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A Most Dangerous Proposition

This weak, loose, and dangerous interpretation of Article I, Section 2, Para 5 in the Constitution should be condemned immediately

The Empty Chair

A Most Dangerous Proposition In The Media Lately

Editorial by Boyd Evan White

A most dangerous proposition is being bandied about in the media lately; that the Speaker of the House of Representatives can be someone other than a member of that body. This is what is used as the Constitutional justification for such lunacy:

“The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers;…” – U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 2, Para 5.

Here are some examples of what is being said.

“You just have to be nominated, no House seat required. All candidates for speaker must be nominated by members of the House, but they don’t need to be elected lawmakers of the House. Article I, section II of the Constitution says only that the House “shall chose their Speaker and other officers.” So far, the chamber has only chosen its own members as speaker, but a non-lawmaker is possible.” – How do you become Speaker of the House?

And this one seemed reasonable, but then, all the way at the end this whopper comes out:

“And there is one interesting, unique footnote about the Speaker of the House position: The job candidate doesn’t have to be a member of the House of Representatives. But as of 2023, no person has been chosen as Speaker who was not a member of the House.” – The Speaker of the House’s Constitutional Role

Just stop and think what is being said there. Are they saying the House of Representatives, on their own, can make the Speaker any of the following: Noam Chomsky, Glenn Beck, Mike Tyson, Nancy Pelosi again, Willie Nelson, Bill Cosby, Robert De Niro, Tom Brady, Oprah Winfrey? Or anybody from our celebrity culture?

What about people who have been expelled/impeached from Congress when one party has the majority…and then the proposed potentiality for them to be made Speaker a couple years later when the other Party has the majority. One of aspects of the Decline of Rome was the “Proscriptions” when one Party dominated another; vengeful politics. And what about ex-felons, since there are no qualifications listed what would stop the House from making an ex-felon the Speaker?

Why stop there, the specific language only says “shall chuse” without qualification, how about: Vladimir Putin, King Charles, Kim Jong Un, and so on. Don’t bet Congress would not.

Good grief, where do such loose and weak interpretations come from.

Thankfully, when doing research for this article an unexpected source, Wikipedia, provided some sanity: “Noting that the Vesting Clause of Article I, Section I states that “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives”, political scientist Diana Schaub has argued, “Legislative powers cannot be lodged in the hands of a non-legislative person. To do so would violate the fundamental purpose of Article [I] of the Constitution.” Both Schaub and the CRS note that the Standing Rules and Orders of the House created by the 1st United States Congress provided that the Speaker would vote “In all cases of ballot by the [H]ouse”, while former House Intelligence Committee General Counsel Michael Ellis and attorney Greg Dubinsky have argued that the Speaker must be a House member because the Speaker performs various legislative functions that other House officers (such as the Sergeant at Arms and the Clerk) do not perform.” – Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Then there is the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 which makes the Speaker of the House of Representatives third in line. Would we allow some person to become President who has not faced election?

This weak, loose, and dangerous interpretation of Article I, Section 2, Para 5 in the Constitution should be condemned immediately. Not only for its own lunacy…but if We the People allow such nonsense what else will be squeezed from the literal words of the Constitution?