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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

What is a "State of the Union Address"?

Nancy Pelosi has disinvited President Trump from coming the House of Representatives to deliver the State of the Union Address, given the "security concerns" created by the government shutdown. She proposes that they find another suitable date once the government has reopened or that he deliver the address in writing (as Pelosi notes was done prior to Woodrow Wilson) on the planned date of January 29.

But what is required for the President to "give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union"? Must the address be presented to Congress through the President's personal appearance in Congress or delivery of a written message to Congress? If the President gives a televised address from the Oval Office (or Mar-a-Lago or anywhere else) about the state of the union that everyone in Congress sees, has he given Congress that information?

And what is the inevitable next step in this escalation? Does Speaker McCarthy choose not to invite President Warren to the House at all, forcing her to deliver the address in writing only?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 16, 2019 at 12:43 PM in Constitutional thoughts, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink


at the moment i guess its just for formality cos what they speak about is never put into action.

Posted by: Clinic in johannesburg | Jan 22, 2019 7:22:46 AM

As long as he gives the address in all medium (oral, written, etc.) to comply with the Americans with Disabilites Act, he has done his due diligence. He needn't give it in person, just as Obama can sign a law with a digital pen from Europe.

If he only gives the speech in one medium--only to people who can see, or only to people who can hear--then he has violated the ADA, and he no longer represents all Americans.

Posted by: O'Kavanaugh | Jan 17, 2019 1:23:41 AM

Have just forgotten to leave the link,for the letter of the speaker( independent and more convenient format):



Posted by: El roam | Jan 16, 2019 2:41:56 PM

In fact, if not otherwise stipulated or otherwise effectuated routinely, it seems that prescribing it into the " Federal register" would be a good legal Q for such announcement or notice by the speaker or the president( of course to mark the related article in the constitution ) here example ( digital file in the federal register ) :



Posted by: El roam | Jan 16, 2019 2:14:13 PM

Interesting.It seems that, even without being presented he can give such information. This is because of the language : " give " which may interpreted as in more broader terms ( not to "appear" for example ).Yet, the rest of the provision dictates that:

" and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;"

So, it is not only theoretical constitutional duty, but also bears effective one :" recommend to their consideration "as stated.

One issue maybe simply, to make it legally official. That is to say, that no one, would be able to challenge such alternative as televised speech, for being not sufficient constitutionally. As such:

The speaker or the president,need to issue, an official legal Q of some sort,which leaves no doubt,that it is in accordance with the official constitutional discharging of duty,and not at random one.To leave no doubt.


Posted by: El roam | Jan 16, 2019 1:48:07 PM

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