Tags: Paul Ryan | ryan | anti | livestream | rules | unconstitutional

Paul Ryan's Anti-Livestream Rules May Be Unconstitutional

Image: Paul Ryan's Anti-Livestream Rules May Be Unconstitutional

Paul Ryan (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 12:01 PM

House Speaker Paul Ryan's response to Democrats' "sit-in" for gun control might go against the Constitution, according to experts from both parties, Politico reports.

Democrats refused to obey pre-existing House rules against taking photos or video on the floor during their 25-hour protest against the lack of motion of gun control. Republicans shut down the House, forcing C-SPAN to suspend coverage until the network picked up the livestream feed from one of the legislators taking part in the protest.

In the next House rules package, which members will vote to approve of in January, Republican leaders hope to include a rule allowing the sergeant-at-arms to fine legislators as much as $2,500 for taking pictures or video on the floor.

According to Article 1 of the Constitution, "each House may … punish its Members for disorderly behavior," but some question whether this applies to shooting photos and videos.

"The Constitution gives the House the authority to discipline members; I have never heard of anything where an officer of the House was given that authority," Mike Stern, former attorney for the Senate Homeland Security Committee's Republican staff and with the nonpartisan House counsel's office, told Politico.

"Their strongest argument would be: The House doesn't have the authority to give these officers the power to punish us; only the power of the House can do that, and [Republicans] have short-circuited our rights by the way they've done it."

Others worry that the designation of the sergeant-at-arms could set a dangerous precedent, including Democrats' former House counsel Stan Brand and former Chief Counsel and Staff Director to the House and Senate ethics panels Robert Walker.

"It's the House that has the power, the self-disciplinary authority, to do this," Brand told Politico. "I'm not sure they can delegate the disciplinary power to an individual house officer."

"Do members really want to start this?" Walker asked to Politico. "Once you start delegating punishment to an officer, it raises a question of precedent and whether it can be expanded, and I think members will want to think carefully before they do this."

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House Speaker Paul Ryan's response to Democrats' "sit-in" for gun control might go against the Constitution, according to experts from both parties, Politico reports.
ryan, anti, livestream, rules, unconstitutional
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2016-01-28
Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 12:01 PM
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