[Josh Chafetz, guest-blogging, July 21, 2008 at 7:44am] Trackbacks
Thanks to Eugene and His Co-Conspirators

for inviting me to blog here about my new paper, Leaving the House: The Constitutional Status of Resignation from the House of Representatives, which will be published this November in the Duke Law Journal. (If you missed Eugene's welcome post and are wondering who the heck I am, my faculty webpage is here.) I thought what I would do this week is say a little bit about each section of the paper, and also try and respond to some comments from you all. The paper has a fair amount of historical detail, of which I'll only be able to give small snippets here, so if the issues seem interesting to you, I urge you to read it.

The three-sentence version of this article as a whole is that it considers the question of whether Members of the House of Representatives have a constitutional right to resign their seats, or whether the House itself has the constitutional power to require that resignations must be accepted by the House before they become effective. The article makes an historical argument that the House does have the constitutional power to require that resignations be accepted, but this power has never been exercised. Finally, it suggests some reasons why we might want the House to change its rules so as to require it to accept resignations before they become effective.

I'll lay out the historical arguments over the course of my next few posts. But I'll just close this introductory post with a brief bit of shameless self-promotion: if you're interested in issues, like this one, of the interaction between the Constitution and congressional procedure, I note that my book, Democracy's Privileged Few: Legislative Privilege and Democratic Norms in the British and American Constitutions, covers a number of these issues in depth. (And it's currently 20% off at Amazon! Buy copies for your friends and neighbors!)