It sez here:
Censure refers to the official reprimand of a legislative of other formal body of one of its own members. The term censure, unlike the term expel, does not appear in the Constitution, although the authority is derived from the same clause “ Article I, Section 5, clause 2, concerning the authority of each House of Congress to punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour. Censure, reprimand, or admonition are traditional ways in which parliamentary bodies have disciplined their members and maintained order and dignity in their proceedings. In the House of Representatives, a censure is a formal vote by the majority of members present and voting on a resolution disapproving a member’s conduct, with generally the additional requirement that the member stand at the well of the House chamber to receive a verbal rebuke and reading of the censure resolution by the Speaker of the House.
Here’s the video of Rep. Wilson of South Carolina yelling “You lie!” at the President of the United States during a Joint Session of Congress:
“Disorderly behaviour”? Check. The rules of the House specifically forbid even referring the President as a “liar” in the course of debate. This, of course, was much worse.
“Well of the House”? Pass the popcorn! And of course all the Republicans in the House are perfectly free to vote against censure, thus implicitly endorsing the practice of insulting the President. Somehow I don’t think that will go down very well with independent voters.
Who will file the resolution? A censure motion, if memory serves, is a privileged motion and takes precedence over other business.
Update Apparently someone told Wilson that he’d stepped over the line.
This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.
Fine. The President should accept the apology. Wilson should also be given the opportunity to apologize to his colleagues for his breach of their rules: Â from the Well of the House, after the Speaker has delivered a formal rebuke.
Second update According to Dana Milbank, there was lots of Animal House behavior from the Republican side of the aisle. I guess they were patriotically helping the President illustrate his point about the lack of civility in the debate.
9 thoughts on ““To punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour””
Of course I agree with you. AND, I'm delighted to see the Post a Comment section "fixed." Hope you don't drown in replies.
reported in the NY Times live-blog of the speech:
Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, shouted out that the president lied as Mr. Obama asserted that his health care plan would not cover illegal immigrants….
Jackie Calmes points to the biography of Mr. Wilson in CQ’s “Politics in America,” which includes this line: “Wilson’s sharp and careless remarks sometimes land him in hot water.” One example listed was Mr. Wilson’s constant criticisms of Senator John Kerry during the Democrat’s presidential campaign, and even includes a reference to Mr. Wilson’s characterization of the news that Strom Thurmond had fathered a daughter with a black woman. Even after the longtime Republican senator’s family acknowledged the paternity, Mr. Wilson called the notion a “smear on the image” of Mr. Thurmond.
It's good that he's apologized to the President. Now he needs to apologize to the rest of us, formally, on the floor of the House, and on the record.
Agree with the sentiments above. Unfortunately, I fear that a formal rebuke will paint Wilson as some kind of martyr to the anti reform folks who are already labeling Obama as the evil Socialist who wants to control everything. But this kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and Wilson needs to be reprimanded formally regardless of any potential lashback.
Is there a way that Wilson can be called to account by forcing him to cite the provision of the bill or plan that contradicts the President's statement?
His statement was an apology for loss of decorum, but NOT for thinking and saying the President is a liar.
"Agree with the sentiments above. Unfortunately, I fear that a formal rebuke will paint Wilson as some kind of martyr to the anti reform folks who are already labeling Obama as the evil Socialist who wants to control everything. But this kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and Wilson needs to be reprimanded formally regardless of any potential lashback."
Those folks are beyond reaching, in the short run (and probably in the long run). The things to deal with are (a) independents and (b) Democrats. Standing up for our own is important, in our own eyes, and (IMHO) in the eyes of independents. Otherwise, the GOP will establish their claims by their assertion and our compliance.
WLTX in Columbia has accrued more than 200 comments on its website http://www.wltx.com on this story. The majority show disapprobation of Wilson's conduct. Now is not the time to give him any pretext for playing a victim role. His own constituents, already disgusted with the conduct of their governor, are closer to home than most of us are. There are Southerners who remember their manners. Maybe they should be left to exact the appropriate political price from their representative.
Comments are closed.