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Quorum vs. Unanimous Consent

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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6 Responses

  1. Alice Forlán says:

    Tom Goldstein over at SCOTUSblog posted on this topic on Friday, and he says you are correct: Senate procedural rules dictate that a quorum is presumed unless and until a point of no quorum (quorum call) is made.

  2. Joe says:

    The constitutional language appears to be possibly read either way. I take that the assumption would be that the quorum rule would not be abused enough for it to matter and if contesting things after the fact could be unwieldy. Still, it does seem to open up the possibility of abuse with the assumed victims not present to challenge. Plus, if each House felt it was necessary, they could pass a rule to clarify the matter.

    • Brett Bellmore says:

      It strikes me as more than a little absurd to suggest the ‘possibility’ of abuse, where there are so many concrete examples of the abuse actually occurring. To give but one example, the ’94 assault weapon ban only passed thanks to a rule adopted when no quorum was present.

      • Joe says:

        Since I disagree repeatedly on your interpretation of specific instances, to save time, I won’t deal with the specific one allegedly cited. Anyway, the phrasing was a polite way of phrasing things.

  3. Joe says:

    This is off topic, but given the GM’s “Four Horsemen” interest, came across a book “A Supreme Court Justice Is Appointed” by David J. Danelski regarding Pierce Butler. It’s from the 1960s and probably a tad obscure but such are the charms of libraries.

  4. Gerard Magliocca says:

    Supposedly Danelski is working on a massive biography of Justice Douglas–a project that has been ongoing for decades.