Montana District Court Judge Denies At the end of April 2023, Democrat Rep. Zooey Zephyr attempted to return to the House floor after Republicans were blocked from entering or speaking on the floor.
Zephyr sued Republican leaders in the Montana House of Representatives for barring the floor from proceedings. Montana Judge, Former Democratic Rep. himselfwas ruled on May 2, 2023, and Zephyr’s resurrection is not within the jurisdiction of the court and would “interfere with the legislative body.”American Civil Liberties Union, Montana Representative Zephyr and four of her members in litigation.
The ACLU spoke out on the dismissal and silence of Zephyr, the state’s first openly transgender legislator. violates democratic principles Freedom of expression and political participation.
It could also violate the spirit of legislative rules set by one of the nation’s founders, Thomas Jefferson, more than 200 years ago. These rules were written to protect minority opinions, and the majority power in the Montana House of Representatives did not choose them.
I am a political scientist focused on American politics, minority politics, and reducing prejudice.I have wrote and researched On the impact of prejudice in American politics and how public policy affects minorities.
It is clear that the rules and customs of American politics and state legislatures have evolved since Jefferson first drafted a set of rules of procedure. But the former standard of politeness now appears to be declining in state politics.
Blame Zephyr, and more recently Deportation of two black legislators from Tennessee Speaking without recognition and leading the gun control protests, he underscores the tendency for parliamentary rules to be used to silence minority members of Congress and expel them from Congress.
Republican head of Montana House says Zephyr broke etiquette after her raised the mic above her head On April 24, 2023, when protesters chanted “Let her speak” on the House floor.
House Speaker Matt Regier and other Republicans will vote on April 26, 2023, stop the zephyr from speaking On the House floor after protesting and refusing to apologize for what she said 8 days ago Lawmakers who have restricted access to gender-affirming care “They had blood on their hands.”.
The vote allowed the Montana House of Representatives forbidden zephyr From the House floor for the rest of the session, which normally ends in May.This means Zephyr can remotely vote for action, but she can not speak on the house floor.again block her From other working areas of the legislature.
Republicans said they blamed the zephyr Because she incited protesters in the House of Commons.
“The choice not to follow House rules is one of the choices Senator Zephyr has made. Leger wrote on Twitter.
Zephyr’s accusation Nationwide wave of initiatives Restrict access to gender-affirming health care.lawmakers have Introduced 400 anti-trans bills Released nationwide from January 2023.
understand the rules of etiquette
The U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures have certain rules that govern civility, or how members should behave inside and outside the Legislative Council.these are include rules Allow the Speaker of the House or other political leader to choose who can speak and for how long.
Legislatures, both at the state level and at the legislature, can choose to discipline or remove lawmakers who violate the rules. in the U.S. House of Representatives, member was accused to share violent video About harming a colleague to engage in sexual misconductamong others.
Legislative leaders should: wide discretion About whether to allow elected officials to speak. Legislators have similarly broad discretion to denounce or remove members who violate these rules.
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For Zephyr, Montana House Speaker Regier said: In accordance with parliamentary rules, Had the authority to ban Zephyr’s remarks. This decision is based on Montana House’s written rules.
Still, Zephyr’s accusations unprecedented in modern Montana politicsand for similar disrespect acquitted There.
prevent minority legislators from participating fully in legislative debates violates democratic principles Free discussion and equal representation.
According to Jefferson, using Congressional rules to silence and denounce lawmakers also violates the spirit of those rules.
These rules have a long history
Many state legislatures, including the U.S. House of Representatives and the Montana Legislature, generally follow the rules written by Jefferson and published in 1801.
Current Senate rules strongly influenced According to the Jefferson Manual.
Jefferson wrote these rules In a turbulent period of the country’s history. He worried that the political divisions of his time would tear the young nation apart.
his manual including code of conduct For example, “Do not disturb others who are speaking by hissing, coughing, spitting, talking or whispering.”
At the turn of the 19th century, the House and Senate were not governed by a clear set of rules. Limited Guidance Provided by the ConstitutionJefferson was concerned that the lack of specific procedural rules gave legislative leaders too much latitude.
Codifying the rules, he speculated, would help protect minorities. “The only weapon that minorities can defend against” Abuse in the majority.
Condemnation is a failure of political decorum
But these legislative procedures failed to defend minority perspectives when it came to Montana’s first transgender legislature.
I believe this is due to the breakdown of politeness and lack of empathy in American politics.
Zephyr may have broken the Montana legislature’s rules of politeness with her words and actions, but political scientists recognize it Democracy requires tolerance again refrain from practicing House leaders didn’t do it in the face of Zephyr’s breach. If politicians exercise their power freely, democracy will collapse.
informal norms There are tendencies in American politics, such as politeness to all colleagues, that promote political cooperation and contribute to the healthy functioning of democracy.
Democracy also works well when opposing sides show compassion for each other.
exercise failure mutual tolerance and tolerance Opposing members of the opposing party will only increase division and reduce the democracy of the country.in the meantime A time of such polarizationI think it’s more important than ever to exercise political restraint and compassion for those who are different from us.