Shortly after the January 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol Police installed metal detectors outside the House chamber and required all members to walk through them, as required by H.Res. 73. Noncompliance results in a $5,000 fine for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation. As one might expect, this upset some Republicans, who complained about the metal detectors and unequal treatment. Some members, including Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), were hit with fines for bypassing the metal detectors.
Clyde, who has served since January, violated the policy, racking up $15,000 in fines. Before entering Congress, Clyde owned a gun store in Athens, so he is deeply committed to the Second Amendment. Still, Article I, Section 5 of the. Constitution states, “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.” That seems pretty straightforward. Clyde appealed the fines to the House Ethics Committee. The committee upheld the fines. Now Clyde plans to sue.
“I recently learned that the formal appeal of my fines incurred as a result of refusing to comply with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unconstitutional placement of metal detectors at the entrance to the floor of the House of Representatives was rejected,” said Clyde. “This now provides the legal standing which I needed to challenge this unconstitutional resolution.”
The freshman lawmaker also pointed out that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had bypassed the metal detectors and alleged that the fines are being selectively handed out to those who violate H.Res. 73. “While my team and I continue to await an announcement of a fine levied on the Speaker, we are preparing for the next stage of this fight,” said Clyde. “I will take my case to federal court where I am confident justice will be served.”
Some may say that the Second Amendment has to be taken into account in this case, but even the Supreme Court has said that reasonable regulations may exist. Considering the plain text of Article I, Section 5 Constitution, it’s tough to see how Clyde will prevail in federal court.