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A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle. It can be used to call for attention or to punctuate rulings and proclamations and is a symbol of the authority and right to act officially in the capacity of a presiding officer.It is often struck against a sound block, a striking surface typically also made of hardwood, to enhance its sounding qualities. According to tradition, Vice President John Adams used a gavel as a call to order in the first U.S. Senate in New York in the spring of 1789. Since then, it has remained customary to tap the gavel against a lectern or desk to indicate the opening and closing of proceedings, and it is also used to keep the meeting itself calm and orderly.
In Medieval England, the word gavel could refer to a tribute or rent payment made with something other than cash. : gafol (meaning "tribute"). Gavel would be prefixed to any non-monetary payment given to a lord (for example: gavel-malt) and can be found as a prefix to other terms such as gavelkind , a system of partible inheritance formerly found in parts of the UK and Ireland. A gavel may also have referred to a kind of mason's tool, a setting maul that came into use as a way to maintain order in meetings.These agreements were set in English land-court with the sound of a gavel, a word which may come from the Old English
A gavel may be used in meetings of a deliberative assembly. According to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised , the gavel may be used to signify a recess or an adjournment.It may also be used to signify when a member makes a slight breach of the rules.
Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure states that, in addition to an optional light tap after a vote, there are three other uses of a gavel:
Improper uses include banging the gavel in an attempt to drown out a disorderly member.In this situation, the chair should give one vigorous tap at a time at intervals. Also, the chair should not lean on the gavel, juggle or toy with it, or use it to challenge or threaten or to emphasize remarks.
The chair should not be "gaveling through" a measure by cutting off members and quickly putting a question to a vote before any member can get the floor (in this connection, the chair should not use the gavel to improperly signify the end of consideration of a question).The expression passing the gavel signifies an orderly succession from one chair to another.
In addition to the use above during business meetings, organizations may use the gavel during their ceremonies and may specify the number of raps of the gavel corresponding to different actions.
The gavel is used in courts of law in the United States and, by metonymy, is used there to represent the entire judiciary system, especially of judgeship. On the other hand, in the Commonwealth of Nations and Republic of Ireland, gavels have never been used by judges, despite many American-influenced TV programmes depicting them.An exception is the Inner London Crown Court, where clerks use a gavel to alert parties in court of the entrance of the judge into the courtroom.
The unique gavel of the United States Senate has an hourglass shape and no handle. In 1954, the gavel that had been in use since at least 1834 (and possibly since 1789) broke when Vice President Richard Nixon used it during a heated debate on nuclear energy, despite silver plates that were added to strengthen it in 1952.The Senate was unable to obtain a piece of ivory large enough to replace the gavel, so they appealed to the Indian embassy. Later that year, India's Vice President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan visited the Senate and presented a replica of the original gavel to Nixon. The replica is still in use as of 2018.
The gavel of the House of Representatives, by contrast, is plain wood with a handle and is used more often and more forcefully than in the Senate. It has been broken and replaced many times.
In 1955 Icelandic sculptor Ríkarður Jónsson carved the Icelandic birch gavel and striking board used at the United Nations.
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal in the United States involving the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that led to Nixon's resignation. The scandal stemmed from the Nixon administration's continuous attempts to cover up its involvement in the June 17, 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Washington, D.C. Watergate Office Building. After the five perpetrators were arrested, the press and the U.S. Justice Department connected the cash found on them at the time to the Nixon re-election campaign committee. Further investigations, along with revelations during subsequent trials of the burglars, led the U.S. House of Representatives to grant its judiciary committee additional investigation authority to probe into "certain matters within its jurisdiction", and the U.S. Senate to create a special investigative committee. The resulting Senate Watergate hearings were broadcast "gavel-to-gavel" nationwide by PBS and aroused public interest. Witnesses testified that the president had approved plans to cover up administration involvement in the break-in, and that there was a voice-activated taping system in the Oval Office. Throughout the investigation, the administration resisted its probes, which led to a constitutional crisis.
Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, rules, and customs governing meetings and other operations of clubs, organizations, legislative bodies and other deliberative assemblies.
Robert Heron Bork was an American judge, government official, and legal scholar who served as the Solicitor General of the United States from 1973 to 1977. A professor at Yale Law School by occupation, he later served as a judge on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1982 to 1988. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the U.S. Senate rejected his nomination.
A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure, it is a debatable main motion that could be adopted by a majority vote. Among the forms that it can take are a stern rebuke by a legislature, a spiritual penalty imposed by a church, or a negative judgment pronounced on a theological proposition. It is usually non-binding, unlike a motion of no confidence.
The Seal of the United States Senate is the seal officially adopted by the United States Senate to authenticate certain official documents. Its design also sometimes serves as a sign and symbol of the Senate, appearing on its official flag among other places. The current version dates from 1886, and is the third seal design used by the Senate since its inception in 1789. The use of the seal is restricted by federal law and other regulations, and so is used sparingly, to the point that there are alternate, non-official seal designs more commonly seen in public.
In deliberative bodies a second to a proposed motion is an indication that there is at least one person besides the mover that is interested in seeing the motion come before the meeting. It does not necessarily indicate that the seconder favors the motion.
The United States Senate observes a number of traditions, some formal and some informal. Some of the current and former traditions are described below:
In parliamentary procedure, reconsideration of a motion may be done on a matter previously decided. The motion to "reconsider" is used for this purpose. This motion originated in the United States and is generally not used in parliaments. A special form of this motion is reconsider and enter on the minutes.
In parliamentary procedure, a motion to appeal from the decision of the chair is used to challenge a ruling of the chair.
In parliamentary procedure, a motion is a formal proposal by a member of a deliberative assembly that the assembly take certain action. Such motions, and the form they take, are specified by the deliberate assembly and/or a pre-agreed volume detailing parliamentary procedure, such as Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised; The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure; or Lord Critine's The ABC of Chairmanship. Motions are used in conducting business in almost all legislative bodies worldwide, and are used in meetings of many church vestries, corporate boards, and fraternal organizations.
In parliamentary procedure, a suspension of the rules allows a deliberative assembly to set aside its normal rules to do something that it could not do otherwise. However, there are rules that cannot be suspended.
In parliamentary procedure, a motion to postpone to a certain time is used to delay action on a pending question until a different day, meeting, hour or until after a certain event. Then, when that time comes, the consideration of the question is picked up where it was left off when it was postponed.
Debate in parliamentary procedure refers to discussion on the merits of a pending question; that is, whether it should or should not be agreed to. It is also commonly referred to as "discussion".
In a deliberative assembly, disciplinary procedures are used to punish members for violating the rules of the assembly.
In parliamentary procedure, requests and inquiries are motions used by members of a deliberative assembly to obtain information or to do or have something done that requires permission of the assembly. Except for a request to be excused from a duty, these requests and inquiries are not debatable nor amendable.
The history of parliamentary procedure refers to the origins and evolution of parliamentary law used by deliberative assemblies.
In parliamentary procedure, the verb to table has the opposite meaning in different countries:
Robert William Schroeder III is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
The prefix The Honourable, abbreviated to The Hon., Hon., or The Hon'ble, is an honorific style that is used before the names of certain classes of people.
Leonard Steven Grasz is an American lawyer and a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
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