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Congressman H. Morgan Griffith ‘83L Addresses Politics Class at W&L W&L Law graduate met with professor Brian Alexander’s Congress and the Legislative Process class to discuss Thomas Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice.

Emma-Smith-scaled-600x400 Congressman H. Morgan Griffith ‘83L Addresses Politics Class at W&LCongressman H. Morgan Griffith ‘83L and Emma Smith ‘23

Washington and Lee University students participating in Assistant Professor of Politics Brian Alexander’s POL234: Congress and the Legislative Process class welcomed Congressman H. Morgan Griffith ‘83L to campus on Nov. 14.

The class met in Leyburn Library’s Special Collections to discuss Alexander’s work on Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice, which was first published in 1801 while Jefferson was serving as vice president. The U.S. House of Representatives currently includes the 1801 edition of Jefferson’s Manual as part of the Rules and Precedent. However, Alexander’s research maintains that Congress should adopt the updated 1812 version to reflect Jefferson’s true intentions, honor the role of precedent, custom and rules in legislative proceedings, and enrich the institution of the U.S. Congress.

During his visit, Rep. Griffith addressed the importance of parliamentary procedure and Jefferson’s Manual in his experience in Virginia state government and in his current role in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Alexander hopes the Office of the Parliamentarian will ensure the updated language of Jefferson’s second edition is used for the 118th Congress, and he asked for Rep. Griffith’s support through the adoption of a resolution on the matter.

For the remainder of his visit, Rep. Griffith fielded questions regarding his political path and the current state of affairs in Congress. He also touched on the 2022 election and shared his thoughts on the 2024 presidential race as W&L prepares to host its 28th Mock Convention.

Griffith graduated from W&L law school in 1983 and returned to Southwest Virginia where he practiced law for nearly three decades. He was elected to represent Virginia’s Eighth District in the House of Delegates in 1993 before becoming the first Republican to hold the Majority Leader position in 2000.

In 2010, Griffith was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to serve Virginia’s Ninth District. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was recently reelected for his seventh Congressional term beginning in January 2023.

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