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Representatives and senators cannot be, but what about the other members of Congress?

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    I think that this question can be improved by providing more context / any research information.
    – Alexei
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 4:59

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Q: Can the special members of Congress for Puerto Rico, DC, and other territories be subject to recall by statute or term limited?

No, at least not according to the law. Elections for delegates are held every two years with no mention of either recall or term limits.

The Resident Commissioner (Puerto Rico) is elected for a four-year term and, in the case of vacancy, the Governor "shall appoint a Resident Commissioner to fill the vacancy" until the next election with no mention of recall or term limits.

The following table points to the US Code for information about the election of each delegate or the Resident Commissioner.

Location US Code
District of Columbia 2 U.S. Code § 25a
Puerto Rico 48 U.S. Code Subchapter V
Guam 48 U.S. Code Subchapter I
Virgin Islands 48 U.S. Code Subchapter I
American Samoa 48 U.S. Code Subchapter II
Northern Mariana Islands 48 U.S. Code Subchapter III

Note that the US Code reference is the same for the Virgin Islands and Guam, but each has a delegate.


From a comment, I meant can the law provide for their recall?

Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2:

The Congress shall have Power to ... make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory ... belonging to the United States; ...

While Congress has the authority to subject the delegates and the Resident Commissioner to recall or term limits, that would not happen. The delegates and the Resident Commissioner have, except for voting on legislation, all the privileges and immunities of Representatives. Should Congress decide that the delegates and the Resident Commissioner are to be subject to recall or term limits, it would be tantamount to claiming that Representatives (and Senators) should be subject to the same.

Technically, Congress could, but they wouldn't, therefore they can't due to the implications of doing so.

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  • I meant can the law provide for their recall? Congress cannot enact it for ordinary Senators and Representatives, but the delegates are not created by the constitution. Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 22:04

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