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Following the successful motion to vacate the chair, Matt Gaetz is not a popular person within the GOP (or really anybody as best I can tell). The Washington Post has indicated that there are discussions to expel Gaetz from the House.

Ironically, while Gaetz's motion to vacate the chair was successful due to the support of Democrats in the House, I expect a motion to expel Gaetz would also see broad support from Democrats as well, thereby making it feasible to reach the 2/3 threshold necessary for expulsion.

It does not appear as though Gaetz needs to have been guilty or a suspect of any crimes in order to be subject to expulsion, though, it seems that was usually the case historically. Thus the matter seems to be purely a political mechanism.

I have a few questions on what would occur should an expulsion vote be successful.

  1. Who would appoint his replacement? Would it be the Florida governor, or would there need to be a new election?
  2. Could Gaetz be re-instated if he was appointed/re-elected? Or would the expulsion thereby remove him as a permissible candidate? Akin to how a successful impeachment conviction can also bar someone from holding public office in the future.
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    This question is too speculative. Nobody knows in this case. Better make the question not about this particular person but in general like: What are the relevant procedures for the expulsion and replacements of a Congressmen? Oct 5, 2023 at 8:34
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    @NoDataDumpNoContribution Fizz's answer is pretty much based in fact and law, it's not really speculative. Gaetz's expulsion is subject to speculations, yes, but that's only the background of the question and not really the point. Oct 5, 2023 at 9:43
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    I'm unclear as to how this question is opinion-based. The question title includes Matt Gaetz on the premise that he seems a likely person to be subject to expulsion, but the procedures on how he might be replaced are apparently pretty specific as CDJB cited. I could generalize this question to say 'a representative from Florida', but I think doing so makes it a less interesting question compared to something which is specifically occurring in politics right now. Oct 6, 2023 at 17:53
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    Voting to reopen - the questions don't seek opinions, and can be answered factually.
    – sfxedit
    Oct 7, 2023 at 14:27
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    Voting to reopen. While I've expressed doubt Gaetz is in any real danger, we have some solid answers as to what would likely be the outcome of that ouster. As well as the procedures and legal precendents that apply in case of it happening. Nothing wrong with the Q. Oct 7, 2023 at 23:16

3 Answers 3

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Who would appoint his replacement? Would it be the Florida governor, or would there need to be a new election?

Article I, Section 2, Clause 4 of the US Constitution states:

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

There would, therefore, need to be an election to fill the vacant seat. This would take place in the form of a special primary election and a subsequent special election pursuant to Title XI, s. 100.101(4) of the Florida Statutes. The rules for these elections are set by s. 100.111(2) of the same title.

Could Gaetz be re-instated if he was appointed/re-elected? Or would the expulsion thereby remove him as a permissible candidate? Akin to how a successful impeachment conviction can also bar someone from holding public office in the future.

There would be nothing in state or federal law preventing Gaetz from being re-elected to the position he was expelled from. If he was re-elected, the general rule followed by the House is that representatives should not be expelled for conduct which occurred prior to their election and which voters had full knowledge of during said election, which would presumably hold in this hypothetical case.

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    2022 vote : 68% Gaetz, 32% Dem. It's a heavily conservative district: he's at little risk. Oct 4, 2023 at 15:59
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    Cf. the Tennessee state legislature where two black Democratic state legislators were expelled by a GOP supermajority and the expelled legislator were then chosen to fill the vacancies created by their own expulsions. This happened this year. apnews.com/article/… A similar scenario with Gaetz would be not just possible but likely.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 4, 2023 at 18:29
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica the Post had also reported that they might expel him from the party as a whole. Not sure if they would actually do that, but they did it to Cheney, so who knows. It may be a lot harder for Gaetz to get re-elected if he doesn't have GOP backing, especially if the GOP puts someone up against him. Oct 4, 2023 at 20:02
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica, he's not at risk of being replaced by a Democrat, he's at risk of being replaced by a Republican.
    – Mark
    Oct 5, 2023 at 6:38
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica - I tried diving into that as well. He hasn't had a serious primary challenge near as I can tell ever. However, he has killer name recog in the district due to the political career of his father (and probably his own pubilc shenanigans), and no good reason for a Republican to vote for anyone else. His general approval did go under 50% at the start of this term, but as Mark pointed out, its only Republican approval that matters in that district. So I'd conclude he's probably safe, but it would be nice to have more info.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 5, 2023 at 16:29
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Could Gaetz be re-instated if he was appointed/re-elected?

The judicial precedent actually favors him greatly in such a case. In Powell v. McCormack (1969) the Supreme Court held that refusal to sit a legislator is limited to the reasons enumerated in the Constitution. Which don't include being expelled before.

Although technically speaking nothing prevents them sitting him and then immediately expelling him again, assuming they have the votes for that. Wikipedia even comments that the Court was silent on that:

The Court did not explicitly decide whether a particular Congress (105th, 106th, etc.) had the power to expel an individual from a future Congress without that future Congress from being required, after the re-election, the re-swearing in, and the re-seating of a formerly expelled member, to expel the member all over again.

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Quote:

What would happen if Matt Gaetz is expelled from the House?

Short Answer:

Publicly expelling Gaetz is a problematic gesture.

  1. It takes 2/3rds of the House to remove him which the GOP doesn't have.
  2. It doesn't bar the Congressman from running again in the next election and returning.
  3. It raises the profile and limelight around the expelled member, which for Gaetz is what he wants anyway.
  4. If they try and fail, they highlight their own political incompetence, and encourage more of the same bad behavior.

Expelling him is not on the path to resolving the actual problem, nor the path for actually getting real work done. It would be better to leave him in office and punish him with the tools a speaker has been given to control members. Those tools are pety and demeaning, and perfect for the task of punishing and belittling upity members.

  1. Strip them of committee chairmanships, and seats.
    So they have no authority or influence beyond their floor vote.

  2. Move their offices to some remote location, and place their parking at some distance from their office and capital building.

It's kind of like giving a member a time out.

Answer:

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich was publicly calling for Matt Gaetz to be expelled from congress after Kevin McCarthy defeated Gaetz's motion to vacate. Only McCarthy didn't defeat that motion. This highlights the freedom's caucus's ability to remove any subsequent speaker.

So what would happen if Gaetz was expelled? The narrow 5 vote Republican majority would narrow to 4 votes. The other 7 freedom caucus members who supported Gaetz would probable act out. They can't throw them all out. Having been removed Gaetz could still run again, and be elected again. Which would just illustrate how powerless the GOP majority is because they thought they could coexist by empowering this minority.

This is a bed the Republicans made they only have 3 option.

  1. Stand up and force the small problem faction into order. This is gong to be harder now they've already given away most of their advantages. They are under the gun to pass a new budget. The problem faction are enjoying the lime light at the expense of the rest of the party.

  2. Pretend this mess is the Democrats fault, empower their disruptive minority; and weather the large pile of excrement they will all eat over the next 14 months as this behavior likely continues.

  3. Compromise with the Democrats, secure their leadership chose by their majority, change the congressional rules, and then crush the upstarts.

It appears we are headed towards #2.

The new acting speaker is moving to remove Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer from there offices. Clearly more red meat to their clown car wing. This is clearly designed to infuriate Dems and make future compromise more difficult.

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    Completely off-topic. Oct 4, 2023 at 22:43
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    Are you suggesting that Democrats would support keeping Matt Gaetz in the house with all the problems they have had with him as well? The other points are not relevant to the act of expelling him either.
    – Joe W
    Oct 5, 2023 at 12:39

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