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VERIFY: High-profile Democrats are boycotting the State of the Union. Is that allowed?

Prompted by the posts of high-profile lawmakers, the #BoycottSOTU and #BoycottStateOfTheUnion hashtags are trending. Is it legal for members of Congress to skip?

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Question:

Are members of Congress allowed to boycott the State Of The Union?


Yes. The Constitution does not require any members of Congress to be in attendance of such a speech. In fact, the Constitution does not require the State of the Union at all. 


The Constitution -- Article II, Section 3

Gary Nordlinger -- Professor, Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University


Several Democrats in Congress announced that they plan on skipping the State of The Union, due to their opposition to President Donald Trump. 

That includes progressive newcomers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and longtime Democratic insiders like Maxine Waters. 

In response, the hashtags #BoycottSOTU and #BoycottStateOfTheUnion have been spreading on social media. 

Skipping the State of The Union is completely acceptable, according to Gary Nordlinger, a professor at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. 

"You don't have to go to the State of The Union at all," he said. 

In fact, Nordlinger said that the Constitution doesn't even require the speech at all. The Constitution only requires that the president sends an annual update on the "State of The Union" to Congress. 

Here's the full text of Article II, Section 3, which discusses the State of The Union:

"He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States." 

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