Punishing a Legislator

Recall that, in response to scurrilous remarks made in opposition to a Montana legislature bill barring child mutilation gender-related “care” for children, Progressive-Democratic Party State Congresswoman Zooey Zephyr was censured and barred from the House floor for the remainder of the current legislative session.

Now she, along with four constituents, are suing the State and a variety of State officials over the matter. The ACLU, representing Zephyr in the suit, actually makes the claim that her censure and bar from the floor is unconstitutional.

Here’s what Montana’s State Constitution has to say on the matter [initial boldface in the original, emphasis at the end added]:

Section 10. Organization and procedure. (1) Each house shall judge the election and qualifications of its members. It may by law vest in the courts the power to try and determine contested elections. Each house shall choose its officers from among its members, keep a journal, and make rules for its proceedings. Each house may expel or punish a member for good cause shown with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its members.

The courts have no jurisdiction in this matter. The ACLU’s argument is silly, and even those lawyers should know better. Or, perhaps the ACLU prefers that Zephyr be expelled altogether, as Montana’s Constitution explicitly permits.

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