Court Has Last Word on What Is Left Unsaid in Congress


Members of Congress don’t have to say what they mean, as long as they mean to say it, a federal appeals court ruled today.

With the ruling, the lawmakers’ 200-year-old practice of inserting into the Congressional Record speeches never delivered and statements never made remains safe.

“There is simply no First Amendment right to receive a verbatim transcript of the proceedings of Congress,” the three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said.

The case arose when Reps. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Manuel Lujan Jr. (R-N.M.) and Robert S. Walker (R-Pa.) filed a complaint, arguing that the Congressional Record is not a faithful transcript of what actually is said on the floor of the House and Senate.