Federal Court: Biden’s Big Spending Bill Was Unconstitutionally Passed

By Victor Winston, updated on February 28, 2024

A federal judge recently made a startling declaration that has sent ripples through the legislative and judicial branches of the United States.

A $1.7 trillion spending bill passed in December 2022 was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge, setting a precedent that questions the validity of proxy voting.

At the heart of the controversy is the decision by United States District Judge James Wesley Hendrix. The judge ruled that the process used to pass the bill, specifically the lack of a physical quorum, violated the Constitution. This ruling notably affects the enforcement of certain laws, including the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act against the state of Texas.

The ruling resulted from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's legal challenge against the passage of the spending bill. The heart of Paxton's argument was the use of proxy voting by the House of Representatives to pass the bill, a method enabled under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic's necessitated social distancing measures. This approach, Paxton contended, was impermissible under the Constitution.

The Quorum Clause and Its Implications on Legislation

Judge Hendrix's 120-page opinion is a pivotal assertion of the physical presence requirement outlined in the Constitution's Quorum Clause. AG Ken Paxton expressed his relief and validation over the court's decision. He remarked:

Congress acted egregiously by passing the largest spending bill in U.S. history with fewer than half the members of the House bothering to do their jobs, show up, and vote in person. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi abused proxy voting under the pretext of COVID-19 to pass this law, then Biden signed it, knowing they violated the Constitution. This was a stunning violation of the rule of law. I am relieved the Court upheld the Constitution.

The case brought forward by Attorney General Paxton in February 2023 specifically targeted the method of passing the bill during what were undoubtedly extraordinary times due to the pandemic. Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House, and President Joe Biden were central figures in Paxton's accusation of constitutional violation due to their roles in the passing and signing of the bill.

Future Implications and the Response from Washington

This ruling poses significant questions for the future of legislative processes in the United States, especially in times of emergency or crisis. The Supreme Court had previously rejected a Republican challenge to proxy voting in January 2022, suggesting a complex legal territory surrounding the practice.

As of the reporting, the White House has not offered comments regarding Judge Hendrix's ruling. This silence from the executive branch adds a layer of uncertainty regarding the federal government's response to a decision that undermines the legality of a major spending bill.

The precedence set by this ruling could have wide-reaching effects on how laws are debated, voted on, and passed in Congress, especially in situations requiring rapid response or during times of national emergency. The reliance on traditional methods of legislative participation and the strict adherence to the Constitution's requirements are now back at the forefront of legal and political discourse.

Federal Judge's Ruling Challenges Proxy Voting and Legislative Process

In conclusion, the recent ruling by a federal judge declaring the lack of a physical quorum in the passing of the $1.7 trillion spending bill as unconstitutional catapults the issue of proxy voting into the spotlight. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act enforcement against Texas is directly affected, bringing into question the validity of legislation passed under similarly contentious methods.

Attorney General Ken Paxton's successful lawsuit against the bill's passage marks a notable challenge to legislative procedure, highlighting a significant tension between the mechanisms of government function and the constitutional requirements that govern them. This ruling questions the efficacy of Congress's response to extraordinary circumstances and reiterates the inviolability of the Constitution's mandates regarding legislative proceedings.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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