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Question: "Resolved, That the action of Speaker Reed is a violation of the rights of the minority.
Brief for the Affirmative.F. F. Causey, '90, and Walter Scott, Sp.
Best general references: Smith's Constitutional Manual, p. 486; Story's Commentaries, II, 296; Curtis on the Constitution, II., 262; Bryce's American Commonwealth, 131.
I. The action is contrary to the constitution of the United States. (a) A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum. (b) Each house [not the presiding officer] is to determine the rules of its proceedings-Constitution, article 1, section 5.
II. The action is contrary to the accepted principles of parliamentary law: (a) No business can be transacted if the attention of the house is called to the fact that a quorum is not present.- Lalors Cyclopaedia of Political Science, III, 88. (b) The fact of a quorum or of no quorum is settled by the record-Smith's Manual, 455; House Journal, 1st session, 44th congress, p. 1078. (c) The constitutional idea of a quorum implies not the visible presence, but the judgment and voted of the members-Thomas B. Reed in Congressional Record, vol X., part I. p. 578.
III. The precedents brought up by the speaker do not apply-J. G. Carlisle in House Journal, 1st session, 51st congress, p. 924.
IV. The action is a direct violation of the rights of the minority. (a) The majority has the power to vote down improper measures proposed by their opponents, but the only weapons left to the minority are the forms and rules of proceedings. (b) The rules are intended to protect the weak against the strong-Roger Q. Mills in North American Review, December, 1889, p. 661. (c) Minority representatives are a necessity-Lalor's Cyclopaedia, vol. 3, p. 590.
V. The action is contrary to the best interests of the country. (a) It is unwarranted, dangerous, and the foundation of legislative frauds-Decision of Speaker Blaine, Congressional Record 43, volume 3, part 3. p. 1734. (b) If the speaker can declare a quorum present when the roll call shows the contrary, he can declare a bill passed when the roll call shows the contrary-Nation, February 6, 1890, p. 104.
Brief for the Negative.J. P. Nields, L. S., F. L. Olmsted, '90.
Best general reference-Cong. Record, February 2nd. and 11th., 1890.
I. The ruling is in perfect accord with the recognized ruling of parliamentary procedures-Cushing's Elem. of Parliamentary Law, S 261, $69, 370, 390, 404, 406; Crocker's Procedure, "Quorums;" Parl. Reg. XII. 461; May's Parl. Law, S273-278; Hatsell's Precedents 187; Jefferson's Manual, p. 189. 4 Elliot's Debates, pp. 117, 130; Madison's papers, p, 405; Public Opinion, February 8. 1890.
II. The ruling has been uniformly supported by the courts of America and England-Township vs. Rodgers, 16 Wallace 644; Cass vs. Johnston, 92 U. S 369; Attorney general vs. Shepard, 62 N. H. 383; State vs. Foxcroft 2 Burr. 1017; Rex vs. Beldringer 4 Tem. R. 810; Lountz vs. People 113 Ill. 137; State vs. Mayor, 37 Mo. 270; State vs. Leisselline, 1 McCord 63.
IV. The claim of immemorial custom in congress is unfounded-Mr. Bayne in Cong. Record, February 11. 1890; Mr. Butter worth, February 2, ibid; Rules of forty-seventh and Fiftieth congresses, rule XVII. S 2.
IV. There is no right of the minority to obstruct legislation and action under the constitution.- Story on the Constitution 835 837, 847 note. The Federalist, Nos. 22. 58; Bryce's Am. Commonwealth, pp. 222, 299; Public Opinion, February 15, 1890, Nation 37, 347; 34: 248
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