Republican Party lawmakers said the constitution always contemplated a personal vote. A district court rejected the lawsuit, claiming that the courts lacked the power to police an internal congressional dispute. But McCarthy appealed the case to the United States District of Columbia Court of Appeals, where the matter has been pending since October.
Carta, in a notification to the appeals court, said that Gianforte and Mitchell’s decision to vote by proxy proves that the McCarthy-led process “must fail” and “does not fit in court”.
“The use of remote voting by two plaintiffs also reaffirms the compelling interests that led the House to adopt the rules – allowing the House to conduct its business safely during a crisis, maximizing representation in Congress,” added the Letter. “In announcing his decision to vote remotely, Rep. Mitchell explained that his doctor ‘begged’ him not to travel to Washington, adding that voting remotely allowed him to participate in key legislation without risking his family’s health.”
“It is appropriate that the rules allow him to vote on the Chamber’s recent coronavirus aid package without putting his family at risk,” added the Charter. “The claimants’ ill-conceived process would prevent members in a similar situation from voting and would deprive millions of constituents of representation in the Chamber.”
Most, but not all, Republicans refused to vote by proxy. Representatives Francis Rooney and Matt Gaetz cast proxy votes this year, but neither was the plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Gianforte, who was recently elected governor of Montana and will leave the House next month, sent his proxy vote to Congressman Tom Suozzi (DN.Y.), and Mitchell did it through Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.).
In explaining his decision, Mitchell tweeted to a POLITICO reporter who made the decision in order to protect the health of his family, a justification cited by Carta in his judicial process.