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- A petition is circulating to let residents vote on whether to be able to recall a U.S. senator, but Utah hasn’t started recalling Mitt Romney.
- The U.S. Constitution “does not provide for nor authorize the recall of United States officers such as senators, representatives, or the president or vice president,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
After Sen. Mitt Romney voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, those unhappy with the Republican’s vote began sharing news of backlash in Romney’s home state.
"Utah OFFICIALLY starts RECALL for Mitt Romney.. 124k signatures in 1 hour!!" a Feb. 17 Facebook post says.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
It’s wrong. While there is a petition circulating to collect enough signatures to put an initiative on an upcoming ballot that would give voters the ability to recall their senators, the state of Utah has not started a recall of Romney, as this post claims.
Another hurdle is that there isn’t a formal way to recall U.S. senators. The U.S. Constitution "does not provide for nor authorize the recall of United States officers such as senators, representatives, or the president or vice president," according to the Congressional Research Service. "No member of Congress has ever been recalled in the history of the United States."
Though this hasn’t been tested at the Supreme Court, other judicial decisions support that the right to remove a senator lies in Congress, which can impeach and expel its members, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Since 1789, the Senate has expelled 15 members. In 1797, for example, Sen. William Blount of Tennessee was impeached by the House on charges of conspiring to help Great Britain seize Spanish-controlled territories in what is now Florida and Louisiana, but the Senate expelled him before his trial.
In 2020, after Romney voted to convicted Trump during his first impeachment trial, a state representative in Utah filed a bill to allow voters to recall their U.S. senators. But state House and Senate leaders worried about the bill’s constitutionality, and the House Speaker decided not to consider the legislation for a vote.
While a petition is now circulating in Utah that seeks to collect enough signatures to put a similar initiative on an upcoming ballot, this Facebook post gets it wrong: the state has not — and does not have the ability to — recall its junior senator.
We rate it False.
Facebook post, Feb. 17, 2021
Mitt Romney statement on impeachment vote, Feb. 13, 2021
U.S. Senate, Expulsion, visited Feb. 22, 2021
U.S. Senate, Impeachment, visited Feb. 22, 2021
Congressional Research Service, Recall of legislators and the removal of members of Congress from office, March 20, 2003
U.S. House of Representatives, List of individuals impeached by the House of Representatives, visited Feb. 22, 2021
H.B. 217 Recall of United States Senator, 2020
Deseret News, Trouble ahead for Utah bills to recall or censure Sen. Mitt Romney, Feb. 7, 2020
NBC News, Utah lawmakers halt efforts to recall, censure Romney over Trump impeachment vote, Feb. 12, 2020
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