4

If a member of a House committee repeatedly interrupts a committee hearing with specious "points of order" or by talking and interrupting without being recognized, is there a process for ejecting that member?

6

Can a House committee member who is willfully disrupting a hearing be ejected?

With regard to the RULES OF PROCEDURE for the Committee on the Judiciary, there is no specific rule that allows removal of a member who is willfully disrupting a hearing.

With regard to the Rules of the House of Representatives, p 778, on Decorum and Debate, Call to order, RULE XVII 4(b), "If the case requires it, an offending Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner shall be liable to censure or such other punishment as the House may consider proper".

Ejecting a member from debate appears to require a vote of the House; however, there is nothing to suggest that those rules necessarily apply to committees (or subcommittes) such as the Committee on the Judiciary.

| improve this answer | |
2

No

Points of order are parliamentary procedures and are as legitimate during a hearing as an opposing lawyer objecting in the middle of a trial. It happens all the time, especially when the cameras are on the committee because the constituents like it (i.e. the people from their district... highly likely not either of us) and will re-elect them. No matter what anyone on a hearing says to the contrary, their primary motive for their actions in a hearing is "this will get me re-elected".

Edit: Adding the fact is that once a point of order is resolved to satisfaction, the member of the committee who has the floor is given the full remaining time to speak from the moment the point of order is made, with additional guidance to the rules.

| improve this answer | |
  • thanks. I've also seen committee members just talking out of turn and being clearly obstructive – so I am wondering what recourse (if any) there might be to restore regular order. – spring Dec 9 '19 at 19:12
  • 7
    This seems a comment related to points of order rather than an answer for the question: can a disrupting member be ejected? – Alexei Dec 9 '19 at 20:41
  • @NoGrabbing the main reason for "points of order" to exist is sot that the participants can have a method for pointing out that the order in not being conducted in a regular agreed-upon manner. They are, in fact, the method to restore a regular order. It's imperfect, but so are people. – grovkin Dec 10 '19 at 5:17
  • 2
    Nobody is saying that raising points of order is illegitimate in and of itself. To use your trial objections analogy, a lawyer that repeatedly objected for reasons the judge found to be frivolous or disruptive could find themselves facing a contempt charge. – Geobits Dec 11 '19 at 16:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .