Among the hysterical reactions from members of Congress after the events of January 6, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to install metal detectors outside the House chamber has been one that even her fellow Democrats have gotten tired of.
The magnetometers were installed to scan members of Congress before they could enter their workplace as if they had all suddenly become extreme security risks. Republicans were immediately “furious” and insisted that the devices be removed.
When Republicans resisted her detectors, Pelosi put a system of fines in place for non-compliance with her rules. First offenses carry penalties of $5,000, and subsequent offenses can result in $10,000 fines.
Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Andrew Clyde (R-GA) were some of the first Congressman caught up in Pelosi’s system of fines for circumventing the devices. Multiple witnesses said they saw Pelosi routinely entering the chamber without adequately going through her security checkpoints at about the same time.
When she was questioned about compliance, she said that Republicans who bypassed her security measures and wanted to carry firearms inside the chamber were “enemies” within the House.
Gohmert and Clyde filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Pelosi’s fines violate the 27th Amendment and Article I of the Constitution. Those provisions prohibit reducing a representative’s pay during a session of Congress or arresting a member while traveling to a session of the House.
Even though Pelosi has insisted that the metal detectors aren’t going anywhere, some members of her Democratic delegation are beginning to resist her.
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), a freshman legislator, stated earlier this week that he finds going through the metal detectors as a member of the House “degrading.” He added that he has to clear the metal detector checkpoint even to “use the bathroom.” Torres said the process creates lengthy delays, and he sees “no reason for it.”
Torres went on to say there is no place to practically draw the line, saying that the House could install the devices at “every entrance to every office.”
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) has also recently expressed his displeasure with the detectors. He said that while they were an “important psychological reassurance” after January 6, they are not a practical security measure. He added that the House needs “real security, not optical security.”