The Constitutional Case Against Non-Member Speakers of the House

Posted: 9 Jan 2023

See all articles by Adam Reed Moore

Adam Reed Moore

BYU Law School

Kade Allred

BYU Law School

Tanner Wadsworth

Columbia University, Law School

Date Written: January 6, 2023

Abstract

The text, history, and tradition of the Constitution all dictate that the Speaker of the House be a serving member of Congress. Yet legislators continue to nominate non-members for the speakership. This Article closely analyzes the text of the Speaker Clause and leverages 700 years of history and tradition to make the case against non-member speakers of the House.

This Article also discusses whether the issue of non-member speakers could make its way through the courts, analyzing who might have standing to sue and whether the suit would present a political question.

This Article’s conclusion is significant. It sheds light on the procedure and rationale involved in choosing a Speaker of the House. It forecloses an increasingly common argument among sitting House members. And by excluding non-members as candidates for the speakership, this Article’s conclusion promises to make future speakership negotiations and votes more smooth, eliminating one potential avenue for meaningless protest votes.

Suggested Citation

Moore, Adam Reed and Allred, Kade and Wadsworth, Tanner, The Constitutional Case Against Non-Member Speakers of the House (January 6, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4318948

Adam Reed Moore

BYU Law School ( email )

Provo, UT
United States

Kade Allred

BYU Law School ( email )

Tanner Wadsworth (Contact Author)

Columbia University, Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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