Trying to recall a member of Congress is an idea that has likely crossed the minds of voters in every congressional district in the United States at one time or another. The concept of buyer’s remorse applies just as fittingly to the choices we make in who represents us in Washington, D.C., as it does our decisions on which house to buy or which mate to marry.

But unlike mortgages and marriages, which can be severed, elections are permanent.

There is no way to recall a member of Congress before their terms end. Nor has there ever been. No United States Senator or member of the House of Representatives has been recalled by the electorate.

Americans are unable to remove an elected member of the House or Senate from office before their terms end because there is no recall mechanism set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

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Recall of Legislators and the Removal of Members of Congress from Office

As to removal by recall, the United States Constitution does not provide for nor authorize the recall of United States officers such as Senators, Representatives, or the President or Vice President, and thus no Member of Congress has ever been recalled in the history of the United States.

The recall of Members was considered during the time of the drafting of the federal Constitution in 1787, but no such provisions were included in the final version sent to the states for ratification, and the specific drafting and ratifying debates indicate an express understanding of the framers and ratifiers that no right or power to recall a Senator or Representative in Congress exists under the Constitution.

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