The term “sine die” is a Latin phrase that literally means “without a day” or “without setting a day.”
In politics, it is used to signify the end of a legislative session without a specific date being set for the next session.
In the legislature
In most legislative bodies, sessions are typically scheduled to last for a certain period of time, after which they will adjourn either sine die or to a specific date in the future.
When a session adjourns sine die, it means that no date has been set for the next session, and the legislature is effectively in recess until further notice.
Sine die adjournments are common at the end of a legislative session, as they give lawmakers time to return to their districts, campaign for reelection, or take care of other business.
In some cases, a sine die adjournment may also be used to allow time for negotiations or discussions on key issues that have not yet been resolved.
However, sine die adjournments can also create uncertainty and confusion, as they leave open the possibility of lawmakers being called back to the Capitol on short notice.
In some cases, sine die adjournments may also be used as a tactic by the majority party to prevent the minority party from being able to introduce or vote on legislation.
In the United States, sine die adjournments are most commonly used at the end of a legislative session in Congress.
The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to determine the length of its sessions, and sine die adjournments are a common way to end a session without setting a specific date for the next one.
PBS explains why this is such an important day to lawmakers and why they often work until the very last minute of the day to pass bills.
Use of “Sine Die” in a sentence
- The legislature adjourned sine die, meaning that no date has been set for the next session.
- The opposition party accused the majority of using the sine die adjournment as a tactic to prevent them from introducing legislation.
- The sine die adjournment allowed lawmakers to return to their districts and campaign for reelection before the next session.
Taegan Goddard is the creator of the Political Dictionary.
Goddard spent more than a decade on Wall Street as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he also served as a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won – Now What?: How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House, a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties.
His essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University.
He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.