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Monday, May 23, 2022

Challenging the Qualifications of a Senator-Elect

Here's a question for fans of the Senate's customs. Suppose someone is elected to the Senate and other members want to challenge his right to serve on the ground that he "engaged in insurrection." The practice in qualification challenges seems to be that the person is swore in and allowed to serve until a Senate committee issues a report on the challenge. At that point, a majority can exclude the person. In some instances, though, the challenged person was not permitted to take his seat until the investigation was complete and the exclusion vote held.

The presumption matters because of the filibuster, which was not an issue in past challenges. If a member-elect is excluded until the Senate votes not to exclude, then I would think that the minority could block that vote and keep the member-elect out indefinitely. Not so if the person is seated and must be affirmatively excluded.

This issue could come up next year if, say, Mo Brooks is elected to the Senate from Alabama. His primary is Tuesday.

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on May 23, 2022 at 08:51 AM | Permalink


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