Two pieces… the first, an official editorial of The Washington Examiner, and the second a column by Quin. Follow the links embedded in the headlines.

Congress should return to work, for real (April 22): Instead of President Trump adjourning Congress so he can make “recess appointments” to executive agencies and judges, Congress should reconvene to do the people’s business.

We have argued before in favor of allowing remote voting temporarily. This is something now under consideration. But if Congress cannot figure out a plan to do so without fear of legal challenges, they have to figure out an alternative way to reopen safely.

To allow members of Congress from the West Coast to return to Washington, D.C., by car, if necessary, the date of reconvening could be pushed back. But reconvene they must. Especially in a time of crisis, Congress should be ready to legislate and provide oversight of other branches. Most importantly, Congress should not let executive and judicial positions go unfilled. This crisis requires all hands on deck….

Why it would be dicey for Congress to vote by remote (April 22):

Today’s Washington Examiner editorial is absolutely right in calling for Congress to get back to work. To it, I merely add one note about why it should do so by reconvening in the nation’s capital, rather than by trying to invent some sort of remote system for members of Congress to cast votes from their home districts.

The potential problem with remote voting stems from one sentence of the Constitution. Article 1, Section 5, paragraph four says that “neither House” may adjourn “to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.” This would seem to indicate that both chambers must “sit” and hold actual business meetings in the same location.

Granted, other provisions of the Constitution might be read to allow Congress to designate an alternative by ordinary statute, without a constitutional amendment. It’s not a slam-dunk case either way. Yet, because the last thing the nation needs is for someone to challenge, ex post facto, a law passed by remote voting, and thus create even more turmoil, it is probably wiser not to test Section Five, paragraph four’s provision except in an utmost emergency….


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