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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mix-and-Match Lawmaking

Take a minute to ponder Seth Barrett Tillman's most recent provocation:  Can the 110th Senate vote and pass a bill initiated and passed by the 109th House of Representatives?  Is there really a contemporaneity requirement in the Constitution (Art I, Sec 7)?  If so, where is it?  Tillman thinks there is a constitutional opening for non-contemporaneous lawmaking.  Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl tries to defend the conventional wisdom that there is a contemporaneity requirement.  I like Bruhl's effort -- and recommend his short reply -- but am somewhat underwhelmed with his basic affirmative argument: that there must be some reason the conventional wisdom is the way it is.  His rebuttals to Tillman's affirmative arguments, however, are pretty impressive.

Posted by Ethan Leib on December 14, 2006 at 04:17 PM in Article Spotlight | Permalink


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I may be wrong, but I think it's incorrect to even refer to the Senate as "the 110th Senate". The Senate is a continuing body; the House is not. Therefore, there can be a 110th House, and (the Senate and the 110th House together) a 110th Congress. But not a 110th Senate.

But for that very reason, I tend to agree with Tillman: There can be no contemporaneity requirement for the Senate, which is always contemporaneous with every House. Then again, the rule doesn't work in the other direction, for the same reason.

Posted by: Adam | Dec 15, 2006 10:02:41 PM

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