Louie Gohmert Sues Congress For Metal Detector Discrimination
"Oh, thank Crom!" said your Wonkette back in 2013 when Terry McAuliffe beat Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in that state's gubernatorial race after Cooch went to court to protect his sacred right to ban sodomy. "Now we won't ever have to think about that buttsex-obsessed weirdo again."
How innocent we were then!
Back in private practice, the Cooch got bored with B-holes and got really into immigrants. More specifically, how to whiten up God's own America by keeping 'em all out. And despite Mitch McConnell's repeated warnings that he couldn't get that dipshit confirmed, Donald Trump continued to stick him in to random jobs at the Department of Homeland Security. And even when a court said "Nope, that's illegal," Cooch just stuck around anyway.
But now he's finally out on his ass, and he's found someone even dumber to pal around with. But not in a gay butt way, of course! (He HATES that!) GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert, the dumbest man in Congress, has teamed up with Cuccinelli to file the platonic ideal of a ridiculous lawsuit.
Remember how Gohmert's ideological compatriots overran Congress in January in an effort to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's win? And after that, how Speaker Nancy Pelosi put metal detectors at the entrance to the House because too many crazy people were bringing guns onto the House floor? Maybe even some of the same people who stalk other members, running after them in the halls and shouting?
So, Gohmert and his fellow Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde, the wackadoodle who described the insurrection as a "normal tourist visit," despite photos of him barring the door in a panic, are suing the Sergeant at Arms because the magnetometers are UNLEGAL. Also, too, they're suing the Chief Administrator of the House on the theory that the fines they keep racking up by blowing off the scanners are UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
They are not suing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though, even though they allege in the complaint that this is all her fault.
"Upon information and belief, Speaker Pelosi has instituted an unconstitutional policy of enforcing the Screening Rule against only members of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, and exempting members of the Democratic majority from its enforcement, resulting in only Republican members being fined and having their congressional salaries reduced, all for the purpose of creating a false narrative for the political benefit of the House Democratic majority," they argue. "The enforcement of the screening rule has prevented Republican members of the House from exercising their constitutional duty of representation by delaying them from reaching the House Chamber in time to vote."
Let us stipulate as a threshold matter that it is highly unlikely that the US District Court in DC — or any federal court in the land — is going to wade in and tell the House how to run its own business. That is not how separation of powers goes, as Gohmert learned last winter when he filed that preposterous lawsuit trying to get a court to intervene to stop the election certification. Or, he would have, if he weren't Louie freakin' Gohmert, a former judge who seems incapable of understanding the political question doctrine.
Besides which, there's that pesky business in Article I, Section 5 about "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member." And since Speaker Pelosi holds the gavel, she gets to make the rules. So even if she were ordering the Sergeant at Arms to selectively enforce the policy — and we sure as hell aren't going to take Louie Gohmert's word for it — there'd probably be nothing the courts could do about it.
Gohmert, Clyde, and Cooch have dealt with this issue by denying that the congressmen's conduct was "disorderly."
"'Disorderly behavior' had a clear meaning in 1789 requiring affirmative action on the part of a member 'in a manner violating good order,'" they write, citing a dictionary from 1828. "No action of plaintiff in this case violated either law or good order at any time, nor was either plaintiff reasonably characterized as 'disorderly' at any time." Words mean whatever we say they mean, your honor!
But wait, there's more! Did you know it's illegal for Congress to punish its own members with fines, according to the Twenty-Seventh Amendment's prohibition on a law that increases or decreases a congressman's salary during the current term? This would be news to the dozens of members who have paid fines in the past 50 years, and it was not an argument put forward by the plaintiffs when Rep. Rashida Tlaib was fined $10,800 last August for screwing up her campaign finance disclosures. Of course, the House Rule imposing the fine is not a "law" at all. But this also isn't really a "lawsuit" within the traditional meaning of the word, so carry on, fellas!
Plus there's the minor matter of qualified immunity, since you can't actually sue the government for any old thing that hurts your wee fee fees.
Last but not least, let's give a slow clap to Cooch for coming up with the bizarroworld idea that magnetometers inside the Capitol building in an area accessible only to Congress members and their staffs amount to "Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same," in violation of Article I, Section 6. No one got arrested — they blew off the detectors and they have to pay the fine. And they weren't "going to" or "returning from" their jobs at the Capitol, since they were there all the time. But points for creativity!
In summary and in conclusion, this is drivel, and everyone involved with it should feel bad.
Shine on, you batshit crazy diamonds! Shine on.
[Clyde v. Walker docket via Court Listener]
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.