Federal Judge Rules $1.7 Trillion Spending Bill Unconstitutional

(TargetDailyNews.com) – A federal judge in Texas has just upended a $1.7 trillion spending package passed by Congress in 2022. U.S. District Judge Wesley Hendrix ruled that the bill’s passage during the pandemic period was unconstitutional due to the lack of a quorum, or a majority of members physically present in the chamber. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) adopted a rule that granted Representatives the ability to vote by proxy, but now Hendrix is ruling that the move was unconstitutional.

The suit was brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who wanted to block part of the law that funded additional legal protections for pregnant women. Hendrix issued a “limited” ruling. Hendrix, a Trump appointee, said that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was passed improperly, and thus blocked it from being applied to employees of the state of Texas.

The act went into effect in December 2022 and required employers to offer reasonable accommodations for employees who are pregnant. Hendrix’s ruling only applied to government workers.

Paxton argued similarly that the package was passed unconstitutionally due to the lack of a quorum present in the chamber at the time. Many members voted by proxy due to concerns about the pandemic. The rule that allowed voting by proxy was enacted in May 2020 by Pelosi. Republicans ditched the rule when they took over the chamber in early 2023.

Hendrix’s 120-page ruling laid out the precedent that for 200 years the House had always voted in person. There was an implicit understanding that members were required to be physically present in the chamber to vote on the issue, citing the Quorum Clause of the Constitution.

Hendrix additionally reminded the court that the SCOTUS backed the precedent and the text of the clause specifically distinguishes those present and those absent to determine whether or not there’s a quorum.

Paxton called the passage of the $1.7 trillion bill an egregious act by Congress. He said that Speaker Pelosi and Biden both advanced that bill with awareness that they were behaving in violation of the Constitution. He said he was “relieved” that the court upheld the spirit and letter of the law.

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