Section 6 of the Constitution; Elections, Rules & Punishment

Now we’re on Section 5 of Article 1. A tame section laying out more  of the framework.

Section 5. Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

It begins with the Legislative Branch being watchdog on elections of its members, and when a majority gathers they can get down to business. Also says you don’t have to show up all the time but the House or Senate can punish for absenteeism.

This next one is interesting. Not the part where they have a rulebook of how to do things in the chambers but this part…

….punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Examples of this occurred recently. During a State of a Union Speech…

Representative Joe Wilson called Obama a liar 15 seconds into the video. A few days later the House voted to formally admonish the Representative. Read here. Also, we can’t forget Charlie Rangel, who was censured by the House for ethics violations, which is the next level up. He should have gotten the next level up, expulsion for being a tax cheat. Read articles here and here. Seeing the Constitution actually in action kinda kicks the boring factor of just reading the words.

The next part deals with the keeping of records and both Houses have to clear with the other for long-term adjournments and moving to different locations.

Next week is Section 6 where we deal with pay, immunity and promotions.


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