Posted by: A. C. Cockerill | January 31, 2019

U.S. Constitution – 2019 – Post #5

U.S. Constitution – 2019 – Post #5

What is Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution?

My two cents, but please share yours:

Article. I.

Section. 5.

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.



  1. For me the wonderful part about the US Constitution was the facility to amend it; its authors knew, I think, that life and times change and wanted to keep it current. It’s something NZ doesn’t have for its near-equivalent ‘founding document’, the Treaty of Waitangi, on which I’ve just written a book (it’s published commercially). It was signed in 1840 and really didn’t relate by the 1980s, which was dealt with by assigning ‘principles’ through which it could be interpreted. This was an excellent way of giving it currency for modern society, but of course it annoyed those who regarded the words as a fixed commodity from 1840. Had its authors (a naval captain, a Church of England minister and a some-time grape-grower) been thinking about it, they might have added a clause to allow it to adapt. But, of course, nobody at the time had any idea how the future might pan out and the Treaty, in 1840, was designed only to meet an immediate need. I suspect the US Founding Fathers were somewhat sharper in that regard!

    • Very interesting to hear about the Treaty of Waitangi, Matthew. The US Founding Fathers’ amendment process included very high hurdles for proposing amendments and ratifying them. This process allows for changes, but they can’t be made without widespread approval. Cheers, Ashley

      • The effort in New Zealand to bring the concept of the Treaty up to date – which was necessary if the Treaty was to have a role – came largely from the judiciary. It’s interesting to contrast the two processes. I think Madison, Jefferson (etc) knew what they were doing and had a long vision; whereas in 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was a purely expedient effort to fix an immediate problem. However, this was done in such a way that the Treaty had an enduring aspect. The problem then became the fact that society evolved in ways that the officials of 1840 could not envisage.

      • Interesting contrast, Matthew. Thank you very much for sharing this. Cheers, Ashley

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: