On Feb. 4, the House voted largely on partisan lines to take Marjorie Taylor Greene off her assigned committees. The recently-elected congresswoman from Georgia has come under fire for her past social media comments and likes. Many on both the left and right have criticized Greene for referring to school shootings as false flags and for liking comments on Facebook that seem to call for violence against elected Democrats. In light of Greene’s comments, House Democrats, alongside 11 Republicans, voted to remove Greene from her committee positions. Regardless of the nature of Greene’s comments, which most can agree ought to be opposed, there are still several political issues regarding this recent vote that ought to be addressed.
Firstly, the action taken against Greene is arguably undemocratic. Why should a majority in the house be able to limit the power of Georgia’s 14th district? In addition to being undemocratic, the House’s action is also unjustified. Offensive statements and unpopular views should not be enough to warrant limiting one’s political participation. Removal from her committee assignments is effectively a form of partial impeachment, except that there is no explicit crime or charge. Regardless of how you feel about Greene’s comments, nobody is making the case that they are illegal. Outside of treason or a direct violation of our nation’s laws, the House has no right to decide who should be representing the people of Georgia and how they should carry out that duty.
However, the largest consequence of this recent development is arguably the future precedent being set. Committees have a large say in what legislation actually comes to the floor for a vote. With this in mind, what is to prevent future House majorities from limiting the power of additional representatives? Better yet, what is to prevent a Democrat or Republican majority from unilaterally removing every opposing party member from their committees? As the political divide in America continues to grow as a result of fundamentally-different moral priorities, intellectual debate is being replaced by Machiavellian political expediency. Greene’s political opposition only voted her off her committee spots based on her past controversy instead of actually challenging her political agenda. I see this move by Democrats as being in the same spirit as the calls to pack the Supreme Court or abolish the Electoral College. American democracy continues to hurtle closer to being entirely about getting and maintaining power, as opposed to centering on the principles of debate and civil discourse.