Newt Gingrich Received One Vote for Speaker of the House Today

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Newt Gingrich attends TIME's Person of the Year panel on November 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)
Got very excited for a minute today. Photo: Jemal Countess/2012 Getty Images

During a routine vote to reelect John Boehner as the Speaker of the House this afternoon, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert — of Terror Baby fame — made a surprise nomination of professional zoo-visitor Newt Gingrich. The Huffington Post reports that, not surprisingly, “no other lawmakers seconded his motion, so his bid went nowhere.” Nevertheless, Gohmert’s odd stunt does allow us the opportunity to revisit one of the many gratuitous quirks of our beloved Constitution: You don’t have to be a member of the House to serve as the Speaker of the House. The Constitution states that the “House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers.” And that’s all it says on the topic. It doesn’t even specify that the Speaker has to be a living person, actually. Ronald Reagan’s jar of jelly beans could probably become the Speaker if enough congressmen were on board. “Freedom” could be the Speaker.

Gingrich Receives Vote for House Speaker