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07/18/2014

Seth Barrett Tillman on Quorums
Michael Ramsey

Seth Barrett Tillman (National University of Ireland, Maynooth - Faculty of Law) has posted two short essays on quorums on SSRN.  The first is Letter from Seth Barrett Tillman to Professor Anonymous, The Quorum Clause.  Here is the abstract:

Dear Professor,

You asked do “you believe that it is constitutional for a house to operate with a minority of members so long as no one asks for a quorum call[?]” In fact, I do.

This is why.

And as a follow-up:  Letter from Seth Barrett Tillman to Jimmy Y T MA, Counsel to the Legislature, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, Counting Quorums.  Here is the abstract:

Dear Legislative Counsel,

Thank you for writing. I am happy to send you a copy of my publication on the Quorum Clause of the U.S. Constitution. I have attached a copy. [See entry above.  --Ed.] It is short (and, perhaps, a bit informal), but I hope useful to scholars and practitioners such as yourself. 

You ask an interesting question—Do members have an unlimited right to seek quorum calls, even if repetitive, even if they effectively amount to a filibuster? I have not written on that precise question, but I have thought about that question for some years and corresponded with a wide array of parliamentarians in the English-speaking world following lex parliamentaria. I offer some thoughts below. Everything I suggest below assumes that any meeting was duly noticed under the relevant organic law: the constitution, statutes, standing parliamentary orders and rules, etc.