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Archive of posts filed under the Parliamentary Procedure (general) category.

Constitutional Text and Discontinuity

So what does the Constitution say about discontinuity? Let’s start our analysis at what might seem like an odd place (strike that, what is an odd place), an email from the Clerk of the Australian Senate: I have always thought that, as your Constitution has no prorogation or dissolution, and as both of your Houses are continuing [...]

Legislative Discontinuity: An Introduction

Last month I had the pleasure of participating in the International Conference on Legislation and Law Reform, which was held at AU’s Washington College of Law. During one of the plenary sessions on U.S. legislative drafting, a Dutch lawyer asked about the practice of “discontinuity” in Congress. I am not sure the panelists understood what this [...]

Did Liz MacDonough Change the Process for Making Byrd Rule Determinations?

For those who don’t know, Ms. MacDonough is the Senate Parliamentarian, and in that capacity she is responsible for making preliminary rulings on what parts of the Senate health care reform bill comply with the “Byrd rule.” Without getting into the many intricacies of the Byrd rule, the basic point is that those provisions of [...]

When is a Meeting not a Meeting?

When the Supercommittee says so, apparently.  According to this Politico article, the Supercommittee has been “supersecret,” holding a six and half hour closed session in the Capitol yesterday. But wait, the Supercommittee rules require that its “meetings” be open, unless the Supercommittee votes in open session to close them. Wasn’t this a meeting? Senator Kerry [...]

“Would You Like Tax Hikes or Spending Cuts With Your Eggs?”

John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation reports on a possible closed meeting of the Supercommittee tomorrow. Initially this was described as an “executive session” of the Supercommittee; later it was “clarified” that it will be a “private breakfast meeting.” The Supercommittee rules clearly require, at a minimum, that a vote be taken in open session [...]

Supercommittee Rules Not So Clear

The Supercommittee rules are out, but they leave some unanswered questions. To begin with, the rules provide that “[t]he rules of the Senate and the House of Representatives, to the extent that they are applicable to committees, including rule XXXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate and clause 2 of rule XI of the [...]

“Precedents” and Presidential Addresses

As you may have heard, the President has requested an opportunity to address a joint session of Congress. His request initially was to make the address on September 7, but the Speaker responded that because of certain logistical concerns “it is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening.” In reference to [...]

A Court Challenge to the “Slaughter Solution”

           This Politico article  provides a good overview of the possibility of a court challenge to healthcare reform legislation if it is enacted through the “Slaughter Solution.”  The article notes that “[n]o lawyer interviewed by POLITICO thought the constitutionality of the ‘deem and pass’ approach being considered by House Democrats was an open-and-shut case either [...]

Does the “Slaughter Solution” Comply with the Constitution’s Lawmaking Requirements?

The latest procedural furor in the healthcare reform debate has been over something dubbed the “Slaughter Solution,” so-named after the Chair of the House Rules Committee.  To understand this procedure, one must recall that the Democratic leadership intends for the House to pass two separate bills.  The first is the bill that previously passed the [...]

The Role of Reconciliation Instructions

For those who are trying to follow the nearly incomprehensible debate over reconciliation, it is worthwhile keeping in mind the controlling reconciliation instructions, which are contained in Sections 201 and 202 of the Concurrent Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2010.  The exact language of these instructions turns out, it appears, to be critically important. For [...]