Speech or Debate in Congressional Employment Litigation

In June a panel of the D.C. Circuit decided Howard v. Office of the CAO, in which a former congressional employee argued the Speech or Debate Clause did not bar her lawsuit challenging adverse employment action under the Congressional Accountability Act. If it stands, the case resolves a question left open by Fields v. Office of Eddie Bernice Johnson, 459 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (en banc), appeal dismissed and cert. den. sub nom., Office of Senator Mark Dayton v. Hanson, 550 U.S. 511 (2007). However, the Chief Administrative Officer of the House has petitioned for rehearing en banc, and the D.C. Circuit has ordered Howard to file a response, so it is possible the Howard case will be reheard by the full court.

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