House Rules: Shut Up!


When black members of the U.S. House rose to protest irregularities in the Florida election after Bush’s squeak-through victory in 2000, nobody paid them any heed.

Nonetheless, it was an embarrassing moment, and one would not wish to see a repeat. To that end, when Corrine Brown from Florida recently said, “I come from Florida, where you and others participated in what I call the United States coup d’état. We need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“Over and over again after the election when you stole the election, you came back here and said, ‘Get over it.’ No, we’re not going to get over it. And we want verification from the world.”

This sort of thing could not be tolerated. Congressman Steve Buyer, an Indiana Republican, asked that her words be removed from the official record. Sitting in the chair at the time, Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas ruled Brown’s words a violation. “Members should not accuse other members of committing a crime such as, quote, stealing, end quote, an election,” Thornberry said, according to the Hartford Courant. When Brown objected to his ruling, the Republican-run House voted 219-187 along party lines to strike her words.

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