Back in July of 2021, Rep. Massie and a few other Republicans, such as the seemingly omnipresent Marjorie Taylor Greene, hit Pelosi with a whopper of a lawsuit, claiming that her taking deductions from their salaries to pay fines for not wearing masks on the floor of the House was a violation of the 27th Amendment.
Speaking on the lawsuit to Fox News five months later, in December of 2021, a still furious Rep. Massie sounded off on Nancy Pelosi and what he saw as her unconstitutional action, saying:
Nancy Pelosi is not just a tyrant, she’s a hypocrite. And she has one set of rules for herself and another set of rules for everybody else in the House. She has deducted money directly from our salary, which is in blatant violation of the Constitution.
Now, I know a lot of people aren’t sympathetic to congressmen having their salaries cut, but whatever she could do to us, she will do to the general public. And that’s what I realized this summer, when 10 of us went down to the floor and blatantly and openly violated the mask rule.
But she’s either not very smart or doesn’t have good lawyers because she violated the 27th Amendment to the Constitution and the base Constitution, which both say we can’t change our own salaries.
A federal district court, however, didn’t see things Massie’s way. Deciding on the case in early March of 2022, Courier Journal reports:
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Pelosi was within her rights to mandate masks on the House floor when she did so in 2020, and rejected arguments by Massie and other plaintiffs that the mandate constituted violations of the First and 27th Amendments.
“We are glad to have a ruling that gets us one step closer to the Supreme Court, where we believe a plain reading of the Constitution will clearly show Speaker Pelosi has violated the Constitution.”
Walton’s argument was that the fine stemmed from their own behavior, and thus wasn’t a reduction in salary and unconstitutional.
That ruling, as it was on the merits, was in any case better than one of the first decisions that came in the case, in July of 2021, which was that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case, a ruling an appellate court maintained.
“The district court dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction. The court concluded that the resolution and its implementation lie within the immunity for legislative acts conferred by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. We agree, and we thus affirm the district court’s dismissal of the case.”
So at least Massie and his fellow reps made it to a ruling on the merits and, even though they lost, they are now in a position to appeal and try to push the case first to the US Court of Appeals and then, if necessary, to the Supreme Court. There SCOTUS could decide the issue and whether Pelosi or any future Speaker of the House has the right to create an arbitrary standard and then fine members to enforce it.
As of now, that’s speculative, with the case having been defeated in District Court but with it looking like Massie will appeal.