[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 112th Congress]
[House Document 111-157]
[Jeffersons Manual of ParliamentaryPractice]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]
* * * * *
On October 23, 2000, the House of Commons, pursuant to a Standing
Order, elected a new Speaker after rejection of twelve other nominees
offered one at a time as amendments to the question. The amendments were
offered after refusal of the ``Father of the House of Commons'' to
entertain a motion to change the Standing Order to require a preliminary
secret ballot. On March 22, 2001, and on October 29, 2002, the House of
Commons adopted Standing Order 1B, requiring that the election of a new
Speaker be by secret ballot (Standing Orders of the House of Commons--
Public Business 2003).
For a discussion of the election of the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, see Sec. 27, supra.
Sec. 312. Election of Speaker.
When but one person is
proposed, and no objection made, it has not been usual in Parliament to
put any question to the House; but without a question the members
proposing him conduct him to the chair. But if there be objection, or
another proposed, a question is put by the Clerk. 2 Hats., 158. As are
also questions of adjournment. 6 Gray, 406. Where the House debated and
exchanged messages and answers with the King for a week without a
Speaker, till they were prorogued. They have done it de die in diem for
fourteen days. 1 Chand., 331, 335.
In the later practice the President pro tempore has usually been
chosen by resolution. In 1876 the Senate determined that the tenure of
the Office of a President pro tempore elected at one session does not
expire at the meeting of Congress after the first recess, the Vice
President not having appeared to take the chair; that the death of the
Vice President does not have the effect of vacating the Office of
President pro tempore; and that the President pro tempore holds office
at the pleasure of the Senate (II, 1417). In the 107th Congress the
Senate elected two Presidents of the Senate pro tempore for different
periods when the majority of the Senate shifted after inauguration of
the Vice President (S. Res. 3, Jan. 3, 2001, p. 7).
Sec. 313. Election of President pro tempore of the
In the Senate, a President pro tempore, in the absence of
the Vice-President, is proposed and chosen by ballot. His office is
understood to be determined on the Vice-President's appearing and taking
the chair, or at the meeting of the Senate after the first recess.
Sir Job Charlton ill, Seymour chosen,
1673, February 18. Not merely pro tem. 1
Seymour being ill, Sir Robert Sawyer Chand., 169, 276, 277.
chosen, 1678, April 15.<3-ln }>
Sawyer being ill, Seymour chosen.
Trevor chosen. There have been no later
instances. 2 Hats., 161; 4 Inst., 8; L. Parl., 263.
Thorpe in execution, a new Speaker chosen, 31 H. VI, 3 Grey, 11; and
March 14, 1694, Sir John
The House, by clause 8 of rule I, has provided for appointment and
election of Speakers pro tempore. Relying on the Act of June 1, 1789 (2
U.S.C. 25), the Clerk recognized for nominations for Speaker, at the
convening of a new Congress, as being of higher constitutional privilege
than a resolution to postpone the election of a Speaker and instead
provide for the election of a Speaker pro tempore pending the
disposition of certain ethics charges against the nominee of the
majority party (Jan. 7, 1997, p. 115).
Sec. 314. Parliamentary law as to choice of Speaker pro
Where the Speaker has been ill, other Speakers pro tempore have
been appointed. Instances of this are 1 H., 4. Sir John Cheyney, and Sir
William Sturton, and in 15 H., 6. Sir John Tyrrel, in 1656, January 27;
1658, March 9; 1659, January 13.
A resolution declaring the Office of Speaker vacant presents a
question of constitutional privilege (VI, 35), though the House has
never removed a Speaker. It has on several occasions removed or
suspended other officers, such as Clerk and Doorkeeper (I, 287-290, 292;
II, 1417). A resolution for the removal of an officer is presented as a
matter of privilege (I, 284-286; VI, 35). The Speaker may remove the
Clerk, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Chief Administrative Officer under clause 1
of rule II.
Sec. 315. Removal of the Speaker.
A Speaker may be removed
at the will of the House, and a Speaker pro tempore appointed, 2 Grey,
186; 5 Grey, 134.