Alexis Hunt

Individual Rights and Continuing Breaches

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Are there any circumstances where denial of the right to debate can create a continuing breach?

P. 251 says that a continuing breach is established where an action was taken in violation of a basic right of an individual member. P. 264 says that debate, except as limited by the appropriate subsidiary (or corresponding incidental main) motions, is a basic right of an individual member. Is it possible for a decision to be made in such a fashion as to violate this?

What of a member who is not permitted to move amendments on a motion, since making a motion is also an individual right?

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2 hours ago, Alexis Hunt said:

Are there any circumstances where denial of the right to debate can create a continuing breach?

P. 251 says that a continuing breach is established where an action was taken in violation of a basic right of an individual member. P. 264 says that debate, except as limited by the appropriate subsidiary (or corresponding incidental main) motions, is a basic right of an individual member. Is it possible for a decision to be made in such a fashion as to violate this?

What of a member who is not permitted to move amendments on a motion, since making a motion is also an individual right?

 

However, making a motion is not a "basic right of an individual member."  It would be permissible to, prior to a main motion's introductions, suspend the rules and prohibit amendments to the main motion; it would take a 2/3 vote.  Gen Robert used something as a similar example in his book Parliamentary Practice.

In regard to debate, a motion "that Member Jones not be permitted speak in debate on this question," would be generally be a violation of the "basic right of an individual member," except in cases where it was a penalty for an infraction of the rules (Chapter XX stuff).  With that exception, depriving a member of the right to enter into debate in such a manner would create a breach of a continuing nature.  The point of order can only be raised during the continuance of the breach (p. 251.  Continuing breaches are not necessarily eternal breaches. 

When does this end, or "heal," of its own accord?  When there can be no more debate.  In other words, until debate has ended on this question, which could be a few hours away, there would a continuing breach.  When debate ends of this question, it is too late to raise a point of order, because the breach "healed" of its own accord.

I would note that if the member moving the question would, when initially recognized, move the Previous Question, and that motion was adopted, debate would be cut off, prohibiting Jones, or anyone else from speaking or making motions (p. 251, ll.3-7).

 

 

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5 hours ago, Alexis Hunt said:

Are there any circumstances where denial of the right to debate can create a continuing breach?

P. 251 says that a continuing breach is established where an action was taken in violation of a basic right of an individual member. P. 264 says that debate, except as limited by the appropriate subsidiary (or corresponding incidental main) motions, is a basic right of an individual member. Is it possible for a decision to be made in such a fashion as to violate this?

What of a member who is not permitted to move amendments on a motion, since making a motion is also an individual right?

"Rules protecting a basic right of the individual member cannot be suspended. Thus, while generally applicable limits on debate and the making of motions may be imposed by motions such as the Previous Question, the rules may not be suspended so as to deny any particular member the right to attend meetings, make motions or nominations, speak in debate, give previous notice, or vote. These basic rights may be curtailed only through disciplinary proceedings." (RONR, 11th ed., p. 264)

Wrongful denial of an individual member's right to speak in debate or to make a motion gives rise to a continuing breach, and it is never too late to raise a point of order concerning the matter. Unlike a violation of the right to vote, however, wrongful denial of an individual member's right to speak in debate on a motion, or to move amendments on a motion while it is pending, will not, under any circumstances which I can envisage, invalidate subsequent action taken by the assembly on the motion or motions involved.

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3 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

"Rules protecting a basic right of the individual member cannot be suspended. Thus, while generally applicable limits on debate and the making of motions may be imposed by motions such as the Previous Question, the rules may not be suspended so as to deny any particular member the right to attend meetings, make motions or nominations, speak in debate, give previous notice, or vote. These basic rights may be curtailed only through disciplinary proceedings." (RONR, 11th ed., p. 264)

Wrongful denial of an individual member's right to speak in debate or to make a motion gives rise to a continuing breach, and it is never too late to raise a point of order concerning the matter. Unlike a violation of the right to vote, however, wrongful denial of an individual member's right to speak in debate on a motion, or to move amendments on a motion while it is pending, will not, under any circumstances which I can envisage, invalidate subsequent action taken by the assembly on the motion or motions involved.

So it looks to me like you basically agree with J.J.'s response but did not necessarily want to endorse the details of how he stated it.

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15 minutes ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

So it looks to me like you basically agree with J.J.'s response but did not necessarily want to endorse the details of how he stated it.

Well, I certainly do not agree with the assertion he makes in his first sentence that making a motion is not a basic right of an individual member (and I doubt that he really meant to put it that way), but other than that I suppose you're right.

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7 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Well, I certainly do not agree with the assertion he makes in his first sentence that making a motion is not a basic right of an individual member (and I doubt that he really meant to put it that way), but other than that I suppose you're right.

Making a motion is not the basic right of an individual member.  There are many examples of when a member cannot make the motion would like to make.  The right to make make motions, in general, may be suspended, as indicated. 

A member, not under disciplinary action, or due to some action of the bylaws, may not, however, be singled out and forbidden to make motions that other members may make.  If you had a "basic right" as an individual member to make a motion, you could move to adopt a main motion while another motion is pending.  If I had a "basic right" as an individual member to make a motion, I could move to amend a main motion after the Previous Question was adopted in regard to that main motion.

If we are members, we could have a general right to make motions, that were otherwise in order.  That right is a general right, which may be curtailed, collectively, by the assembly.

 

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p. 264 is quite clear that it is indeed a basic right, but one that can be curtailed such as by a motion to limit debate and vote, or a motion for the previous question.

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25 minutes ago, Alexis Hunt said:

p. 264 is quite clear that it is indeed a basic right, but one that can be curtailed such as by a motion to limit debate and vote, or a motion for the previous question.

If it was "a basic right of an individual member" it could not be curtailed.  You have the same rights as everyone else to make a motion, but you do not have the right to make a motion whenever you want.  Those "same rights" could not be suspended just in regard to you.

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1 hour ago, Alexis Hunt said:

Did you actually read the page?

Yes, and that is why I would not claim that there is a "basic right" to make motions or debate. 

A member has a right to make motions in the manner that the other members, collectively, have a right to make motions.   Those rights, in general, may be curtailed, but they not be curtailed individually for just one member.  For example, if the Previous Question is adopted in regard to the main motion, the individual member does not retain a right to move an amendment on that motion.  The members, collectively, do not retain that right, at that time.

You said initially, " P. 264 says that debate, except as limited by the appropriate subsidiary (or corresponding incidental main) motions, is a basic right of an individual member."  No, it says, in effect, that the rules cannot be suspended to prevent one member from exercising the rights that the other members may exercise in the circumstance.1  There is, of course, the exceptions for disciplinary action and for some action of the bylaws.

Even talking about introducing business, when no motion is pending, a member may not be able make a motion in the circumstance.  A member does not a "basic right" to introduce new business while the assembly is between hearing reports of committees.

If you say that members have a "basic right" to make motions, you are saying a member can make a motion in any circumstance (though not intending to say that, perhaps).  

 

1And yes, if there is a circumstance where a member was deprived of the rights other members have, in the same circumstance, and with those exceptions, a breach of a continuing nature would be created. 

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4 hours ago, J. J. said:

Yes, and that is why I would not claim that there is a "basic right" to make motions or debate. 

But J. J., RONR says that they are basic rights, and so for you to say otherwise is simply being hard-headed.

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