U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Dunn Republican, spoke on the House floor Thursday on her second day on the job. She was among dozens of House members from both parties who took turns reading part of the U.S. Constitution aloud Thursday morning on the House floor.
Her time lasted just 30 seconds. Her remarks, in their entirety:
“…or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
So what was she reading? Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which established citizenship rights for former slaves and detailed rules of representation following the Civil War. Section 3 prohibited lawmakers from serving in Congress or their state governments if they had been part of the insurrection, unless they received a waiver from Congress.
Also joining the reading of the Constitution on the House floor Thursday were Democratic Reps. Mel Watt of Charlotte and David Price of Chapel Hill.
Watt, formerly a lawyer in a civil rights firm, read from the 14th Amendment:
“…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, now deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
There was a smattering of applause as he left the podium.
Price, formerly a political scientist, read a few moments earlier, from the 12th Amendment. That amendment set up electors to vote for the president.