COVID Caucus Sues Nancy Pelosi Because 'Masks'
Members of the US House of Representatives Thomas Massie, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and some guy named Ralph Norman who is apparently also a congressperson are suing Nancy Pelosi for "masks."
Any lawsuit that Thomas Massie and Mad Marge file against Nancy Pelosi is guaranteed to be hilarious. And this one might actually be even better than I had hoped.
According to three people WHOSE JOB IS TO WRITE LAWS, it is a violation of the First Amendment, the 27th Amendment, and Article I, Sections 5-7 of the Constitution for House members to wear masks to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Honestly, I'm just surprised they didn't add HIPAA and doing the Ricos in here.
This is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen
This week, the thick three filed suit in DC federal court against Pelosi, House Sergeant at Arms William Walker, and Chief House Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor, who, "chose to fine Plaintiffs through an imminent reduction in their compensation" because they flouted the rule mandating masks on the House floor.
You see, according to Massie, Marjie, and Norman, they can't be required to wear masks! Because fReE sPeEcH!!!1!
"Plaintiffs, all of whom are members of Congress belonging to the minority party, engaged in the symbolic speech of not wearing a mask on the Congressional floor in defiance of the majority party's compelled symbolic speech rule."
According to the three congresspeople,
Wearing a mask conveys a particularized message: namely, that mandatory face coverings are medically and scientifically necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, that these intrusions on bodily integrity are necessary and essential, that informed consent and civil liberties are to be suppressed in favor of government's decisions regarding public health, and that individuals cannot be given the choice to make their own decisions regarding their facial attire and medical choices.
Not to harsh their mellow, but shut the fuck up. Your "symbolic speech" is literally breathing germs all over errrrrebody!
Being forced to wear a mask, under these circumstances, involved both compelled statements of fact and opinion, all of which were embodied in the symbolic speech in question.
The masking requirement was an attempt to prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, medicine, and science, despite a deep divide over these issues of opinion.
I'm not a doctor or a scientist, so I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's not how science works.
But, you see, we've got things all wrong. Because Republicans are the party of medical freedom of choice!
The reason for Plaintiffs proceeding to the floor without masks was to engage in symbolic protest speech. This protest speech was a protest against the double standard being enforced by Defendants, the well-founded beliefs shared by Plaintiffs that mask wearing is not scientifically based, that mask wearing is not necessary for the vaccinated or naturally immune, that mask wearing is merely political theater, that one's bodily integrity should be free from government control, that individuals should have the liberty to choose what they wear on their face, and that individuals should be free to make their own medical decisions.
One more time, for the cheap seats in the back, these right-wing Republicans said:
one's bodily integrity should be free from government control [and] individuals should be free to make their own medical decisions.
So, umm, about my uterus and your trans healthcare bans ...
One of my favorite parts is when they argue that wearing white is the same as refusing to wear a mask.
In other contexts, symbolic speech has been embraced on the House floor by members of the majority party, particularly where it does not disrupt the proceedings of the House, as the following images of members of the House reveal:
Yes, folks. Great point. Women wearing suffragette white to the State of the Union is EXACTLY THE SAME THING as willfully spreading a deadly disease!
If Democrats get to wear white suits, then Republicans get to show their support for COVID by giving it to everyone else!
Yes, this is every bit as dumb as it sounds
Did y'all know that you have a constitutional right to not wear masks to protest Nancy Pelosi? Because that's what these members of Congress think!
The First Amendment claim is based on the [completely batshit] idea that public health measures like mask mandates are ... unconstitutional restrictions on free speech. You see, Massie, Marge, and Norman can't be forced to engage in the symbolic speech of being against COVID! It is very important to these congresspeople that everyone knows they are pro-COVID!
The rest of the claims are just as dumb, though this might actually be the first case about the 27th Amendment I've ever seen! The 27th Amendment is about how Congress can't change Congress's salary until a new Congress is sworn in. And according to our legal geniuses over here, "A fine that is deducted from pay is a decrease in compensation."
Nope! It's not. It's a fine.
And the Article I claims are just as amazing as the rest. Included in Article I, Section 5 is a clause that says "Each House may [...] punish its members for disorderly behavior."
"But," you might be thinking, "doesn't that actually support the other side?"
Yes. Yes it does. But in the sad little minds of the QAnon caucus, it means that these assholes can't be punished, because they don't think their conduct was disorderly! #Facts
They also think their Article I rights were violated. (They weren't.) Article I, Section 6 says "The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States." And they think that, because the resolution mandating masks wasn't "law," they can't be fined.
That's not how this works.
Even if this lawsuit weren't one of the dumbest things to grace the District of DC, no federal court would touch this mess with a 10-foot pole, even one with a condom. Internal disputes among members of Congress are what courts call "political questions." And political questions are for the politicians to squabble about among themselves, not wasting the time and resources of our federal court.
So yeah. In this unending hellscape we live in, this is a real lawsuit that was filed in federal court by sitting members of Congress.
These are the people writing our laws.
Trump may be gone, but the dumbest timeline is not done with us yet.
Here's the complaint. It really is a work of art.
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