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Democracy's Privileged FewLegislative Privilege and Democratic Norms in the British and American Constitutions$
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Josh Chafetz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300113259

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300113259.001.0001

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Punishment by Congress

Punishment by Congress

(p.207) 10 Punishment by Congress
Democracy's Privileged Few

Josh Chafetz

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the ability of the Houses of Congress to maintain discipline over Members and non-Members alike. A House can punish its Members, including expelling them, for conduct that is disruptive or that brings disrepute on the House, and it can punish non-Members for disrupting the House—either by impermissible interference or by refusing to cooperate with a legitimate request of the House. However, the Houses must strike a fine balance when exercising these powers—expulsion of Members threatens the right of their constituents to be represented by the person of their choice, and punishment of non-Members runs the risk of becoming something like a bill of attainder.

Keywords:   legislative privilege, Members of Congress, punishment

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