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Redistricting – Plan B

July 15, 2003 News - Local/State 35 Comments

If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again.
Lil game of what-if here … What if the state GOP gives Tom DeLay his little wet dream of a map and when the dust settles on election day 2004, Charlie Stenholm is still a congressman, Chet Edwards is still a congressman, Jim Turner is still a congressman, Martin Frost is still a congressman, Chris Bell is either still a congressman or replaced by Rodney Ellis, Gene Green is still around, and so on and so on … maybe one Dem loses out on the whole thing, and just for grins, let’s say Bonilla loses his San Antonio area district. Would we then hear the same inane griping about how we need to redraw the lines since the voters presumably still wouldn’t know what they’re doing?

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Currently there are "35 comments" on this Article:

  1. RAW says:

    If the redrawn maps allow for that to happen, I don’t think the GOP politicians will have the energy to fight another round. They’ll be too busy getting smacked around by the GOP for drawing such a stupid map.
    Except, of course, in Greg’s Fantasy Land where it’s the Democrats are just so beloved by the people that hard core Republicans will naturally vote for Stenholm, Edwards, Bell, and so on cause they’re so gosh darn good and the only time the voters are competent is when they predominantly vote for Republican congressmen and yet send a Democratic delegation to congress courtesy of lines written by a judge based on lines written in 1991 by a bunch of Democrats.
    For what it’s worth, I’m against another special session. This time it died as bills ought to die instead of by a bunch of chicken-shizola reps who didn’t believe they had the power to stop something that, it would seem clear now, they did.

  2. Greg Wythe says:

    There’s a reason it’s called “what if” … you’ve read this site long enough to know that I don’t think Stenholm and Edwards will survive in the district they PRESENTLY have, come 2004.

  3. RAW says:

    The term “what if” implies a question, in my mind. There was a question mark at the end of that statement, but that wasn’t a question in any non-rhetorical sense.

  4. Alex,
    It’s been taken too far to simply give up now… Dewhurst should waive the 2/3rds rule to avoid another special session, but it would be politically disasterous for the GOP not to pass a plan at this point. We’re past the point of giving up; it’s a matter of pride and punishment.
    And redistricting WOULD seriously alter representation. The only thing keeping the Dems afloat in this state is the reminants of their gerrymandered redistricting from 1991.

  5. RAW says:

    Sorry, I can’t buy in to the “it’s too late not to” reasoning. Changing the rules to strongarm this through is something I cannot support.
    You’re probably right and they will have egg on their face, but they should. They failed. Not because of parliamentary tricks by the opposition, but because they couldn’t get the support of the own. Like I told Daniel in regards to why the Dems should have just let it go to the state senate, you win some you lose some.
    This time it was the other side that lost and I don’t support additional parliamentary maneuvers (changing the senate rules) or endless do-overs to compensate for it. It’s politically disastrous because they failed, and even with another session, I see no reason why they won’t fail again.

  6. Kevin Whited says:

    Presumably, in another session, they could more effectively control blocker bills, the primary stumbling block at the moment. I don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other on another special session. In a way, those activist government types who always lament that our legislature doesn’t meet long or often enough to “get things done” would be getting their wish. Sort of. I love that aspect of it. :)

  7. Alex,
    Why the heck is the GOP, which, prior to this term, has been out of power since Reconstuction, somehow obligated to maintain the Senate rules held to by the Democrats? If the law itself gives Dewhurst the authority, then it seems like an incredible stretch to think it improper given the circumstances.
    So long as the GOP is using perfectly legitimate tactics, I don’t see why on earth it should be compelled to give up.

  8. Greg says:

    “So long as the GOP is using perfectly legitimate tactics, I don’t see why on earth it should be compelled to give up.”
    So you had no problem with the Ardmore exodus?

  9. RAW says:

    I think Greg makes the point better than I could, here. So, Greg, does that mean that you’re not going to knock the efforts to get another shot at it, since all that is legal is fair and justified, a la Aardmore?

  10. Greg Wythe says:

    Fair point, Alex. Where I come down is that if Dewhurst wishes to rewrite the rules, he’s certainly well within his domain to do so. But it should be remembered that he and Perry (and DeLay) are the ones who killed bipartisanship in Texas … something I’d argue that at least two of those three may be just as happy with (color me uncertain on Dewhurst). Bipartisanship often comes about as a result of the way the rules are written, not solely because of the general goodwill of individuals. I think there’s a time and place for it, and also a time and place to make a stand, be it as a lone voice, as a party, as a geographic interest, or whatever. Where you pick those battles tells a lot, I think. The Dems that bolted for Ardmore were in the House, so they may or may not have given a rat’s behind about the comity in the Senate. But the stand they took also didn’t affect them … the map was solely for Congressional districts, not their own. Whether we think it’s right, wrong, or inbetween, it was a principled stand … one, I would argue, that said they weren’t going to stand quietly by while someone tried to gerrymander every last Democrat that resided in a district that supported Bush or Perry, et al.
    If Dewhurst wishes to rewrite the rules, he will have tossed bipartisanship into the dustbin of history all for the sake of establishing the precedent that Congressional districts should be drawn whenever there is a change in power. If Dewhurst wishes to live with that, then let him. I just hope he thinks it’s worth it when the shoe is on the other foot. Hint: the shoe ALWAYS ends up on the other foot sooner or later.
    Personally, I think it’s a dangerous precedent (redistricting in this situation). I’ve stated time and time again that I cannot see how Stenholm and Edwards (and possibly even Turner, Sandlin, and Hall) survive in 2004. I think it’s a needless and pointless battle and I’d state as much if the situation were reversed. I’d be licking my chops on those districts I knew were going to fall as Bush is set to take 65% or more statewide and likely over 70% in those very Democratic districts. Is getting over the hump in races that have otherwise confounded you worth establishing such a rotten precedent? It just boggles my mind to think that it could.
    Look at the bigger scope this way: among the frustrations that some of us (and I include myself in here for part of the way) have about incumbants getting reelected a bit too easily … we didn’t like the influence that money had in the process, so we re-wrote the campaign finance laws twice since 1974. It was still a problem, so some came up with the idea of term limits (this is where I depart the bus), and since that’s failed, the latest idea is to gerrymander districts to off the out of power incumbants. At some point, you just have to put your faith in the people and live with the results. Tom DeLay’s district voted for Bush in 2000 by about the same margin as Charlie Stenholm’s. Tom DeLay wins that district with 65% of the vote no matter how many dead bodies they find in his trunk. Stenholm wins his district with whisker thin majorities and relies on ticket splitting precints (yes, PRECINTS) that give 500+ vote majorites to Bush and 500+ vote majorites to Stenholm. Might not happen next time around, might not happen if anyone other than Stenholm runs … but it happens with Stenholm. So if you can’t rewrite the money laws, if you can’t bully lobbyists to dry up Stenholm’s fundraising, if you can’t enact term limits (in fairness, I’m aware DeLay is against term limits), then draw Abiline and Lubbock in the same district. In the words of Michael Douglas in Greed, when confronted with ornery stockholders … “Dilute them.”

  11. Greg,
    That’s way off base. It is against House rules to thwart a quorum, which is why you had the DPS chasing after Democratic lawmakers. It WASN’T a legitimate tactic.
    Conversely, it isn’t against the rules to waive the 2/3rds requirement. Apples and oranges…

  12. Greg Wythe says:

    It isn’t against House rules, Owen.

    The Texas House rules allow for the arrest of members who intentionally bust a quorum. Rule 5, section 8 states:
    When a call of the House is moved for one of the above purposes and seconded by 15 members (of whom the speaker may be one) and ordered by a majority vote, the main entrance to the hall and all other doors leading out of the hall shall be locked and no member permitted to leave the House without the written permission of the speaker.
    The names of members present shall be recorded. All absentees for whom no sufficient excuse is made may, by order of a majority of those present, be sent for and arrested, wherever they may be found, by the sergeant-at-arms or an officer appointed by the sergeant-at-arms for that purpose, and their attendance shall be secured and retained.
    The House shall determine on what conditions they shall be discharged. Members who voluntarily appear shall, unless the House otherwise directs, be immediately admitted to the hall of the House and shall report their names to the clerk to be entered in the journal as present.
    Until a quorum appears, should the roll call fail to show one present, no business shall be transacted, except to compel the attendance of absent members or to adjourn. It shall not be in order to recess under a call of the House.

    You can hunt them down (DPS, yes … Homeland Security, get serious), but it’s not against the rules to bust a quorum any more than it was against the rules to take a potty break during roll call.
    Now go back and touch third … you forgot to tag up.

  13. Greg,
    So you can arrest people for breaking a quorum, but it isn’t against House rules? That sounds like tortured logic. If it weren’t an offense, the rules wouldn’t allow for arrests to be made. Let’s face it: If the cops have to hunt you down, you’ve done something wrong.
    This is in no way comparable to waiving the 2/3rds requirement.

  14. Greg,
    And this is from the Texas Constitution, Article 3, Section 10:
    “Two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.
    The House rules provide no punishments, although the members who are arrested may be held against their will in the House at the will of the majority. It’s laughable, then, to say that intentionally thwarting a quorum doesn’t violate the rules. Going to the bathroom would be a ‘sufficient excuse,’ but intent to block business is not.

  15. Greg Wythe says:

    House rules provide no punishment. “Arrest” is actually the wrong term. Note the use of “compel” in both places, though. Big difference, and it requires no tortured logic. If you wish to claim Dewhurst rewriting the rules as legitimate, then busting a quorum under the current rules, which provide no penalty is likewise legitimate. Apples to apples.

  16. RAW says:

    Greg,
    I don’t disagree with much of what you have to say. I’m not in favor of gerrymandering as a matter of principle, but as a matter of practicality, the Dems ran off the GOP in California it’s hard to justify not taking advantage of an opportunity in Texas. After all, a GOP vote in Houston counts just as much as a GOP vote in California.
    I know that right now it’s easy to point and say that this is a GOP problem because the GOP legislatures are making most of the districts, but it’s worth noting how long the Democrats had control of the House (funny how when they were unpopular, they only seemed to lose the Senate, isn’t it?) for decades. It’s somewhat convenient for everyone to get unctious about it now.
    I personally don’t care that the Democrats gerrymandered in 1991, though. I do care that they’re still such in California and New York. That justifies Texas and Colorado. If you can figure out a ceasefire, I’m all in favor of it. I don’t support a unilateral ceasefire when it’s our side that’s ceasing firing.

  17. Greg,
    House rules provide no punishment. “Arrest” is actually the wrong term. Note the use of “compel” in both places, though. Big difference, and it requires no tortured logic.
    Didn’t you actually read the House rules? Here’s the relevant excerpt from Rule 5, Section 8 (Quorum and Attendence) of the House rules:
    “All absentees for whom no sufficient excuse is made may, by order of a majority of those present, be sent for and arrested, whereever they may be found, by the sergeant-at-arms or an officer appointed by the sergeant-at-arms for that purpose, and their attendence shall be secured and retained.”
    They use the word arrested. Therefore it is certainly apt, and your logic is still tortured.
    If you wish to claim Dewhurst rewriting the rules as legitimate, then busting a quorum under the current rules, which provide no penalty is likewise legitimate. Apples to apples.
    You are comparing an arrestable offense to a legitimate exercise of power. Your entire argument hinged upon the idea that it wasn’t really an ‘arrest,’ yet the House rules themselves contradict this. Apples to oranges.

  18. Greg Wythe says:

    Owen -
    Correct on the “punishment” vs “arrest” angle … my bad. But it still doesn’t dispel the case. In fact, I’d argue you’re the one still torturing to find a “legitimate” vs “illegitimate” grounds, and here’s why. The constitution does not provide an arrestable case … it allows for House rules to do so. Under those very rules, with no penalty, the Dems bolted across state lines. If there’s no penalty for it, where’s the knock on it’s legitimacy? If I borrow a penny out of the penny tray at the grocery store, have I “illegimately” gained something because there was no penalty for taking property that wasn’t my own? I think you oversell the argument when you make the claim of illegitimacy, and obviously, that’s where I’m not seeing eye to eye with you.
    Alex -
    The difference I’d see in your case and mine is that if one wants to duke it out in the year after the census, then go at it. If you’ve got the numbers, then flex the muscle you’ve got. That’s a case built on tradition, not law, however. What I see the current efforts as, is a case of using that loophole to further politicize this process.
    To take a pass on it, then wait till you think you’ll have better numbers to re-draw the map in two years time, it’s a break in precedent, and one that I think seriously needs to be looked at if it’s one we wish to establish. It’s worth noting that there’s nothing illegal about redrawing the maps, and by latest accounts, there will be another session, and bipartisanship will be dead in Texas. That’s something that George Bush used with great effectiveness in making his case in 2000, you’ll recall. My earlier points on bipartisanship notwithstanding, I don’t look favorably on this passing in Texas.
    Couple of possible scenarios to think about down the road, and keep in mind my predictions on the status of many of the endangered Dems in 2004 under existing boundaries … what if the net sum of this is to embolden Dems, energizes their efforts, and allows them to make inroads in the very suburban areas that the Reps claim as their own. Recall the Soccer Mom revolt against Clayton Williams, for instance … there’s precedent. would the state GOP not have been better off just letting Stenholm, Edwards, et al die a natural death in 2004, avoid this overreaching of power, take no risk in alienating swing voters (yes, Texas does have a few). The “other shoe” argument is one that the state GOP seriously needs to keep in mind, because this action won’t be forgotten.
    As a parallel, it’s been said that for every rule in golf, there was a case where someone tried to cheat using that technique, hence there’s a rule against it now. That parallels strongly here. There’s no law against redistricting every two years. Would you want to live through that? Would you think that the state fiscal problems in many of the states would be better served by focusing on redistricting every two years? The GOP could have left it up to comity and common sense to leave the situation as is, instead they seek to drive through the loophole before them and make things worse, all for 5 more seats in Congress. Is it really worth that?
    There’s 50 states, and the redistricting process goes about the same in most of them. Last I checked, the GOP has the most seats in the House. I can’t fathom that it’s despite Dems gerrymandering a majority of the seats to their advantage and noble Reps winning despite all odds. It would seem to me that the GOP did a rather successful job on the whole with both the 90s redistricting that fed into the 1994 takeover, as well as the 2000 census redistricting.

  19. Greg,
    In fact, I’d argue you’re the one still torturing to find a “legitimate” vs “illegitimate” grounds, and here’s why. The constitution does not provide an arrestable case … it allows for House rules to do so.
    This is really reaching. The state constitution allows for the House to arrest and punish members thwarting a quorum. This doesn’t make it sound like more of a legitimate tactic at all.
    Under those very rules, with no penalty, the Dems bolted across state lines. If there’s no penalty for it, where’s the knock on it’s legitimacy?
    It is an arrestable offense. The cops pursue you. How the heck can such a thing be legitimate? You’re arguing that an action for which you can be arrested and held against your will is legitimate and therefore comparable to the Lt. Governor waiving a 2/3rds requirment. That’s not a credible stretch.
    Besides, an activity can be a crime even if no punishment is prescribed. This usually occurs when the offense is a minor one (often this is true with attempted suicide, illegal immigration, and a fleeing material witness). In the case of thwarting a quorum, however, it can certainly be argued that there is a punishment involved; the offending legislators can be held indefinitely by the House to secure their participation.
    In any case, you’re not going to convince me (or anyone using good judgment, for that matter) that legislators fleeing to Oklahoma with the cops on their tails is the same as Dewhurst waiving a procedural rule — something well within the scope of his authority. The former is at least dubious enough a tactic to be deemed illegitimate, while the latter is clearly not.

  20. Greg Wythe says:

    Far be it to convince you of anything that isn’t directly off the state GOP talking points memo. But if that’s what passes for using “good judgement” to some, then so be it …
    “Besides, an activity can be a crime even if no punishment is prescribed. This usually occurs when the offense is a minor one (often this is true with attempted suicide, illegal immigration, and a fleeing material witness). In the case of thwarting a quorum, however, it can certainly be argued that there is a punishment involved; the offending legislators can be held indefinitely by the House to secure their participation.”
    As one who uses good judgement, I’m curious … if you saw on the news that legislators were forced to vote in handcuffs and shackles, would this be something you would be proud of? I’d also argue that every one of the offenses you listed do, in fact, have more stringent penalties than you might think … Restitution for costs incurred, deportation, and jail time. The House rules call for no such thing. It’s an “offense” with no penalty. “Held indefinitely”??? You might want to substantiate that one … dunno where you’re getting that from. To my knowledge, every session called is for a finite amount of time.

  21. Greg,
    As one who uses good judgement, I’m curious … if you saw on the news that legislators were forced to vote in handcuffs and shackles, would this be something you would be proud of?
    If those legislators were trying to halt business in a petty attempt to stop legislation they simply didn’t like, then I would think it would be regrettable but necessary. The mere fact that you’re admitting that this is the reality, however, goes a long way to proving my point.
    I’d also argue that every one of the offenses you listed do, in fact, have more stringent penalties than you might think … Restitution for costs incurred, deportation, and jail time.
    I don’t consider deportation to be any more a crime than being held in the House against one’s will. And to my knowledge none of crimes I mentioned required jail time or restitution. Perhaps I’m wrong on that, but I’m not wrong on the point that punishment is not a necessary element of crime.
    “Held indefinitely”??? You might want to substantiate that one … dunno where you’re getting that from. To my knowledge, every session called is for a finite amount of time.
    Ok, I’ll give you that one. I overstated the case; they can only hold the legislators so long as the House is actually in session.

  22. Ahem… “Any more a punishment than being held against one’s will.”

  23. Greg Wythe says:

    “The mere fact that you’re admitting that this is the reality, however, goes a long way to proving my point.”
    I don’t admit to the reality of this … I offer it as an extreme of what you say could happen with arrest of legislators. The fact that you would deem it acceptable in America to chain legislators up and force them to vote rather than take nontraditional means to combat policy deemed as bad, I would argue, makes a pretty disturbing case. Might want to go look in the mirror on this one, Owen. Totalitarianism is not acceptable in America. You’re a step from it there, my friend.

  24. Greg,
    The fact that you would deem it acceptable in America to chain legislators up and force them to vote rather than take nontraditional means to combat policy deemed as bad, I would argue, makes a pretty disturbing case.
    That’s what the Texas Constitution and the House rules allow for. If you don’t like that, advocate changing the system. But the fact remains that thwarting a quorum is an illegitimate tactic that warrants the arrest and holding of legislators.
    Totalitarianism is not acceptable in America. You’re a step from it there, my friend.
    Don’t be so melodramatic. Elected representatives are obligated to participate in the process and can be compelled to do so if they refuse. Nobody is forcing Democrats to support redistricting, but they sure as heck have no authority to bring the legislative process to a halt.
    We’re a republic. When the Democrats scurried off to Oklahoma, they thwarted the democratic process and forced the police to pursue them. That, Greg, is tyranny of the minority, and it certainly isn’t acceptable in America.

  25. Greg Wythe says:

    Still so incredibly tortured, Owen … check the news from time to time, will ya …

    But Texas law “limits the role of DPS to enforcing the laws protecting the public safety and providing for the prevention and detection of crime,” Judge Campbell wrote in the ruling.
    The judge said that law overrides a state House of Representatives rule allowing for absent members to be arrested by the sergeant-at-arms or an officer appointed by him.

    Now, let’s see … who’s beign melodramatic? The one advocating going BEYOND what the law proscribes in locking legislators in a Chain Gang (Owen’s America, ladies and gentlemen!), or the one who’s very logic would categorize a simple filibuster as “tyranny?”

  26. Greg,
    Judge Campbell’s ruling was nonsense. The Texas Constitution gives the legislature the unqualified power to “compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.” The law gives the House the authority whether Campbell liked it or not, and even he admits that the House was simply enforcing their own rules.
    Predictably, Abbott is appealing the ruling. Add to that the fact that Campbell is a Democrat, and you don’t have anything more than a textbook example of judicial activism. Campbell was just giving a victory to his party at the expense of the law.
    And no, my logic would not characterize a filibuster as ‘tyranny’ since that’s a legitimate legislative tactic that doesn’t demand the arrest of legislators. Again, you aren’t making valid comparisons.

  27. Greg Wythe says:

    Amazing that it is an alleged “conservative” position that the enforcement capacity of a lower body is granted more power than that granted by the state itself. It’s a very common principle of law, Owen, and you’re way outside the bounds of traditional conservative thought in advocating greater police powers in cases like this. Federal law trumps state law, state law trumps local law, and unfortunately for some, state law also trumps House rules.
    When did did conservates become advocates of a police state, Owen?
    Furthermore, let’s go back to the whole debate of costs involved here. Do you think for a minute that the United States would have any degree of moral certitude elsewhere when images of state legislators being chained up? I’m utterly astounded that that constitutes acceptable behavior to you. You don’t think Castro (or replace any despot of your choosing for that one) would have a field day with that? Is that really worth it for FIVE more congressional districts? You’ve dived off the deep end, I’m afraid, Owen.

  28. The highest law is the state constitution, Greg! It’s what grants the House the specific power to arrange the arrest, holding, and even punishment of legislators who thwart a quorum. And you ought to know that it is a fundamental legal principle that the state constitution trumps all other state statues.
    And we’re not talking about a police state, either. This is a power that can be used only in cases where legislators are skipping out without good reason and a majority of remaining House members agree to compel their attendence. How often does this occur, honestly?
    You continue to be reviled at the prospect of legislators being forced to participate, but this is necessary for the functioning of our state government. If a third of the legislature in a single House could simply run off and kill a session without fear of arrest or punishment, state business can’t get done. That’s why our state constitution gives remaining legislators the power to compel attendence, and even to punish – BECAUSE THWARTING A QUORUM IS AN ILLEGITIMATE TACTIC.
    I want our democracy to function, and I want representatives to do their jobs. Comparisons to Cuba are ridiculous — Castro controls elections and punishes people for voting contrary to his will. All Texas demands is that elected respesentatives show up and participate. It’s absurd to call that totalitarian.

  29. Scratch that — Texas legislators don’t even have to participate. All they have to do is show up; If I’m correct, they can still refuse to vote.
    QUICK! CALL AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL! :)

  30. Greg Wythe says:

    The diving contest continues, I see, Owen. Where on earth to begin with this one ….
    First things first, keep the story straight. The state constitution is NOT what provides for arrest powers. That is done so in the House rules. House rules CANNOT supercede the powers of the state constitution. Very simple principle, and the fact that you don’t get that is quite a statement of conservative principle, to the extent that others share your views.
    “This is a power that can be used only in cases where legislators are skipping out without good reason…” Another perfectly incorrect statement. There is no provision between “good” or “bad” reasons anywhere. You just made that up. Whither conservatism, Owen?

  31. Greg,
    There is no provision between “good” or “bad” reasons anywhere. You just made that up. Whither conservatism, Owen?
    This is why I posted a link to the House rules, Greg. There is indeed a distinction made been ‘good’ and ‘bad’ reasons, but determining these are left up to the remaining House members. Remember this quote I posted?
    “All absentees for whom no sufficient excuse is made may, by order of a majority of those present, be sent for and arrested…”
    If there’s a ‘sufficient excuse’ for their absence, and I would assume that this refers to conditions or events that would make a representative physically or emotionally unable to paricipate, then then House wouldn’t demand their arrest.
    However, even you have to admit that running up to Oklahoma to thwart redistricting isn’t a ‘sufficient excuse’ for not being there for a quorum.

  32. Greg says:

    Where is the list of “sufficient” (not necessarily “good,” mind you) reasons? Do you see a list in the Constitution? … in the House rules? Go ahead Owen … let’s see if your conservatism by convenience is now taking a “living constitution” to a new threshold.

  33. Ulysses says:

    Booyah!

  34. Greg,
    That’s why I specifically said “[t]here is indeed a distinction made been ‘good’ and ‘bad’ reasons, but determining these are left up to the remaining House members.” The House rules state CLEARLY that there is a difference between ‘sufficient’ and ‘insufficient’ excuses for not appearing.
    But I NEVER SAID that either the House Rules or the Constitution spell out the particlars of this distinction. In fact, I said exactly the opposite, and gave you a link to the House rules that say exactly this.
    My original statement that you objected to read as follows: “This is a power that can be used only in cases where legislators are skipping out without good reason and a majority of remaining House members agree to compel their attendence.” This statement was simply a retelling of the House rules, which say that “[a]ll absentees for whom no sufficient excuse is made may, by order of a majority of those present, be sent for and arrested.” If you can spot a significant difference between what I said and what the House rules say, please tell me. Otherwise, can the baseless rhetoric.
    And if your entire objection rests on the distinction between a ‘good’ and a ‘suffient’ excuse, then you’re splitting hairs. And if you claim that having a word or phrase that is open to interpretation makes for a ‘living document,’ you’re being downright silly. There are words in the US Constitution like ‘due process’ and ‘unreasonable search and seizure’ that inherently demand interpretation. In the case of the House rules, this interpretation lies with the House itself. Deal with it.

  35. Brett says:

    Get Bent!

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