I’m sure most of you are familiar with the idea of Robert’s Rules of Order. They are used by countless civic organizations for meetings. What is surprising to me, after looking into this a bit, is that there is almost no academic writing about them. It’s surprising because: (a) they probably wield significant influence over what many folks think about deliberative assemblies; (b) they must reflect a broader understanding about how democracy should work; and (c) I don’t know why they became the gold standard.
I raise this question in part because of something curious in the rules of the Republican National Convention. The Convention’s default rules are from the House of Representatives. Convention committee’s, though, use Robert’s Rules of Order. Why are they different? And how do those differences matter? Hard to say, as I don’t know enough about the details of Robert’s Rules.