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The Supreme Court slams House Republicans who dodged metal detectors in Congress after January 6

What happens in Congress stays in Congress, the Supreme Court signaled Monday as it denied an appeal by three Republican members of Congress who were each fined $5,000 by the House of Representatives for evading security scanners used after the attack on the Capitol on January 6 were installed.

The court’s decision comes months after judges dismissed the cases of three other Republican members of Congress who had their pay halted in 2021 for ignoring a mask mandate in the House of Representatives during the COVID pandemic.

In the current case, Reps. Andrew Clyde, R-Georgia, Lloyd Smucker, R-Penn. and former Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas asked the Supreme Court to intervene over the “enormous fines” they received for ignoring the installed magnetometers. outside the House chamber after rioters attacked the Capitol in a violent attempt to thwart the certification of President Joe Biden’s election.

The scanners were controversial at the time, and the House rule to install them passed by a handful of votes. “It is beyond comprehension why any member would refuse to follow these simple, common-sense steps to keep this body safe,” Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House of Representatives, said after the vote.

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Two weeks after the attack on the Capitol, news outlets reported that Rep. Andy Harris, Republican of Maryland, was ordered out of the chamber after a scanner showed he was carrying a concealed handgun.

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It was unclear when the incidents involving Clyde, Smucker and Gohmert occurred. Gohmert said in February 2021 that he briefly stepped off the floor of the house to use a laundry room and was unaware that he would need to be scanned again before returning.

“Until yesterday, no one mentioned the need to be escorted around after entering the toilet directly in front of the guards,” he said. “Unlike the movie The Godfather, there are no toilets with tanks to hide a gun in, so my return to the House floor shouldn’t have been a problem.” Gohmert retired in 2022.

Clyde, Smucker and Gohmert refused to pay their fines after losing an appeal to the House Ethics Committee, and each saw their pay cut by $5,000. Members of Congress earn a base salary of $174,000.

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The security evaders then sued the House sergeant-at-arms and the body’s chief administrator, arguing that the officials violated the 27th Amendment to the Constitution by “varying” their congressionally mandated pay. They said the metal detectors and the wage issue fell outside the legislative function of Congress — making them fair game for the federal courts, despite the separation of powers at the heart of the U.S. government.

Rep.  Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, speaks with Rep. during a June 14 news conference.  Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., outside the U.S. Capitol to announce the filing of a lawsuit challenging fines imposed for violations of the new security screening policy that allows members of the House of Representatives to enter the House chamber.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, speaks with Rep. during a June 14 news conference. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., outside the U.S. Capitol to announce the filing of a lawsuit challenging fines imposed for violations of the new security screening policy that allows members of the House of Representatives to enter the House chamber.

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Lawyers for the House of Representatives officials responded that the work of Congress belongs to Congress alone under the Constitution, and that the pay of elected representatives is regularly adjusted for tax withholding and other matters.

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A federal appeals panel found — as it did in the masking case brought by Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, and two other Republicans — that the judiciary has no oversight of Congress.

On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld this ruling by refusing to hear the metal detector case.

The metal detectors went down in 2023 after Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives. But that did not resolve the issue.

In February 2023, sparks flew at a House Natural Resources Committee meeting after Rep. Jared Huffman, D-California, asked for a rule banning guns in the committee room.

“I feel like I need one everywhere here,” said Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo. “There are often times when we are harassed in the hallways. We walk alone.” She added that any weapon she carried “would not be an unloaded weapon.”

Capitol Police and a spokeswoman for Rep. Harris did not respond to questions about the status of a reported investigation into his 2021 gun incident.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The Supreme Court slams Republicans who evaded House security after Jan. 6

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