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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Robert's Rules and a Plea to Angela

Brian Miller wrote:
An individual sitting on the body cannot be ‘removed from the room’ unless he or she is also removed from the body through a 2/3 vote. [...]  LNC has one of two options — it can pass a resolution condemning Ms. Keaton (which she has full right to debate and participate within, including a vote, as a sitting member). Or, it can vote on expulsion, which requires a 2/3 vote of the committee. It may not ‘kinda expel’ a member.
RRONR pp. 626-628 discusses “Breaches of order by members in a meeting.”  It says in part:
A motion offered in a case of this kind can propose that the offender be required to make an apology, that he be censured, that he be required to leave the hall during the remainder of the meeting or until he is prepared to apologize, that his rights of membership be suspended for a time, or that he be expelled from the organization. The offending member can, by majority vote, be required to leave the hall during the consideration of his penalty, but he should be allowed to present his defense briefly first.
It’s arguably a breach of order to divulge information from an executive session in near-real-time (i.e. before the weekend’s meeting ends, and more executive sessions are possible).  The LNC Policy Manual excerpts at make it clear just how serious the LNC is about confidentiality of such sessions.
Miller also wrote:
As a finalist in the Northeastern Parliamentary Debate Society for several years in the mid and late 1990s, and a semifinalist in the world competition, I am quite familiar with Roberts’ Rules. [...] RR is not a difficult book. It’s about 90 pages long. Read the damn book and get to know it.
RRONR is 704 pages long.
Lots of people involved in this contretemps are shooting themselves in the foot, but as Chuck Moulton says, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are breaking a rule in some actionable way.  Libertarians, of all people, should know that not all ill-advised actions are (or should be) against the rules.
I don’t like Angela allegedly breaking executive session confidentially about contract discussions, but I tend to like the idea of LNC members live-blogging their meetings.  LP convention delegates are grownups who can decide for themselves whether to keep Angela on the LNC, and whether her commendable dedication to transparency outweighs public comments like this (at :

they need to put more effort into those displays if they want to be taken seriously. Not by me of course. I gave up months ago. The LP is hopeless.

Angela, please issue the narrowest and most succinct apology you can muster for this alleged breach of executive session confidentiality, and then stay on the LNC.  The LNC needs to keep hearing you speak for your constituents, and all of us members need to keep hearing your reports on what the LNC does.  If you want to give up on the LP, that’s fine, but those of us who haven’t given up think it would only hurt the Party if you accept the martyrdom that was offered to you.

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