The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.5.2: “The House and the Senate shall each have the authority to punish its own members for disorderly behavior.” This principle allows both the House and the Senate to discipline their own members for bad behavior.
The presiding officer of either chamber has the right to order the sergeant at arms to quiet any disorder or even to make arrests for any disturbance.
This provision is especially interesting at this time because Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), a forty-year veteran of the House, was censored on December 2, 2010, for eleven counts of violating ethics rules. The vote was 333-79. Being censored is the steepest form of punishment short of expulsion. Rangel is the 23d lawmaker to be censored in history of House and the 5th in last 100 years. He was once one of the most powerful members of the House but had to experience the humiliation of standing in the well of the House while being censored.
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