The Judge of the Qualifications of its Members
Government Law and Policy Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2010
8 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2010 Last revised: 23 Jul 2010
Date Written: 2010
New York State Constitution Article III, Section 9 provides that “Each house shall... be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members.” Recently, the case of Senator Hiram Monserrate has brought renewed attention to this provision. His case involved a conviction in 2009 for criminal assault. He was elected in November of 2008, and the assault occurred in December of 2008. Thus, the act took place after his election but before his term began. Nevertheless, the Senate voted to remove Monserrate from office.
This article reviews the history of the Constitutional provision, review its usage in New York history, review the history of similar provisions in other states and the federal government, and try to identify some of the potential problem raised by the Monserrate case.
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