Can an Expelled Senator Run for Re-Election?

can an expelled senator be re-elected

Getty Cory Booker risks Senate expulsion after releasing confidential documents to the public regarding Brett Kavanaugh.

Cory Booker, the senator for New Jersey and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee currently conducting the confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, currently faces risk of expulsion from the Senate after releasing confidential documents pertaining to Kavanaugh to the public.

In order for Booker to be expelled from the Senate, 2/3 of the Senate would have to vote in favor of expulsion. This is pretty unlikely, given that this would require 15 Democrats to vote in favor- but it’s not impossible.

Booker has been considered a 2020 prospect and a rising star in the Democratic party. So if he’s expelled from the Senate for what many are calling a “heroic” act, could he run for election again?

Here’s what you need to know.

The Precedent for Senate Expulsion

Article I, Section 5, of the United States Constitution reads, “Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.”

However, there is very little precedent for Senate expulsion: only 15 members of the Senate have been expelled since 1789. To put it in further perspective, no one has been forcefully expelled from the Senate since the Civil War.

However, there is no specific wording in the Constitution or any subsequent documents that would prevent a Senator from running for reelection after expulsion: it’s just never happened before.

If Faced With Expulsion, Booker Could Opt for Resignation Instead

Several senators have chosen to resign when faced with recommendations or threats of expulsion in past years, especially during the Civil War era. None of those senators opted for reelection, but there’s nothing that explicitly says a previously resigned senator can’t run once more.

However, given that Booker said explicitly, “I understand that the penalty [of releasing confidential documents] comes with potential ousting from the Senate,” it seems unlikely that Booker would resign. Rather, the most likely outcome would probably be Booker relying on his fellow Democrats to vote against expulsion.

Democrats Are Already Voicing Their Support for Booker, With the Hashtag #IStandWithBooker

Many Democratic senators have begun to voice their support for Booker already, in addition to several other influential individuals.

It seems highly unlikely that 15 Democrats would be willing to vote in favor of Booker’s expulsion, especially at this point of tension over the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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