was dismissed by Republicans after they took control of the lower chamber in early 2023. They had previously attempted to challenge the rule in court, but the D.C. courts sided with Pelosi.

Hendrix highlighted that for 200 years the Constitution’s quorum provision was respected by Congress in his 120-page ruling. He additionally drew attention to Supreme Court precedent regarding the Quorum Clause, saying that it delineates between members who are present and those who are absent for the purposes of establishing a quorum.

Paxton called the passage of the $1.7 trillion package an egregious act. He said that the package was the largest spending package ever in the history of Congress, and lamented the fact that a majority of its members were unconstitutionally absent.

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