Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton secured a major victory in defense of the United States Constitution, with a court ruling that the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package was unlawfully passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022 without a quorum physically present as constitutionally required. The Court enjoined the defendants—the United States Attorney General, the United States Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and their officials—from enforcing a provision of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 against the State of Texas that was proved to impose unjust cost burdens on the State.

The Quorum Clause of the U.S. Constitution mandates that the chambers of Congress must have a majority of members physically present to constitute a quorum before most official business may be conducted. However, in December 2022, fewer than half of the House of Representatives were physically present when they passed the $1.7 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, with those not present voting by proxy. When President Joe Biden signed the illegally passed law, Attorney General Paxton sued and sought an injunction against the implementation of certain provisions of the law affecting the State of Texas. 

“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,” said Attorney General Paxton. “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 Texas Public Policy Foundation served as co-counsel. “This meticulous, 120-page opinion was written after a full trial on the merits,” said TPPF senior attorney Matt Miller. “The Court correctly concluded that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 violated the Quorum Clause of the U.S. Constitution because a majority of House members was not physically present when the $1.7 trillion spending bill was passed. Proxy voting is unconstitutional.”

To read the decision, click here.