On the Decision of the Chair PN30: Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, to be Attorney General
During the floor debate on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, the chair ruled that Sen. Elizabeth Warren had violated Rule XIX of the Senate's rules of debate. This was a roll call vote on the decision. A yea vote was to keep the chair's decision that the rule had been violated.
The rule is:
No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.
Warren had read into the record a now famous letter by Coretta Scott King in 1986 in opposition to Sessions's nomination at the time to be a federal judge.
The decision of the chair sets a problematic precedent that presidential nominees cannot be opposed in floor debate when the nominee is a sitting senator.
Decision of Chair Sustained. Simple Majority Required. Source: senate.gov.
The Yea votes represented 45% of the country’s population by apportioning each state’s population to its voting senators.
“Aye” and “Yea” mean the same thing, and so do “No” and “Nay”. Congress uses different words in different sorts of votes.
The U.S. Constitution says that bills should be decided on by the “yeas and nays” (Article I, Section 7). Congress takes this literally and uses “yea” and “nay” when voting on the final passage of bills.
All Senate votes use these words. But the House of Representatives uses “Aye” and “No” in other sorts of votes.
|Nay||NV||D||Cortez Masto, Catherine||0.26917501554249723|
|Nay||MD||D||Van Hollen, Chris||0.22079226382909278|
|No Vote||DE||D||Carper, Thomas||0.30623226701062606|
|No Vote||DE||D||Coons, Christopher||0.2909330325414929|
|No Vote||CA||D||Feinstein, Dianne||0.16113394631872743|
|No Vote||VA||D||Warner, Mark||0.42489164303045085|
|No Vote||VT||I||Sanders, Bernie||0.0|
|No Vote||TX||R||Cruz, Ted||0.9039557432896693|
|No Vote||GA||R||Isakson, John||0.7849731380370779|
|No Vote||AL||R||Sessions, Jeff||0.7950648103974809|
Statistically Notable Votes
Statistically notable votes are the votes that are most surprising, or least predictable, given how other members of each voter’s party voted and other factors.
How well do you understand this vote? Use this study guide to find out.
You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page.
What was the procedure for this vote?
- What was this vote on?
Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.
What is your analysis of this vote?
- What trends do you see in this vote?
- How did your senators vote?
- How much of the United States population is represented by the yeas?
Members of Congress side together for many reasons beside being in the same political party, especially so for less prominent legislation or legislation specific to a certain region. What might have determined how the roll call came out in this case? Does it look like Members of Congress voted based on party, geography, or some other reason?
There are two votes here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your senators, which are meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your senators voted? Why do you think they voted the way they did?
If you don’t already know who your Members of Congress are you can find them by entering your address here.
GovTrack displays the percentage of the United States population represented by the yeas on some Senate votes just under the vote totals. We do this to highlight how the people of the United States are represented in the Senate. Since each state has two senators, but state populations vary significantly, the individuals living in each state have different Senate representation. For example, California’s population of near 40 million is given the same number of senators as Wyoming’s population of about 600,000.
Do the senators who voted yea represent a majority of the people of the United States? Does it matter?
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