Call of the house

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A call of the house is a motion which can be adopted by a deliberative assembly that has the authority to compel the attendance of its members in the absence of a quorum.[1] The effect of the adoption of this motion is that the president of the assembly makes out arrest warrants which authorize the sergeant-at-arms to arrest any or all absent members and bring them to the meeting hall so that a quorum may be present. This motion is usually seen in houses of legislatures, such as the United States Senate.

The act of a group of legislators deliberately failing to attend a legislative voting session to prevent quorum is sometimes used in situations where a group of representatives wants to delay or prevent passage of a bill that is almost certain to pass, and the dissenting representatives are in the minority and would otherwise be unable to stop the bill through normal legislative processes. This is discussed in more detail in the quorum article.

In state legislatures of the United States, a call of the house can be evaded by quorum-busters by leaving their state. Entering a neighboring state places them outside the jurisdiction of their own state's law enforcement, thus allowing them to prevent a quorum for as long as they are willing to remain away from home.

In the United Kingdom, the practice is in abeyance.[2]

See also[edit]

  • Quorum call — a procedure to summon or count a quorum, occasionally as a precursor to a call of the house


  1. ^ Robert, Henry M. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed., p. 350
  2. ^