Nancy Pelosi's power broach: House Speaker wore a subtle yet resolute symbol of authority during Trump's State of the Union


Notice that rather large brooch on Speaker Pelosi’s lapel? If you’re wondering what that is, you’re not alone.

It is a representation of the Mace of the Republic, or the Mace of the US House of Representatives. The mace is modeled on an ancient weapon of the same name (think of an iron club).

House rules indicate that the speaker may direct the Sergeant at Arms to lift the mace and present it before an offender, to restore order to the House.

While history has no record that it has ever been used to actually club down the disorderly, it has been removed from its pedestal a dozen or more times and held in front of offending lawmakers by the House sergeant-at-arms. So great is the respect for it as a symbol of law and order that order was restored each time.

It was used twice in the 1890's in incidents involving Representative Charles L. Bartlett, a fiery Georgia Democrat who hurled a volume of laws at one colleague and brandished a knife at another.

House records indicate that the mace was last used to restore order during World War I when Representative J. Thomas (Cotton Tom) Heflin of Alabama, uncle of that state's current Senator, Howell Heflin, suggested that some of his colleagues had been unpatriotic in voting against a resolution to enter the war. —

At each daily session, the Sergeant at Arms carries the mace in procession, ahead of the speaker in to the rostrum. While the House is in session, the mace stands on a pedestal at the speaker's right hand. The mace is almost four feet in length and made of silver and 13 ebony rods (representing the original states in the union).

It’s the people’s house, and the people have entrusted it to Speaker Pelosi for this term. Along with it comes the power to maintain order in the House.

Wearing it was quite a statement wasn’t it?

h/t @southpaw and @txvoodoo

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