Can a convicted felon be elected to and serve in the US Congress? The suicide doctor, Jack Kevorkian's bid to office prompted this question.
#96999. Asked by truefaithmom. (Jun 26 08 12:26 PM)
"The issue of whether one is permitted to run for and hold office in the House of Representatives either after a felony conviction, and/or while incarcerated in prison, specifically involves a question of the qualifications, or disqualifications, to be a Representative in Congress. There are three, and only three “positive” qualifications for Representative in Congress set out in the United States Constitution: (1) age (25 years); (2) citizenship (7 years); and (3) inhabitancy (one must be an “inhabitant” of the State from which chosen “when elected”). It is now well-settled that these three qualifications for office in the Constitution are the exclusive qualifications for Congress (and are not merely “minimum” qualifications), and that they are fixed and may not be supplemented by Congress nor by any State unilaterally. Specifically, there is no qualification in the Constitution that one not be a convicted felon (nor a “disqualification” for offenses other than in the 14th Amendment for certain treasonous conduct by those who have taken an oath of office). Similarly, there is no qualification in the Constitution that a person, when
elected to Congress, not be in prison. Furthermore, no State could permissibly implement such additional qualifications for federal office through election laws or ballot procedures. The Framers of the Constitution intentionally implemented a representative scheme whereby significant discretion is given and deference provided to the judgment and choice of the people as to whom they wish to have
represent them in Congress. In this respect, the adage of the French political philosopher Joseph de Maistre might apply: “Every nation has the government it deserves.”
"Congressional Candidacy, Incarceration, and the Constitution’s Inhabitancy Qualification"
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