Call of the house
A call of the house is a motion
Motion (parliamentary procedure)
In parliamentary procedure, a motion is a formal proposal by a member of a deliberative assembly that the assembly take certain action. In a parliament, this is also called a parliamentary motion and includes legislative motions, budgetary motions, supplementary budgetary motions, and petitionary...

 which can be adopted by a deliberative assembly
Deliberative assembly
A deliberative assembly is an organization comprising members who use parliamentary procedure to make decisions. In a speech to the electorate at Bristol in 1774, Edmund Burke described the English Parliament as a "deliberative assembly," and the expression became the basic term for a body of...

 that has the authority to compel the attendance of its members in the absence of a quorum
A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly necessary to conduct the business of that group...

. The effect of the adoption of this motion is that the president
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 of the assembly makes out arrest warrant
Arrest warrant
An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by and on behalf of the state, which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual.-Canada:Arrest warrants are issued by a judge or justice of the peace under the Criminal Code of Canada....

s which authorize the sergeant-at-arms to arrest
An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation and prevention of crime and presenting into the criminal justice system or harm to oneself or others...

 any or all absent members and bring them to the meeting hall so that a quorum may be present. This motion is usually seen in houses of legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

s, such as the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...


The act of a group of legislators deliberately failing to attend a legislative voting session to prevent quorum is sometimes used in situations where a group of representatives wants to delay or prevent passage of a bill that is almost certain to pass, and the dissenting representatives are in the minority and would otherwise be unable to stop the bill through normal legistlative processes. This is discussed in more detail in the quorum
A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly necessary to conduct the business of that group...


In state legislatures of the United States, a call of the house can be evaded by quorum-busters by leaving their state. Entering a neighboring state places them outside the jurisdiction their own state's law enforcement, thus allowing them to prevent a quorum for as long as they are willing to remain away from home.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 the practice is in abeyance
Abeyance is a state of expectancy in respect of property, titles or office, when the right to them is not vested in any one person, but awaits the appearance or determination of the true owner. In law, the term abeyance can only be applied to such future estates as have not yet vested or possibly...

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