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The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate each have a sergeant-at-arms, whose job it is to maintain order in the legislative chamber.

The sergeant-at-arms is responsible for maintaining order, providing security, and enforcing rules within legislative bodies, ensuring the safety and functioning of the political institution.

Origin of “Sergeant-at-Arms”

The position of sergeant-at-arms carries a long history and tradition, dating back to the early days of American democracy.

This role encompasses a range of duties, including law enforcement, ceremonial functions, and administrative responsibilities.

The role has evolved to adapt to the changing needs and challenges of the legislative process, security concerns, and technological advancements.

These individuals are appointed by their respective chambers and play a crucial role in the smooth operation of the legislative process.

The primary responsibilities of the congressional sergeant-at-arms include maintaining decorum during sessions, safeguarding the integrity of the institution, and providing security for members of Congress and the Capitol complex.

Law enforcement duties are a significant aspect of the sergeant-at-arms role.

They oversee the Capitol Police force and work closely with other law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of the legislative branch.

They coordinate efforts to protect members of Congress, staff, and visitors to Capitol Hill.

During major events, such as the State of the Union address or joint sessions of Congress, the sergeant-at-arms is responsible for maintaining order and security.

Additionally, the sergeant-at-arms has ceremonial duties, particularly during special occasions or important events.

In the Senate, the sergeant-at-arms can also be instructed to request the presence of senators if not enough senators are present to meet a quorum.

If the motion to instruct the sergeant-at-arms does not bring in enough senators, the sergeant-at-arms can be instructed to write arrest warrants for all absent senators and is then required to hunt them down and bring them to the floor.

The sergeant-at-arms is often a non-partisan position, focused on maintaining the integrity and functioning of the legislative body rather than participating in policy debates.

They are expected to carry out their duties in an impartial and non-political manner, ensuring fair treatment for all members of Congress regardless of their party affiliation.

Use of “Sergeant-at-Arms” in a sentence

  • The sergeant-at-arms entered the chamber, carrying the mace and signaling the official start of the session, maintaining the decorum and order of the legislative body.
  • During the contentious hearing, the sergeant-at-arms was called upon to remove a disruptive individual from the gallery, ensuring the security and uninterrupted proceedings.
  • As the Senate sergeant-at-arms, his responsibility included coordinating security measures for high-profile events, such as the presidential inauguration, to guarantee the safety of attendees and dignitaries.