Definition of Lame Duck Session

What is a "lame duck session"? What is the definition of the term "lame duck session"?

First off, before we define the term "lame duck session", let's define the term "lame duck".

A "lame duck" is an elected official who remains in office after his successor has already been elected. The dictionary also defines a "lame duck" as a disabled or helpless person or thing.

Definition of Lame Duck SessionFor instance, John Smith is sits on the University of Fakeschool Board of Trustees. There is an election, and a new slate of members are voted in. These members are scheduled to take their seats on January 3rd. In the time between the election and January 3rd, John Smith is considered to be a "lame duck" because he is still technically on the Fakeschool Board of Trustees, but he will not be continuing after January 3rd.

Now - a "lame duck session" of Congress occurs in the time between an election and when the next Congressional term begins.

For instance, the most recent midterm elections took place in early November. The 112th United States Congress will begin on January 3rd, 2011. So, the time between early November and January 3rd, 2011 (which will be the tail end of the 111th United States Congress) will officially be known as a "lame duck session".

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