GOP Reads Constitution, Promptly Violates It

GOP Reads Constitution, Promptly Violates It

On their first day as a majority party, Republican congressmen read the United States Constitution out loud, mostly to give the impression that they understand it.  That symbolic pretense was seriously undermined by Representatives Pete Sessions  (R, TX-32) and Mike Fitzpatrick  (R, PA-8). They didn’t bother getting themselves sworn in but voted on the House floor anyway.

Why didn’t Congressmen Sessions and Fitzpatrick get sworn in? They were busy attending a fundraiser. Republicans have their priorities; swearing to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” apparently isn’t one of them. Sessions says he raised his hand and took the oath while watching the swearing-in ceremony on TV.

Who says that congressmen have to be sworn in, anyway? Just Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.

Someone needs to take this up with the House Rules Committee. Just one thing: Pete Sessions is on the Rules Committee. In any case, their two votes will be subtracted from the totals of the measures they illegally voted on. No word if the Rules Committee votes of unsworn Pete Sessions will be nullified as well.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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3 Responses to “GOP Reads Constitution, Promptly Violates It”

  1. b.rox » Blog Archive » Constitutional Issues Says:

    […] came back later in the day and fixed that omission. And to top it all off, I’m also seeing reports that a couple new Representatives violated the Constitution by voting without being sworn in. Just […]

  2. Mike Licht Says:


    “During Thursday morning’s ‘historic reading,’ one member apparently skipped Article 4 Section 4 and part of Article 5 when he or she inadvertently turned two pages at once, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who was in charge of the reading, said on the House floor this afternoon.”

    — Josiah Ryan, The Hill.

    The GOP version of the Constitution was in a grade-schoolish 3-ring binder. Sounds like the Republicans need to repeat this class. Not on CSPAN next time, please.

    It was the GOP’s family-friendly, G-rated version of the Constitution, omitting things like slavery and prohibition, things which indicate that the U.S. Constitution is not the unchangable word of Mohammed and the Founding Fathers were not a bunch of infallible popes.

  3. Mike Licht Says:

    New Update:

    Rep. Anthony Weiner (D, NY-9) pointed out that the resolution nullifying the votes of the unsworn Sessions and Fitzpatick violated the “transparency” rules introduced by Republicans on the first day of the new Congress, which require three days notice before votes. Republicans allowed four minutes of comments.

    “There is also the fact that the reason Fitzpatrick and Sessions weren’t sworn in is because they were attending a fundraiser on the grounds of the Capitol, which is a direct violation of House ethics rules. But, as MSNBC points out: ‘if he technically wasn’t a member when the event was happening, it’s unclear if the Ethics Committee has any jurisdiction.’ A brilliant loophole! And here I thought Sessions and Fitzpatrick were just stupid, for thinking you could get sworn in by pledging to a television.” — Alex Pareene, Salon.

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