Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 57 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/11/17

How Does the U.S. Senate Expel, Censure, or Refuse to Seat any New Member?

By       (Page 1 of 9 pages)   3 comments
Message Stephen Fox
Become a Fan
  (31 fans)

In its long history, the US Congress has in several different ways expelled more than several members. This is germane to the discussion about what to do about Roy Moore if he is elected. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has maintained that even if Moore should win the election he should be expelled from the United States Senate.

Alabama's senior senator, Republican Richard Shelby, has been particularly outspoken about not backing Moore.

"I wouldn't vote for Roy Moore. I think the Republican Party can do better," Shelby said Sunday on CNN.

Much of this will depend on what action the Majority Leader wishes to take, and what comes out of the Senate Ethics Committee investigation into Moore's actions with young women, if that occurs, which seems quite inevitable to me. The hearings are bound to be lurid and disruptive, with many women testifying under oath, but that seems to be a very introductory and minimal price for this new Senator, if he is elected. Remember, please, that Mitch McConnell was the Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee that caused Oregon's Senator Packwood to step down after the Committee's report.

In my lifetime and in my political observations, I only recall a very few instances wherein the body took action against a member, so I looked into this matter primarily on the US Senate's own history website, and in the writings of a few incisive journalists, and in the actual histories.

The one that stands out most prominently occurred at the beginning of the Civil War when the Senator from Indiana, Jesse Bright, was kicked out by a majority vote in the Senate for his pro-Confederacy actions, most particularly that of writing a letter of introduction to Jefferson Davis introducing and swearing to the good qualities of a Texas-based weapons dealer, as "a gentleman of the first respectability, and reliable in every respect."

This is inconceivable today, is it not, that any sitting US Senator would do such a thing, and try as hard as we can to imagine the times and the historical context of such an action, it is difficult to conclude that this was not considered outright Treason, punishable by the Death Penalty, and not merely being expelled from the US Senate.

Expulsion or Censure are both possibilities.

Article I, Section 5, of the United States Constitution provides that "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member."

Since 1789, the Senate has expelled only fifteen members, fourteen for supporting the South during the Civil War.

In just a very few other cases, the Senate considered expulsion proceedings but either found the member not guilty or failed to act before the member left office, and mostly these revolved around egregious corruption. .

In the entire Senate history, only four members have been convicted of crimes. They were: Joseph R. Burton (1905), John Hipple Mitchell (1905), Truman H. Newberry (1920), and Harrison Williams (1981). Newberry's conviction was later overturned. Mitchell died. Burton, Newberry, and Williams resigned before the Senate could act on their expulsion.

United States Senate Expulsion Cases

1797 William Blount (R-TN) Charge: Anti-Spanish conspiracy; treason Result: Expelled

1808 John Smith (R-OH) Charge: Disloyalty/Treason Result: Not Expelled; Expulsion failed 19 to 10--less than the necessary two-thirds majority. At request of the Ohio legislature, Smith resigned two weeks after the vote. (His counsel was Francis Scott Key.)

1861 James M. Mason (D-VA) Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion Result: Expelled

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Valuable 2   News 1   Supported 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Stephen Fox Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

NYC Council "STANDS UNITED" WITH N.DAKOTA PROTESTERS, 2 new videos of police using pepper spray and rubber bullets

Bernie Meets with LA Times Editorial Board (this is the complete transcript!)

Mirena Interuterine Devices can cause Depression, Mood swings, Acne, Back Pain, Uterine Cysts, and Uterine Perforations

What does Coca Cola's Dasani bottled water have in common with Death by Lethal Injection?

CA Exit Polls reveal 23% Discrepancy; 11 States With Vote "Flipping" Evidence; Our New Directions in American History?

In the California Primary, More Ballots Remain Uncounted than the Total Number of votes for Hillary Clinton!

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend