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Joshua Katz

Was Rule 19 Properly Applied?

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Suppose an organization, in its bylaws, prohibit any negative comments about members from being made at meetings.  This organization, as one of its tasks, considers individuals for positions with another organization - in particular, those individuals are nominated, then considered by the organization for final approval.  By happenstance, one of the people the organization is asked to approve or disapprove happens to be an organization member.  While considering the topic of this person's nomination, a point of order is raised that any negative statements, made while considering their appointment, would violate the bylaws.  If this is followed, though, members of the organization will receive much easier confirmation hearings than others.  Would you read the rule as intended to apply to members when before the body for other purposes, or only in their capacity as members and in debate?

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Very good question, although it's probably not much different from debating nominations when members of the organization have been nominated for office. How to go about saying a particular candidate is not right for the job .

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1 hour ago, Godelfan said:

Suppose an organization, in its bylaws, prohibit any negative comments about members from being made at meetings.  This organization, as one of its tasks, considers individuals for positions with another organization - in particular, those individuals are nominated, then considered by the organization for final approval.  By happenstance, one of the people the organization is asked to approve or disapprove happens to be an organization member.  While considering the topic of this person's nomination, a point of order is raised that any negative statements, made while considering their appointment, would violate the bylaws.  If this is followed, though, members of the organization will receive much easier confirmation hearings than others.  Would you read the rule as intended to apply to members when before the body for other purposes, or only in their capacity as members and in debate?

I would read the rule as meaning exactly what it says.

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Here is exactly what it says:
2. No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

Now, suppose the rule contained additional language, such as:

1. (a) When a Senator desires to speak, he shall rise and address the Presiding Officer, and shall not proceed until he is recognized, and the Presiding Officer shall recognize the Senator who shall first address him. No Senator shall interrupt another Senator in debate without his consent, and to obtain such consent he shall first address the Presiding Officer, and no Senator shall speak more than twice upon any one question in debate on the same legislative day without leave of the Senate, which shall be determined without debate.

If the first means exactly what it says, does the second?  Meaning, if the nominee is asked questions, one after the other, should the nominee have to, between questions, rise and seek recognition before answering?  Also, must the body approve before the nominee may answer any questions beyond the second question?

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8 hours ago, Godelfan said:

If the first means exactly what it says, does the second?

Godelfan, by "the first," do you mean Rule #2, and by "the second," do you mean Rule #1 (a), as listed above?  Like Beethoven's First Piano Concerto, his second, and his Second, his first (because of a mix-up in publishing, when he delivered the manuscripts at the same time)?

I see no slack in the wording on Rule #1 (a), do you?  If so, where is it?  If not, aren't you only asking how rigidly we must comply with absurdly rigid, and probably short-sightedly conceived, but maybe clear and unambiguous, rules?

(Just so I get it, and maybe before Dan wakes up, and with luck Shmuel is asleep by now:  I left him pondering about small birds and how to measure them by the year a couple hours ago, so maybe it won't let him sleep:  are you asking about RONR, or what your rules mean?  Frankly I'd be glad to opine, mindful that Dan will likely be up in an hour or so, but what are we dealing with here.)

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14 hours ago, Godelfan said:

Here is exactly what it says:
2. No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

Now, suppose the rule contained additional language, such as:

1. (a) When a Senator desires to speak, he shall rise and address the Presiding Officer, and shall not proceed until he is recognized, and the Presiding Officer shall recognize the Senator who shall first address him. No Senator shall interrupt another Senator in debate without his consent, and to obtain such consent he shall first address the Presiding Officer, and no Senator shall speak more than twice upon any one question in debate on the same legislative day without leave of the Senate, which shall be determined without debate.

If the first means exactly what it says, does the second?  Meaning, if the nominee is asked questions, one after the other, should the nominee have to, between questions, rise and seek recognition before answering?  Also, must the body approve before the nominee may answer any questions beyond the second question?

Rule 1(a) is obviously talking about when a senator desires to speak *in debate during a session of the assembly*, not at his kitchen table to his children (or while answering the questions of children at a committee hearing).

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7 hours ago, Gary c Tesser said:

Godelfan, by "the first," do you mean Rule #2, and by "the second," do you mean Rule #1 (a), as listed above?  Like Beethoven's First Piano Concerto, his second, and his Second, his first (because of a mix-up in publishing, when he delivered the manuscripts at the same time)?

 

Yes, of course.  Why be simple when difficult will do?

7 hours ago, Gary c Tesser said:

I see no slack in the wording on Rule #1 (a), do you?  If so, where is it?  If not, aren't you only asking how rigidly we must comply with absurdly rigid, and probably short-sightedly conceived, but maybe clear and unambiguous, rules?

 

Yes, I'm asking exactly that - and whether it is appropriate to raise points of order while violating the very rule about which one is complaining.

 

1 hour ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

Rule 1(a) is obviously talking about when a senator desires to speak *in debate during a session of the assembly*, not at his kitchen table to his children (or while answering the questions of children at a committee hearing).

Agreed.  Now what does rule 2 refer to?

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I'm convinced that Godelfan simply cannot stomach the Senate's interpretation and enforcement of its own rules when it shut down Senator Warren, and that he (she?) wants to fuss about it.

I don't think this forum is the place to do it.

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2 hours ago, Godelfan said:

Yes, I'm asking exactly that - and whether it is appropriate to raise points of order while violating the very rule about which one is complaining.

Oh, come on. It is hardly unusual for an assembly to enforce some provisions of its rules more strictly than others, especially when some of those provisions relate to decorum.

The Senate does a lot of weird things with its rules, but I don't think this is one of them. There may be reasonable grounds for debate over whether the rule should provide an exception for motions to confirm a nomination of a senator (although this forum is not the appropriate place for that debate), but it seems plain that the rule as written provides for no such exception.

I also don't know why you find this to be that strange. Although the wording is slightly different, the rule in question doesn't seem that different from the rules of decorum in RONR. Suggesting that a fellow member is guilty of conduct unbecoming of a member in debate is indecorous and out of order. The fact that the member is the subject of the debate doesn't change that.

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11 hours ago, Godelfan said:

 

13 hours ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

Rule 1(a) is obviously talking about when a senator desires to speak *in debate during a session of the assembly*, not at his kitchen table to his children (or while answering the questions of children at a committee hearing).

Agreed.  Now what does rule 2 refer to?

Rule 2 also refers to debate in the assembly. What's your point?

11 hours ago, Godelfan said:

Yes, I'm asking exactly that - and whether it is appropriate to raise points of order while violating the very rule about which one is complaining.

I honestly have no idea what you're getting at. What violation of the rule was there on the part of the member making the point of order? And when you say "the very rule about which one is complaining," I assume you mean the complaint pertaining to a violation of the rule, not a complaint about the rule itself. But actually you're not being very clear.

Edited by Shmuel Gerber
Added second quote and response

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On 2/9/2017 at 2:12 PM, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I'm convinced that Godelfan simply cannot stomach the Senate's interpretation and enforcement of its own rules when it shut down Senator Warren, and that he (she?) wants to fuss about it.

I don't think this forum is the place to do it.

O Great Steaming Cobnuts, Dan, you think he's been talking about the United States Senate all this time, not his own local universitiy's?  I'm finally getting the idea (I, a glacially slow and immeasurably ponderous thinker, of dour and lugubrious mien).

And if so, why would not the Advanced Discussion (sub-)Forum on this, the world's premier Internet parliamentary forum, soi-disant, or so I like to assert, be an appropriate venue for discussion of tangential parliamentary matters, considering where General Robert's source material came from?

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20 minutes ago, Gary c Tesser said:

O Great Steaming Cobnuts, Dan, you think he's been talking about the United States Senate all this time, not his own local universitiy's? 

Yes, Mr. Katz was obviously referring in this thread to the U.S. Senate's Rule 19 (and to then current events involving its application).

If you don't believe me , just ask him.  :)

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