Anna Sheffer
December 12, 2017 12:24 pm
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On December 12th, Alabama will vote on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ replacement in the Senate. And Republicans in the Senate have said that if the winner is Roy Moore, who is accused of sexual misconduct, they will remove him. But what will actually happen if Moore wins the election?

Moore has been accused of asking women on dates when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Two of these women have also said Moore sexually assaulted them. Moore has denied the charges, but the allegations have been a hot-button issue during the Alabama Senate race.

Although the Republican National Committee later reinstated its funding for Moore’s campaign, it initially revoked its support following the allegations. And other national Republicans have spoken out against Moore as well. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if Moore is elected he will face an immediate Ethics Committee investigation. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner has also demanded that Moore be expelled from the Senate if he wins. The notion of Moore’s removal is popular with the general public, too.

The Senate has only expelled 15 members in its history, and most of these Senators were removed for supporting the Confederacy in the Civil War. In order to expel Moore, two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote for his removal.

But even if Moore is elected and removed from office, he could still run again. After his expulsion, the seat would be vacant, and the Alabama governor would have to hold another special election. A new state law that is being voted on in January could change that, though: if this bill is passed, the Alabama governor would be able to fill vacant seats in Congress until the next general election.

But the Senate might not be able to remove Moore, anyway. The Constitution only says that members of Congress can be removed for “disorderly behavior” while they’re in office. In one case, the House of Representatives attempted to block a Representative from re-election when it was discovered his staff had made falsified payments. In the end, the Supreme Court ruled that the House’s move illegal.

The Alabama Senate race is looking too close to call. But even if Moore gets elected and doesn’t get removed, there are still ways you can protest him. We’ll be waiting to see how this election turns out and hoping that, in the end, the Senate makes the right decision.