7 January

The 143rd New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from 7 January to September 1920, during the second year of Al Smith’s governorship, in Albany. At this time there were two major political parties: the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The Socialist Party also nominated tickets.

The Legislature met for the regular session at the State Capitol in Albany on 7 January, 1920. Thaddeus C. Sweet (R) was re-elected Speaker. At the beginning of the session, the five Socialist assemblymen were suspended by Speaker Sweet, pending a trial before the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary to determine whether they were fit to take their seats. Charles Evans Hughes (Rep.) and Governor Al Smith (Dem.) condemned Speaker Sweet and the Republican majority for taking this course of action.

On 30 March, a majority of 7 members of the 13-member Judiciary Committee recommended the expulsion the five Socialists. Minority reports recommended the seating of all or part of the Socialist assemblymen. In the early morning of 1 April, the five Socialist assemblymen were expelled.

On 12 August, Gov. Al Smith called a special session of the Legislature for 20 September, and ordered special elections to be held on 16 September to fill the vacancies caused by the expulsion of the Socialist members. The session was called to consider the housing situation in New York City. On 16 September, all five Socialists were re-elected to the Assembly. The Legislature met for a special session at the State Capitol in Albany on 20 September, 1920.

On September 21, Claessens, Solomon and Waldman were again expelled, while DeWitt and Orr were permitted by a majority vote to take their seats. However, DeWitt and Orr resigned their seats in protest against the ouster of their three comrades.

Democracy in action – NOT!