National Constitution and Bylaws

Official
The National Constitution of THE AMERICAN LEGION as set out herein, is in
full force and effect and represents action taken by National Conventions,
being the Constitution adopted at the First Annual Convention, Minneapolis,
Minn., Nov. 10-12, 1919, and as amended at the Second Annual Convention,
Cleveland, Oh., Sept. 27-29, 1920; Fourth Annual Convention, New Orleans,
La., Oct. 16-20, 1922; Fifth Annual Convention, San Francisco, Calif., Oct.
15-19, 1923; Sixth Annual Convention, St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 15-19, 1924;
Seventh Annual Convention, Omaha, Nebr., Oct. 5-9, 1925; Ninth Annual
Convention, Paris, France, Sept. 19-22, and Ratification Convention, New
York N.Y., Oct. 19-22, 1927; Twelfth Annual Convention, Boston, Mass., Oct.
6-9, 1930; Fifteenth Annual Convention, Chicago, Ill., Oct. 2-5, 1933;
Nineteenth Annual Convention, New York, N.Y., Sept. 20-23, 1937;
Twentieth Annual Convention, Los Angeles, Calif., Sept. 19-22, 1938;
Twenty-first Annual Convention, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 25-28, 1939; Twenty-second
Annual Convention, Boston, Mass., Sept. 23-26, 1940; Twenty-third
Annual Convention, Milwaukee, Wis., Sept.18, 1941; Twenty-fourth Annual
Convention, Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 19-21, 1942; Twenty-fifth Annual
Convention, Omaha, Neb., Sept. 21-23, 1943; Twenty-seventh Annual
Convention, Chicago, Ill., Nov. 18-21, 1945; Twenty-eighth Annual
Convention, San Francisco, Calif., Sept. 30-Oct. 1-4, 1946; Twenty-ninth
Annual Convention, New York, N.Y., Aug. 28-31, 1947; Thirtieth Annual
Convention, Miami, Fla., Oct. 18-21, 1948; Thirty-first Annual Convention,
Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 1949; Thirty-second Annual Convention,
Los Angeles, Calif., Oct. 9-12, 1950; Thirty-third Annual Convention, Miami,
Fla., Oct. 15-18, 1951; Thirty-fourth Annual Convention, New York, N.Y.,
Aug. 25-28, 1952; Thirty-sixth Annual Convention, Washington, D.C.,
Aug.30-Sept. 2, 1954; Thirty-seventh Annual Convention, Miami, Fla. Oct.
10-13, 1955; Thirty-eighth Annual Convention, Los Angeles, Calif., Sept. 3-6,
1956; Fortieth Annual Convention, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 1-4, 1958; Fortysecond
Annual Convention, Miami Beach, Fla., Oct. 17-20, 1960; Fortyeighth
Annual Convention, Washington, D.C., Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 1966; Fiftysecond
Annual Convention, Portland, Ore., Sept. 1-3, 1970; Fifty-fourth
Annual Convention, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 22-24, 1972; Fifty-fifth Annual
Convention, Honolulu, Hi., Aug. 21-23, 1973; Fifty-sixth Annual Convention,
Miami Beach, Fla., Aug. 20-22, 1974; Fifty-eighth Annual Convention,
Seattle, Wash., Aug. 24-26, 1976; Fifty-ninth Annual Convention, Denver,
Colo., Aug. 23-25, 1977; Sixty-first Annual Convention, Houston, Tex., Aug.
21-23, 1979; Sixty-ninth Annual Convention, San Antonio, Tex., Aug. 25-27,
1987; Seventy-second Annual Convention, Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 28-30,
1990; Seventy-third Annual Convention, Phoenix, Arizona, Sept. 3-5, 1991;
the Seventy-seventh Annual Convention, Indianapolis, Ind., Sept. 4-6, 1995;
Seventy-ninth Annual Convention, Orlando, Fla., Sept. 2-4, 1997; Eightysecond
Annual Convention, Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 5-7, 2000; and reiterated
at the Eighty-third Annual Convention, Charlotte, NC, Aug. 27-29, 2002; (as
found in italic print).
The By-Laws as adopted at the Fourth Annual Convention, New Orleans,
La., Oct. 16-20, 1922, and as amended at the Fifth Annual Convention, San
Francisco, Calif., Oct. 15-19, 1923; Sixth Annual Convention, St. Paul, Minn.,
Sept. 15-19, 1924; Eleventh Annual Convention, Louisville, Ky., Sept. 30-
Oct. 1, 2, 3, 1929; Fifteenth Annual Convention, Chicago, Ill., Oct. 2-5,
1933; Nineteenth Annual Convention, New York, N.Y., Sept. 20-23, 1937;
Twentieth Annual Convention, Los Angeles, Calif., Sept. 19-22, 1938;
Twenty-first Annual Convention, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 25-28, 1939; Twentysecond
Annual Convention, Boston, Mass., Sept. 23-26, 1940; Twenty-third
Annual Convention, Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 15-18, 1941; Twenty-seventh
Annual convention, Chicago, Ill., Nov. 18-21, 1945; Twenty-ninth Annual
Convention, New York, N.Y., Aug. 28-31, 1947; Thirtieth Annual Convention,
Miami, Fla., Oct. 18-21, 1948; Thirty-first Annual convention, Philadelphia,
Pa., Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 1949; Thirty-third Annual Convention, Miami, Fla., Oct.
15-18, 1951; Thirty-fourth Annual Convention, New York, N.Y., Aug. 25-28,
1952; Thirty-ninth Annual Convention, Atlantic City, N.J., Sept. 16-19, 1957;
Fifty-second Annual Convention, Portland, Ore., Sept. 1-3, 1970; Fifty-eighth
Annual Convention, Seattle, Wash., August 24-26, 1976; and Fifty-ninth
Annual Convention, Denver, Colo., Aug. 23-25, 1977.
Robert W.
Spanogle, National Adjutant

CONSTITUTION of THE AMERICAN LEGION
PREAMBLE

For God and Country, we associate ourselves together for the following
purposes: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of
America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one
hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of
our associations in the Great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual
obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of
both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to
promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to
Posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate
and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

ARTICLE I
NAME

Section 1. The name of this organization shall be THE AMERICAN LEGION.
Section 2. The National Headquarters of THE AMERICAN LEGION shall be
located at the site of the Indiana World War Memorial in the city of
Indianapolis, Indiana.
ARTICLE II
NATURE

Section 1. THE AMERICAN LEGION is a civilian organization; membership
therein does not affect nor increase liability for military or police service.
Rank does not exist in the Legion; no member shall be addressed by his
military or naval title in any convention or meeting of the Legion.
Section 2. THE AMERICAN LEGION shall be absolutely nonpolitical and shall
not be used for the dissemination of partisan principles nor for the promotion
of the candidacy of any person seeking public office or preferment.
ARTICLE III
ORGANIZATION

Section 1. THE AMERICAN LEGION shall be organized in Departments and
these in turn in Posts. There shall be one Department in each state, in the
District of Columbia, and there may be one Department in each territory and
insular possessions of the United States. The National Executive Committee
may establish Posts in the territorial and insular possessions of the United
States and foreign countries, and shall designate the Department under
whose jurisdiction they shall function, but this shall in no way affect the
status of Departments already established.
ARTICLE IV
ELIGIBILITY

Section 1. Any person shall be eligible for membership in THE AMERICAN
LEGION who was a member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or
Air Force of the United States and assigned to active duty at some time
during any of the following periods: April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918;
December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946; June 25, 1950, to January 31,
1955; February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975; August 24, 1982, to July 31,
1984; December 20, 1989, to January 31, 1990; August 2, 1990, to the date
of cessation of hostilities as determined by the Government of the United
States; all dates inclusive, or who, being a citizen of the United States at the
time of his entry therein, served on active duty in the armed forces of any of
the Governments associated with the United States during any of said
periods; provided, however, that such service shall have been terminated by
honorable discharge or honorable separation, or continued honorably after
any of said periods; provided, further, that no person shall be entitled to
membership who, being in such service during any of said periods, refused
on conscientious, political or other grounds to subject himself to military
discipline or unqualified service. *
Section 2. There shall be no form or class of membership except an active
membership, and dues shall be paid annually or for life.
Section 3. No person may be a member at any one time of more than one
Post.
Section 4. No person, who has been expelled by a Post, shall be admitted
to membership in another Post without the consent of the expelling Post,
except that where such consent has been asked for and denied by such Post,
he may then appeal to the Executive Committee of the Department of the
expelling Post for permission to be admitted to membership in another Post,
and shall be ineligible for membership until such permission is granted.
* Appendix following National By-Laws, carries amended sections of
the National Charter of The American Legion.
ARTICLE V
NATIONAL CONVENTION

Section 1. The legislative body of THE AMERICAN LEGION shall be the
National Convention, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution and
By-Laws.
Section 2. The time and place of the National Conventions shall be
determined by the National Executive Committee, which shall have authority
to change such time and place for sufficient reasons to it appearing.
Section 3. In the National Convention each Department shall be entitled
to five delegates and one additional delegate for each one thousand
members, or major fraction thereof, whose current dues have been received
by the National Treasurer 30 days prior to the meeting of said convention,
and whose registration fees, as fixed by the National Executive Committee,
for its total authorized delegate strength, have been paid; and to one
alternate for each delegate. The delegates shall be chosen not less than two
weeks before the National Convention at Department Conventions or in any
other manner specified by any Department Constitution.
Section 4. Each duly registered delegate shall be entitled to one vote.
The vote of any registered delegate absent and not represented by an
alternate shall be cast by the majority of the registered delegates present
from his Department. Alternates for registered delegates shall have all the
privileges of registered delegates, except that of voting. A registered
delegate is one who has received his credentials after his registration fee has
been paid.
Section 5. A quorum shall exist at a National Convention when sixty
percent of the Departments are represented as provided above.
Section 6. The National Executive Committee shall provide a Uniform
Code of Procedure for the orderly organization and operation of National
Conventions with continuing power of revision, and said Code shall be
applicable at all National Conventions unless it is amended, suspended, or
repealed by a majority vote of the total authorized representation at a
National Convention.
ARTICLE VI
NATIONAL OFFICERS

Section 1. The National Convention shall elect a National Commander, and
five National Vice Commanders, who shall serve without seniority. No two
Vice Commanders shall be chosen from the same Department. No persons
shall be eligible for re-election to the office of National Commander or
National Vice Commander.
Section 2. Such officers shall serve until the adjournment of the
succeeding National Convention following their election and thereafter until
their successors are chosen. Vacancies in these offices occurring between
National Conventions shall be filled by election by the National Executive
Committee, and any member of THE AMERICAN LEGION, in good standing, shall
be eligible for election to such vacancy. Provided, however, that no Past
National Commander, or Past National Vice Commander shall be elected to
fill any vacancy in these respective offices.
Section 3. The National Executive Committee at its first meeting following
the National Convention shall appoint the National Adjutant, National
Treasurer, National Judge Advocate, National Chaplain, and National
Historian, such officers to hold office at the pleasure of the appointing power.
All persons having the custody of funds shall give adequate bonds, which
shall be approved by the National Executive Committee.
Section 4. All Past National Commanders, while in good standing in their
respective Posts, shall be members for life of the National Executive
Committee, without vote, and shall also be life delegates to all National
Conventions of THE AMERICAN LEGION, with vote, to be exercised by them
with their respective Departments.
ARTICLE VII
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section 1. Between National Conventions, the administrative power shall
be vested in the National Executive Committee, which shall be composed of
the National Commander, the National Vice Commanders, and one National
Executive Committeeman and one alternate from each Department to be
elected as such Department shall determine, the alternate to act only in the
absence of the National Executive Committeeman.
Section 2. The term of office of such National Executive Committeemen
and alternates shall be two years. The term of office of each National
Executive Committeeman and alternate shall commence immediately upon
the adjournment of the National Convention next ensuing after their election
and shall end at the adjournment of the second next succeeding annual
National Convention.
Section 3. Members of the National Executive Committee shall be
delegates to the National Convention with vote, which vote shall be exercised
with their respective Departments, except that the vote of the National
Commander shall be exercised only in his capacity as chairman of the
National Convention.
ARTICLE VIII
DEPARTMENT ORGANIZATION

Section 1. Departments shall be chartered by the National Executive
Committee and shall be composed of the Posts within their respective areas,
and such other Posts as the National Executive Committee may approve.
Each Department charter shall be signed by the National Commander and
National Adjutant.
Section 2. Each Department shall have a Department Commander, one or
more Department Vice Commanders, a Department Adjutant and a
Department Executive Committee, and may have a Chaplain and such other
officers as the Department shall determine.
Section 3. Departments shall have authority to create intermediate bodies
between the Posts and Department to act as a liaison between such
organizations and for the purpose of promoting the programs of THE AMERICAN
LEGION.
Section 4. The Department Executive Committee shall define the powers
of such intermediate groups, but in no event shall such powers invade the
prerogatives now vested either in the Post or Department or National
Organization.
Section 5. Such intermediate bodies now existing within the Departments
and heretofore authorized or recognized by such Department are hereby
officially recognized to the extent of the powers herein granted.
ARTICLE IX
POST ORGANIZATION

Section 1. Those who desire to form a Post shall make application for a
temporary charter to the Commander of the Department in which they
reside. The temporary charter shall be issued by the National Commander
and National Adjutant upon receipt of the application properly executed by
the charter members of the projected Post, but only when such application is
approved by the Commander of the Department or by the Department
Executive Committee.
Section 2. The minimum membership of a Post shall be determined by the
Executive Committee of the Department in whose area it lies.
Section 3. No Post shall be named after any living person.
Section 4. A temporary charter shall be granted and shall state that it is
granted on the recommendation of the Department and on the following
terms and conditions:
1. All acts heretofore duly and properly taken for the formation of the
above named Post are recognized and confirmed by the National Executive
Committee.
2. The above named Post shall uphold the declared principles of THE
AMERICAN LEGION and shall conform to and abide by the regulations and
decisions of the Department and of the National Executive Committee, or
other duly constituted national governing body of THE AMERICAN LEGION.
3. This charter is subject to revocation by the National Executive
Committee on the recommendation of the Department, or by such authority
that may hereafter be established by the National Convention.
Section 5. After a temporary charter has been in effect for a probationary
period of at least ninety days, application for a permanent charter may be
made. Such probationary period shall not exceed one year upon the
termination of which the Department shall determine whether or not a
permanent charter shall be issued or denied and the action of the
Department shall be final.
Section 6. All charters shall be countersigned by the Commander and the
Adjutant of the Department.
Section 7. Each Department may prescribe the Constitution of its Posts.
Permanent charters may be suspended, cancelled or revoked by the
Department Executive Committee as provided in the By-Laws.
ARTICLE X
FINANCE

Section 1. The revenue of THE AMERICAN LEGION shall be derived from
annual membership dues and from such other sources as may be approved
by the National Executive Committee.
Section 2. The amount of such annual dues shall be determined by each
National Convention for the ensuing year.
Section 3. The annual dues shall be collected by each Post and
transmitted promptly through the Department to the National Treasurer.
Departments are designated agents for collection for THE AMERICAN LEGION
with respect to such annual dues and upon the receipt thereof shall remit
them promptly to THE AMERICAN LEGION. In no event shall the period
transpiring between the receipt of such annual dues by a Department and the
remittance thereof to THE AMERICAN LEGION exceed thirty (30) days.
Section 4. Annual dues shall be payable October 20 of each year, for the
succeeding calendar year.
ARTICLE XI
DISCIPLINE

Section 1. The National Executive Committee, after notice and a hearing
before a subcommittee as hereinafter provided, may cancel, suspend or
revoke the charter of a Department for any good and sufficient cause to it
appearing.
Section 2. The National Executive Committee may designate, appoint and
authorize a subcommittee to hear and try and make written findings of fact
and recommendations with reference to the matter of the cancellation,
suspension or revocation of the charter of any Department of THE AMERICAN
LEGION after said Department shall have received due and proper notice of
said hearing and trial. Said subcommittee shall make its written findings and
recommendations to the National Executive Committee for its approval or
rejection, and the action of said National Executive Committee upon such
findings and recommendations shall be final and conclusive.
Section 3. The hearing and trial of any cause involving the cancellation,
suspension, or revocation of the charter of any Department in THE AMERICAN
LEGION shall be had and held under rules of procedure to be adopted by the
National Executive Committee.
Section 4. Upon suspension of the charter of any Department of THE
AMERICAN LEGION, the National Executive Committee is authorized,
empowered and directed, by and through its duly authorized agents, to take
possession, custody and control of all of the records, property and assets of
and belonging to such Department, and to provide for the government and
administration of such Department during said suspension.
Section 5. Upon cancellation or revocation of the charter of any
Department of THE AMERICAN LEGION, the National Executive Committee is
authorized, empowered and directed, by and through its duly authorized
agents, to take possession, custody and control of all of the records, property
and assets of such Department, and to take all necessary and proper steps
and proceedings to conclude and close the affairs of such Department, and
said National Executive Committee may provide for such continued
recognition and activities of Posts in said Departments as it may deem
proper.
ARTICLE XII
CHANGE OF RESIDENCE

Section 1. Any member in good standing in a Post removing from his
Department shall be entitled to a certificate from his Post stating his
membership and the duration thereof.
ARTICLE XIII
AUXILIARIES

Section 1. THE AMERICAN LEGION recognizes an auxiliary organization,
known as the American Legion Auxiliary.
Section 2. Membership in the American Legion Auxiliary shall be limited to
the mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, granddaughters, greatgranddaughters
and grandmothers of members of THE AMERICAN LEGION, and
to the mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, granddaughters, greatgranddaughters
and grandmothers of all men and women who were in the
Armed Forces of the United States during any of the following periods: April
6, 1917, to November 11, 1918; December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946;
June 25, 1950, to January 31, 1955; February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975;
August 24, 1982, to July 31, 1984; December 20, 1989, to January 31,
1990; August 2, 1990, to the date of cessation of hostilities as determined by
the Government of the United States; all dates inclusive, or who, being
citizens of the United States at the time of their entry therein, served on
active duty in the Armed Forces of any of the governments associated with
the United States during any of said periods, and died in the line of duty or
after honorable discharge; and to those women who of their own right are
eligible for membership in THE AMERICAN LEGION.
Section 3. The Auxiliary shall be governed in each Department of THE
AMERICAN LEGION by such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the
National Executive Committee and thereafter approved by such Department
of THE AMERICAN LEGION.
ARTICLE XIV
RATIFICATION

Section 1. All acts performed and charters heretofore granted by the
temporary organization to THE AMERICAN LEGION are hereby ratified and
confirmed.
ARTICLE XV
AMENDMENTS

Section 1. The Constitution may be amended at any National Convention
by a vote of two-thirds of the total authorized representation thereat,
provided that the proposed amendment shall have been submitted through
the National Adjutant to the several Departments and members of the
National Executive Committee by mailing same to them at least twenty (20)
days prior to the convening of the next National Convention; any such
proposed amendment may be amended without further notice by a twothirds
vote of the total authorized representation thereat, provided it does
not increase the modification proposed by the amendment and it has
received the approval of the Convention Committee on Constitutional
Amendments; and, provided further, it may be amended by unanimous vote
at any National Convention without notice.
Section 2. That no proposed amendment shall be submitted through the
National Adjutant to the several Departments and members of the National
Executive Committee, as provided in Section 1 of this article, unless said
proposed amendment shall have been first submitted by a Department
Convention, Department Executive Committee, or the National Executive
Committee.
ARTICLE XVI
NATIONAL INCORPORATION

This Constitution is adopted conformably to the Act of Congress of the
United States of America of September 16, 1919, and all amendatory acts
thereto.
ARTICLE XVII
In the event the Congress of the United States shall amend the eligibility
clause in the Act creating THE AMERICAN LEGION, this Constitution shall be
deemed amended in conformance therewith, but subject to all consistent
limitations and restrictions in this Constitution contained.
BY-LAWS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION
ARTICLE I
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section 1. In case of death, resignation or removal by his respective
Department of any National Executive Committeeman or alternate to the
National Executive Committee, the successor shall be selected as such
Department shall determine and shall serve for the remainder of such
unexpired term.
Section 2. The National Executive Committee shall meet within twentyfour
hours before and after each National Convention and within forty-five
days following its adjournment, provided however, that the National
Commander shall have authority to extend said forty-five-day period for
sufficient reasons to him appearing, upon approval by the National Executive
Committee, and in May of each year. Special meetings may be held upon
reasonable notice at the call of the National Commander. The National
Commander shall call a meeting of the National Executive Committee upon
the written request of National Executive Committeemen from fifteen or
more Departments.
Section 3. Twenty-five members shall constitute a quorum of the National
Executive Committee.
Section 4. The National Commander shall name such committees as he
shall deem advisable, subject to ratification by the National Executive
Committee at its next meeting succeeding the appointment.
Section 5. The National Executive Committee shall appoint, upon
nomination by the National Commander, a National Finance Commission to
be composed of seven (7) members. Of the seven members appointed
following the National Convention (1945) at which this amendment is
adopted, two shall be appointed to serve for a term of one year, two shall be
appointed to serve for a term of two years, and three shall be appointed to
serve for a term of three years; thereafter each succeeding appointee shall
serve for a term of three years or until removed by the majority vote of the
National Executive Committee. The National Commander and the National
Treasurer shall be ex officio members of said commission and the National
Adjutant shall be ex officio secretary of the said commission. The National
Finance Commission shall be charged with the preparation of the yearly
budget and the handling of funds under that budget, and such other duties
as shall be prescribed by the National Executive Committee, subject to the
approval of the National Executive Committee.
Section 6. There shall be the following standing commissions: National
Americanism Commission, National Commission on Children and Youth,
National Convention Commission, National Economic Commission, National
Finance Commission, National Foreign Relations Commission, National
Internal Affairs Commission, National Legislative Commission, The American
Legion Magazine Commission, National Public Relations Commission, National
Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission, National Security
Commission. The commissions shall consist of such number of members of
THE AMERICAN LEGION as the National Executive Committee may from time to
time determine. Appointments to such commissions shall be made by the
National Executive Committee upon nomination by the National Commander.
The National Executive Committee is empowered to assign duties and
responsibilities to all standing commissions and committees and to group
standing committees with commissions for the purpose of efficient
supervision and coordination of activities.
Section 7. The National Executive Committee shall provide for the
appointment and employment of such subordinate officers and employees as
may be needed for the administration of the affairs of THE AMERICAN LEGION,
and prescribe their duties and emoluments.
Section 8. All questions affecting the election, eligibility and conduct of
national officers shall be referred to and determined by the National
Executive Committee. All questions affecting the election, eligibility and
conduct of the National Executive Committeeman from any Department, or of
Department officers, or members of Department Executive Committees, shall
be referred to and determined by the Executive Committee of the
Department involved, which shall be the final authority thereon.
ARTICLE II
DUTIES OF OFFICERS

Section 1. NATIONAL COMMANDER: The National Commander shall be the
executive head of THE AMERICAN LEGION with full power to enforce the
provisions of the National Constitution, National By-Laws, and the will of the
National Convention. He shall be the chairman of the National Convention
and the National Executive Committee. He shall perform such other duties as
are usually incident to the office.
Section 2. NATIONAL VICE COMMANDERS: The National Vice Commanders
shall act as representatives of the National Commander on all matters
referred to them by him, and shall, on his request, preside over the meetings
of the National Convention or National Executive Committee, and perform
such other duties as are usually incident to the office.
Section 3. NATIONAL ADJUTANT: The National Adjutant shall be charged with
the administration of the policies and mandates of the National Convention,
the National Executive Committee, and of the National Commander. He shall
perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office. He shall also
be authorized, in event of the death or resignation of the National
Commander, to summon the National Executive Committee for the election
of a successor, and in event the National Adjutant shall fail, refuse or
neglect, within fifteen days after said death or resignation, to issue a call for
said meeting of the National Executive Committee to be held within thirty
days after said death or resignation, then said meeting for the purpose of
electing a successor may be held upon the written demand therefore signed
by representatives from fifteen or more Departments, giving fifteen days’
notice thereof.
Section 4. NATIONAL TREASURER: The National Treasurer shall be the
custodian of the funds of the National Organization. He shall sign all checks
disbursing the funds of the National Organization, and shall make reports
upon the condition of the national treasury when called for by the National
Commander. The National Treasurer shall furnish a surety bond as
hereinafter prescribed. He shall perform such other duties as are usually
incident to the office.
Section 5. NATIONAL JUDGE ADVOCATE: The National Judge Advocate shall
advise the national officers and the National Executive Committee on all legal
matters, including the construction and interpretation of the National
Constitution and By-Laws, and shall perform such other duties as are usually
incident to the office.
Section 6. NATIONAL CHAPLAIN: The National Chaplain shall perform such
divine and nonsectarian services as may be necessary, adhering to such
ceremonial rituals as may be recommended by National Headquarters from
time to time.
Section 7. NATIONAL HISTORIAN: The National Historian shall collect from
year to year all records and data of value and interest for the National
Headquarters of THE AMERICAN LEGION, and shall compile during his term of
office a complete history of the year’s activities. He shall also assist
Department and Post historians so as to coordinate and unify the work of
these officials, and shall have such other duties as the National Executive
Committee shall prescribe.
ARTICLE III
CHARTERS

Section 1. The Department Executive Committee may suspend, cancel or
revoke a Post Charter. The action taken by the Department Executive
Committee shall be final and conclusive unless an appeal is taken to the
National Executive Committee within thirty days from the date of said
suspension, cancellation or revocation. The action taken by the National
Executive Committee upon appeal shall be final.
Section 2. Any Post failing to meet the obligations imposed upon it by the
Constitution and By-Laws, or ceasing to function for six months as an
American Legion Post, or voluntarily ceasing to function as a Post, or merging
with one or more other Posts, or refusing to pay the Department and
National per capita dues, or under such other conditions as might make such
action necessary shall, upon order of the Department Executive Committee,
surrender its charter for cancellation. Upon failure to surrender such charter,
immediate steps may be taken for its revocation, suspension or cancellation.
Section 3. Upon revocation, cancellation or suspension of the charter of a
Post in any Department of THE AMERICAN LEGION, said Post shall immediately
cease operations and upon revocation or cancellation shall turn over its
charter to its Department Commander or Department Executive Committee,
and the Department Executive Committee is authorized, empowered and
directed by and through its duly authorized agent to take possession,
custody and control of all the records, property and assets of said Post;
provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed as requiring any
Department to take over or assume any financial responsibility as to such
property. Said Department Executive Committee may provide for the
transfer of the members in said Post to other Posts of their choice, subject to
the approval of such other Post.
Section 4. The National Executive Committee shall provide a uniform code
defining the procedure to be followed in the revocation, cancellation or
suspension of Post charters and providing for a method of appeal and further
providing a code of procedure for the revocation, cancellation or suspension
of Department charters with continuing power to revise said code, provided,
however, that the procedure now in effect shall continue until such code is so
adopted.
ARTICLE IV
DISCIPLINE OF POST AND POST MEMBERS

Section 1. Each Post of THE AMERICAN LEGION shall be the judge of its own
membership, subject to the restrictions of the Constitution and By-Laws,
except that no person who is a member of an organization which has for its
aim the overthrow of the United States Government by force or violence, or
who subscribes to the principles of any group opposed to our form of
government, shall be eligible to become or remain a member of THE AMERICAN
LEGION.
Section 2. Members may be suspended or expelled from the Legion only
upon a proper showing of cause. Charges shall be based upon disloyalty,
neglect of duty, dishonesty and conduct unbecoming a member of THE
AMERICAN LEGION. All charges must be made under oath in writing by the
accusers, and no member in good standing shall lose his membership until
given a fair trial by the Post or Department in such manner and form as the
Department By-Laws and Department Executive Committee shall prescribe.
Section 3. Any member who has been suspended or expelled has the right
of appeal to his Department Executive Committee, or to the Department
Convention, according to the provisions in the By-Laws of such Department.
The decision of the Department shall be final.
Section 4. A member whose dues for the current year have not been paid
by January first shall be classed as delinquent. If his dues are paid on or
before February first, he shall be automatically reinstated. If he is still
delinquent after February first, he shall be suspended from all privileges. If
he is still under such suspension on June thirtieth of such year, his
membership in THE AMERICAN LEGION shall be forfeited. A member so
suspended or whose membership has been so forfeited may be reinstated to
active membership in good standing by vote of the Post and payment of
current dues for the year in which the reinstatement occurs. Provided,
however, that the Posts, Departments and the National Organization may
waive the provisions hereof, upon payment of dues for the year in which
reinstatement occurs, with reference to former members who have been
prevented from the payment of dues by reason of active military service.
ARTICLE V
MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Membership in THE AMERICAN LEGION is membership in the
National Organization of THE AMERICAN LEGION by affiliation with Posts.
ARTICLE VI
MONIES AND COLLECTIONS

Section 1. All National, Department and Post officials handling THE
AMERICAN LEGION monies shall be properly bonded with a good and solvent
bonding and surety company, as surety, to cover double the average amount
of money handled in a single year. In case of delinquencies in the payments
of amounts due Department or National Headquarters, action shall be taken
at once by the proper officials to bring about a speedy and complete
settlement. The bonds provided by national officials shall be approved by the
National Judge Advocate and the National Executive Committee, and those
provided by the Department officials shall be approved by the Department
Judge Advocate and the Department Executive Committee, and those
provided by the Post officials shall be approved by the Post Legal Officer and
the Post Executive Committee, or such other official or officials as the
Department may designate.
Section 2. National Headquarters shall, should it be deemed advisable,
detail special auditors to investigate the membership roll and financial
statement of any Department, and should that Department so desire, assist
in a similar audit of Posts within that Department.
ARTICLE VII
TRANSFER OF POSTS

Section 1. Posts of THE AMERICAN LEGION formed within units of the Army,
Navy, Marine Corps or other organizations liable to transfer from one place to
another, and which are organized under the Department in which they are
then located, may transfer to another Department in a manner similar to the
transfer of individuals from one Post to another.
Section 2. Any existing Post in the territorial or insular possession of the
United States or in foreign countries, which is not under the jurisdiction of a
present existing Department, shall within one year following the adoption
hereof, unless extended by the National Executive Committee, request the
National Executive Committee to place it under the jurisdiction of a
Department to be selected by such Post. Said request shall have attached
thereto the formal consent of such Department. Should a Post fail or refuse
to make such request or be unable to obtain the consent of a Department,
then the National Executive Committee shall designate the Department.
ARTICLE VIII
AMENDMENTS

Section 1. These By-Laws may be amended at any National Convention by
a vote of two-thirds of the total authorized representation thereat, provided
that the proposed amendment shall have been submitted through the
National Adjutant to the several Departments and members of the National
Executive Committee by mailing same to them at least twenty (20) days
prior to the convening of the next National Convention; any such proposed
amendment may be amended without further notice by a two-thirds vote of
the total authorized representation thereat, provided it does not increase the
modification proposed by the amendment and it has received the approval of
the Convention Committee on Constitutional Amendments; and, provided
further, it may be amended by unanimous vote at any National Convention
without notice.
Section 2. That no proposed amendment shall be submitted through the
National Adjutant to the several Departments and members of the National
Executive Committee, as provided in Section 1 of this article, unless said
proposed amendment shall have been first submitted by a Department
Convention, Department Executive Committee, or the National Executive
Committee.
APPENDIX TO THE CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
Amendments to the Charter of THE AMERICAN LEGION enacted by Congress,
October 29, 1942, Public Act 767; July 9, 1946, Public Act 495; December
28, 1950, Public Act 895; June 26, 1953, Public Act 80; July 26, 1955, Public
Act 178; September 1, 1966, Public Act 89-550; December 27, 1974, Public
Act 93-557; August 17, 1978, Public Act 95-346; December 21, 1979, Public
Act 96-155; October 30, 1990, Public Act 101-478; December 3, 1991, Public
Act 102-179; November 20, 1997, Public Act 105-110; August 12, 1998,
Public Act 105-225; November 3, 1998, Public Act 105-354; December 2,
2002, Public Act 107-309.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That section 3 of the Act entitled
“An Act to Incorporate THE AMERICAN LEGION,” approved September 16, 1919
(41 Stat. 285, Title 36, U.S.C., Sec. 43, amended to Title 36, U.S.C., Sec.
21702), is hereby further amended to read as follows:
ORIGINAL SECTION
Sec. 3. That the purpose of the corporation shall be: To promote peace
and good will among the peoples of the United States and all the nations of
the earth; to preserve the memories and incidents of the Great War of 1917-
1918; to cement the ties of love and comradeship born of service; and to
consecrate the efforts of its members to mutual helpfulness and service to
their country.
AMENDED SECTION
“Sec. 21702. That the purpose of this corporation shall be: To uphold and
defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to promote peace
and good will among the peoples of the United States and all the nations of
the earth; to preserve the memories and incidents of the two World Wars
and the other great hostilities fought to uphold democracy; to cement the
ties and comradeship born of service; and to consecrate the efforts of its
members to mutual helpfulness and service to their country.”
That section 5 of such Act of September 16, 1919 (41 Stat. 285, Title 36,
U.S.C., Sec. 45, amended to Title 36, U.S.C., Sec. 21703) is hereby further
amended to read as follows:
ORIGINAL SECTION
Sec. 5. That no person shall be a member of this corporation unless he
served in the naval or military service of the United States at some time
during the period between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, both dates
inclusive, or who, being citizens of the United States at the time of
enlistment, served in the military or naval services of any of the
governments associated with the United States during the Great War.
AMENDED SECTION
“Sec.21703. That no person shall be a member of this corporation unless
such person has served in the naval or military services of the United States
at some time during any of the following periods: April 6, 1917, to November
11, 1918; December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946; June 25, 1950, to
January 31, 1955; February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975; August 24, 1982, to
July 31, 1984; December 20, 1989, to January 31, 1990; August 2, 1990, to
the date of cessation of hostilities as determined by the Government of the
United States; all dates inclusive, or who, being a citizen of the United States
at the time of entry therein, served in the military or naval service of any of
the governments associated with the United States during said wars or
hostilities: Provided, however, that such person shall have an honorable
discharge or separation from such service or continues to serve honorably
during or after any of the aforesaid terminal dates.”
Uniform Code of Procedure for the Revocation,
Cancellation or Suspension of
Post Charters
(Adopted by the National Executive Committee of THE AMERICAN
LEGION May 1-2, 1941,
Indianapolis, Ind. Amended by that body November 6-7, 1941)
I. Charges
Section 1. A charge that any Post should, for any good and sufficient
cause, have its charter cancelled, suspended or revoked may be initiated by
any intermediate body between the Post and the Department, or by any
three Posts of the Department in which the Post accused is located. A charge
may be withdrawn only with the consent of the Department Commander.
Sec. 2. Such charge shall be filed with the Department Commander at
Department Headquarters.
Sec. 3. Such charge shall be in writing, and signed by the respective
Commanders and Adjutants of the intermediate bodies or Posts, as the case
may be, and sworn to before any officer authorized to administer oaths.
Sec. 4. Three additional copies of such charge shall be filed with the
original. The Department Commander shall forthwith cause one copy of such
charge to be served on the defendant Post by delivering a true copy thereof
to the Adjutant of said Post, as hereinafter provided.
Sec. 5. Such charge shall include the following:
a. A certified or attested copy of the resolution authorizing the filing of
such charge.
b. The full name and address of the Post against which the charge is
made, as well as the full name and address of the Commander and
Adjutant of such Post.
c. A clear, concise and detailed statement of the facts upon which the
charge is based.
d. The section or sections of the National and Department Constitutions
and By-Laws alleged to
have been violated.
e. Affidavits or documents substantiating the charge may be attached.
Sec. 6. After a charge has been filed, the Department Commander shall
forthwith cause a full investigation of the facts to be made. After such
investigation, the Department Commander shall file a report and
recommendation with the Department Executive Committee for its action
thereon at its next meeting.
Sec. 7. Proceedings relating to the cancellation, suspension or revocation
of a Post charter may also originate with either the Department Commander
or the Department Executive Committee.
Sec. 8. The action of the Department Executive Committee in rejecting
any charge or charges against a Post shall be final.
II. Resolution of Department Executive Committee
Section 1. Should the Department Executive Committee determine by a
majority vote that the Post should surrender its charter, said Department
Executive Committee shall direct the defendant Post to surrender its charter
for cancellation, and shall pass a resolution that unless the charter is so
surrendered, prior to the date therein specified, a hearing and trial be held to
determine whether the Post charter should be cancelled, suspended or
revoked, and said resolution shall include the following:
a. A statement that the Department Executive Committee has
determined that a hearing and trial is warranted.
b. Authorization and direction to the Department Commander and
Department Adjutant to sign a formal complaint.
c. The names and addresses of the members of the subcommittee before
which the hearing and the trial is to be held.
d. The name and address of the Department Judge Advocate or special
acting Department Judge
Advocate who is to assist the committee.
e. Authorization to the subcommittee to hire such stenographic or other
help as may be necessary and to incur such expense as may be
necessary. Said expense, including the cost of stenographic report of the
trial when ordered to be transcribed by the subcommittee or the
Department Executive Committee, shall be taxed as costs against the
Department, complainants or defendant Post in such manner and amount
as the Department Executive Committee shall prescribe.
f. That the subcommittee shall report its written findings of fact and
recommendation to the Department Executive Committee at its next
meeting, provided, however, that if the hearing or trial is not completed,
a partial report shall be made.
III. Complaint
Section 1. In all cases, a formal complaint, in triplicate, shall be drawn by
the Department Judge Advocate and signed by The American Legion, through
its Department Commander and Department Adjutant, setting forth the
following:
a. A clear and concise statement of the facts upon which the charges are
predicted.
b. The origin of the charges.
c. A copy of the resolution of the Department Executive Committee
appointing the subcommittee and its assistants.
d. A copy of the Uniform Code of Procedure for the Revocation,
Cancellation or Suspension of Post Charters.
e. The time within which an appearance or answer shall be filed by the
Post, which shall be not less than 20 or more than 60 days from the date
of the service of a copy of the complaint.
f. The time and place for the hearing and trial, which shall not be more
than 30 days after the date of the expiration of the time for the filing of the
answer.
Sec. 2. Any such complaint may be amended by the subcommittee of the
Department Executive Committee in its discretion at any time upon such
terms as may be deemed just in the opinion of the said subcommittee.
IV. Service
Section 1. The subcommittee shall cause a true copy of the complaint to
be served on the defendant Post.
Sec. 2. All complaints, orders and other process and papers of the
subcommittee or the Department organization of THE AMERICAN LEGION may
be served personally, or by registered mail, or by leaving a copy thereof at
the principle office or Headquarters of the intermediate body or Post, or place
of residence of the person or officer to be served. The verified return by the
individual serving the same showing service thereof in the manner herein
provided, or the registry return receipt shall be proof of service.
Sec. 3. All notices, orders, papers or other process which are to be
served on the Department Headquarters of THE AMERICAN LEGION, or the
subcommittee appointed to conduct the trial, shall be deemed served if they
are served on the Department Adjutant at Department Headquarters, said
service to be made as herein above provided.
Sec. 4. Witnesses may be summoned by a notice signed by either the
special acting Department Judge Advocate, the Department Judge Advocate,
or by a member of the subcommittee.
V. Answer
Section 1. The defendant Post shall file an answer to said complaint with
the Department Judge Advocate at Department Headquarters within the time
specified in the complaint. The answer shall contain a clear and concise
statement of the facts which constitute its defense. Any charge or
specification in the complaint which is not expressly denied or explained in
the answer shall be deemed to be admitted.
Sec. 2. In the event that the complaint is amended during the course of
the hearing or trial, the defendant shall be furnished with a copy of such
amendment, and may file an amended answer to the said amended
complaint within five days thereafter.
VI. Subcommittee
Section 1. The subcommittee to hear and try and make written findings
of fact and recommendations with reference to the matter of the cancellation,
suspension or revocation of the Post charter shall be appointed by the
Department Executive Committee and shall consist of not less than three (3)
members of the Department Executive Committee. No member of the Post
under investigation shall be a member of such subcommittee.
Sec. 2. Should no member of the subcommittee be a lawyer, opinions on
questions of law may be obtained from the Department Judge Advocate.
Sec. 3. A majority of the members of the subcommittee shall constitute a
quorum. If for any reason there is less than a quorum, the hearing shall be
adjourned until a quorum is present.
Sec. 4. The duties of the Department Judge Advocate or special acting
Department Judge Advocate shall be to see that the trial is prompt, complete
and thorough, make all arrangements for the hearings, the summoning of all
witnesses and the production of all papers. He shall see that all the orders of
the subcommittee shall be carried out. He shall examine and cross-examine
all witnesses.
VII. Hearing and Trial
Section 1. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law and equity
shall not be controlling. The subcommittee shall decide all questions arising
as to relevancy of the evidence and the regularity of the proceedings.
Sec. 2. The subcommittee may hold its hearings in closed sessions or
may open them to the public. The subcommittee shall hear witnesses on
oath or affirmation.
Sec. 3. Any party to the proceeding shall have the right to appear at such
hearing in person, by counsel or otherwise, subject to such reasonable
restrictions as may be placed on this right by the subcommittee, and to
examine and cross-examine witnesses and to introduce documentary or
other evidence.
Sec. 4. Stipulations of fact may be introduced in evidence with respect to
any issues.
Sec. 5. Objection to the conduct of the hearing shall be stated orally
together with a short statement of the grounds of such objection and
included in the stenographic report of the hearing.
Sec. 6. Any party to the proceedings shall be entitled to a reasonable
period at the close of the hearing for oral argument, which shall not be
included in the stenographic report of the hearing. Briefs may be filed by the
parties within the time fixed by the subcommittee.
Sec. 7. In the discretion of the subcommittee, the hearings may be
continued from day to day, or adjourned to a later date, or to a different
place by announcement thereof at the hearing by the chairman or vicechairman
of the subcommittee or by other appropriate notices.
Sec. 8. A stenographic report of the trial shall be made.
VIII. Report of Subcommittee
Section 1. The subcommittee, after it has completed its hearings, shall
file the complete report of the proceedings had upon the trial, together with
its written findings of fact and recommendations with reference thereto with
the Department Adjutant not less than five (5) days before the next meeting
of the Department Executive Committee, all of which shall be open to the
inspection of all members of the Department Executive Committee, as well as
representative or representatives of the defendant Post.
Sec. 2. The Department Executive Committee shall consider said report
and act thereon.
Sec. 3. At the Department Executive Committee meeting at which the
report of the said subcommittee is to be considered, one representative of
the defendant Post may, within the discretion of the Department Executive
Committee, be given the privilege of the floor for not more than one hour.
Sec. 4. Should the subcommittee’s report be a partial report, the
Department Executive Committee may continue the committee and authorize
it to hold further hearings and present its final report at the next meeting of
the Department Executive Committee.
IX. Appeal
Section 1. Should the Department Executive Committee refuse to cancel,
suspend or revoke the charter of the Post, such decision shall be final and no
appeal can be taken there from.
Sec. 2. Should the Department Executive Committee, upon a report of its
subcommittee, cancel, suspend or revoke the charter of the defendant Post,
the defendant Post and the National Adjutant shall be notified by the
Department Adjutant of the decision of the Department Executive
Committee, which notice shall be mailed within five (5) days after such
decision has been rendered. Should the defendant Post desire to appeal
from the decision of the Department Executive Committee, it shall serve its
notice of appeal, signed by the Post Commander and Post Adjutant, on the
Department Adjutant at Department Headquarters within thirty (30) days
from the date of said suspension, cancellation or revocation.
Sec. 3. Upon receipt of said notice of appeal, the Department
Commander shall immediately notify the National Commander of such appeal
and shall cause the Department Judge Advocate, or acting Department Judge
Advocate, and the subcommittee to submit all the papers and the complete
record of the hearings to the National Commander. Upon receipt of the
notice of appeal, the National Commander shall appoint a subcommittee of
not more than five (5) nor less than three (3) members of the National
Executive Committee for the purpose of hearing the appeal from the action of
the Department Executive Committee.
Sec. 4. The National Executive Committeeman, or alternate, from the
Department of which the defendant Post is a part, shall not be eligible to
serve on this committee.
Sec. 5. This subcommittee of the National Executive Committee shall
meet at least one day prior to the meeting of the National Executive
Committee and to this committee the National Commander shall refer the
complete record, in writing, of said proceedings with such exceptions thereto
as are made by the defendant Post.
Sec. 6. This subcommittee may make its recommendations merely from
the records, or it may permit representatives of the Department or the
defendant Post to appear and argue the matter before the committee, and it
may, as such hearing of such appeal, take further evidence relating thereto
under such rules and conditions as it may from time to time adopt.
Sec. 7. This subcommittee shall review the cause and recommend to the
National Executive Committee the action to be taken thereon.
Sec. 8. The decision of the National Executive Committee, based upon
the report of this subcommittee, shall be final and there shall be no appeal
there from.
Sec. 9. The cost of the proceeding may be retaxed as the National
Executive Committee shall deem just and equitable.
Practice and Procedure in the Expulsion or
Suspension of a
Member of The American
Legion
(May be revised and changed by subsequent action of the National Executive
Committee.)
National Judge Advocate’s Note
Many Departments and Posts of The American Legion have failed to adopt
a method of practice and procedure on the suspension or expulsion of a
member. The following is not mandatory upon any Post or Department, but
is submitted only as a guide or form to follow. It is approved by the National
Executive Committee.
A.
Section 2 of Article IV of the By-Laws of The American Legion is as
follows:
“Members may be suspended or expelled from the Legion only upon a
proper showing of cause. Charges shall be based upon disloyalty, neglect of
duty, dishonesty and conduct unbecoming a member of The American
Legion. All charges must be made under oath in writing by the accusers, and
no member in good standing shall lose his membership until given a fair trial
in such manner and form as the Department by-laws and Department
Executive Committee shall prescribe.”
I. Process
The first process in all actions of expulsion or suspension against a
member of The American Legion in good standing shall be by filing with the
adjutant of the Post written charges in triplicate, properly verified by affidavit
of the accuser or accusers.
II. Writ—When Returnable When Written Charges Are Filed
The adjutant shall issue a writ dated upon the day it shall be issued and
sign it, directed to the sergeant-at-arms (or some other member of the Post
in good standing), commanding that person to summon the accused to
appear at the Post meeting place at the next regular meeting (providing 15
days have intervened), to show cause why he should not be suspended or
expelled (as the case may be).
III. Service—Return
It shall be the duty of the sergeant-at-arms, or the member appointed, to
serve the writ so issued, by reading it to the accused and at the same time
delivering to the member a verified copy of the charges filed. The person
serving the writ shall endorse upon said writ the time and manner of serving
it and immediately thereafter file the same with the Post adjutant.
IV. Alias Writ
Whenever it shall appear by the return that the accused is not found
fifteen (15) days, or more, previous to the regular Post meeting, the
adjutant, at the request of the accuser, shall issue another writ and so on
until service is had.
V. Failure to Make Return
If the sergeant-at-arms, or the member to who a summons is delivered,
shall neglect or refuse to make return of same within the time required in
Paragraph 4, another summons shall be issued, directed to some other
member in good standing for service as herein above set forth.
VI. Service by Publication
Whenever the accuser shall file with the adjutant of the Post in which the
charges are pending, an affidavit showing the accused has gone out of the
state or on due inquiry cannot be found or is concealed within the state so
that process cannot be served upon the intended, and stating the place of
residence of such accused, if known, or that upon diligent inquiry the place of
residence cannot be ascertained, the adjutant of the Post shall cause
publication to be made in the county where the Post is located and if there be
no newspapers published in said county, then in the nearest newspaper
published in the state containing notice of the pendency of such charges
before said Post, the names of the accused and the accuser, and the time
and place of the hearing of said charges. Within two days of the first
publication of such notice, the adjutant of said Post shall send a copy thereof
by mail addressed to the accused if the place of residence is stated in said
affidavit; said notice shall be published at least once each week for three
successive weeks.
VII. Charges
The accuser or accusers must be members of the same Post as the
accused and shall set forth the charges of disloyalty, neglect of duty,
dishonesty and conduct unbecoming a member of The American Legion in
terms of simplicity and understanding in order the accused may properly
prepare a defense.
VIII. Accused to Enter His/Her Appearance in Writing
Before the accused defends in his/her own proper person, or through
counsel, he/she shall enter an appearance by filing an answer to said charges
on or before the date of the regular meeting to which the accused has been
summoned to appear.
IX. Failure to Answer
If the accused fails to answer the charges, in manner and form as herein
last set forth, the charges and matters and things therein stated shall be
taken as confessed and the prayer for expulsion or suspension granted.
X. Date of Trial
Whenever the accused enters an appearance by filing an answer to the
charges preferred, the entire proceedings shall automatically be continued
until the next regular Post meeting, at which time the trial shall be had.
XI. Continuance
Either party may apply for a continuance before the day set for trial,
however, it shall be accompanied by a written motion, supported by affidavit
of the party so applying. Good and substantial cause must exist before said
motion is granted. The presiding judge advocate shall pass on said motion.
XII. Trial—Post Judge Advocate to Preside
The Post judge advocate shall preside at the trial, and shall have the
power and authority to pass upon the materiality and relevancy of all the
evidence presented, and shall have general power to prescribe the necessary
and reasonable rules and regulations for the orderly procedure of said trial.
XIII. Post Judge Advocate Vacancy
In case of death, removal, vacancy, resignation or disability of the Post
judge advocate, it shall be the duty of the Department commander, when
duly notified by the Post adjutant, to appoint a special judge advocate in the
Department to fill the vacancy. Such special judge advocate so appointed
shall have the authority, right and powers of a duly elected Post judge
advocate. The Post shall bear the expenses of any special judge advocate.
XIV. Post Officers and Executive Committee to Act as Jurors
The Post officers and the Post executive committee are hereby selected as
jurors to ascertain under the guidance of the judge advocate the truth of the
charges preferred. Their province is strictly limited to questions of fact, and
within that province they are still further restricted to the exclusive
consideration of the matters that have been proven by evidence of the
interested parties in the course of the trial. Their decision shall be reduced
to writing and filed with the Post adjutant, who, in turn, shall enter the same
in the Post records.
XV. Causes of Challenge
If any Post officer or any member of the executive committee, or any
other member selected as a juror, shall state he/she cannot fairly and
impartially render a verdict therein in accordance with the evidence, and the
presiding judge advocate shall be satisfied of the truth of such statement,
said member or members shall be challenged for cause.
XVI. Peremptory Challenge
Each party shall be entitled to challenge of two jurors without showing
cause for such challenge.
XVII. When a Post Has No Executive Committee
When a Post has no executive committee, the presiding judge advocate
shall direct the sergeant-at-arms to summon five members of the Post to sit
as jurors in their place.
XVIII. Duty of Sergeant-at-Arms
If any member is challenged peremptorily or for cause, or if any Post
officer or member of the Executive Committee shall be absent from said trial,
the presiding judge advocate shall direct the sergeant-at-arms to summon a
sufficient number of members of the Post to sit as jurors in their place.
XIX. If Sergeant-at-Arms Not Present, etc.
If the sergeant-at-arms is not present at said trial or upon objection of
either party to the cause to the sergeant-at-arms summoning a sufficient
number to fill the vacancies, the presiding judge advocate shall appoint a
special sergeant-at-arms to summon the necessary persons to act as jurors.
XX. Members Insufficient to Fill Panel
When the membership of the Post, through cause or otherwise, is
insufficient in number to make a full panel for jury service, the trial shall be
continued until the next regular Post meeting. The Post adjutant, within five
(5) days thereafter, shall transmit such information to the Department
commander, who shall, before the next regular meeting of the Post, cause
the sergeant-at-arms of said Post to summon a sufficient number of
members of The American Legion from the body of the county in which the
Post is located to fill the vacancies.
XXI. Amendments
At any time before a final decision is made by the jury upon the trial of a
member upon expulsion or suspension, amendments may be allowed by the
presiding judge advocate upon such terms as are just and reasonable.
XXII. Number Necessary to Expel or Suspend
To expel or suspend a member of The American Legion in good standing,
two-thirds of the members selected to sit as jurors shall vote in the
affirmative.
B.
Section 3 of Article IV of the By-Laws of The American Legion is as
follows:
“Any member who has been suspended or expelled has the right of appeal
to his Department Executive Committee, or to the Department convention,
according to the provisions in the by-laws of such Department. The decision
of the Department shall be final.”
I. Time for Appeal
Within forty (40) days after judgment of expulsion or suspension is made
and recorded, the accused ONLY may take an appeal in manner and form as
set forth in Section 3 of Article IV of the By-Laws last mentioned.
II. Stenographic Report
Either party demanding a stenographic report of the trial shall pay for the
same, and when said report is completed, it shall be the duty of the presiding
judge advocate, on appeal, to examine the same and if correct, officially
certify to the correctness of such report, and the same shall be immediately
filed with the Department adjutant, who, in turn, shall present the same to
the Department Executive Committee or the Department convention officials,
according to the by-laws of such Department. All matters and things
contained in such stenographic report shall become a part of the record and
shall be considered in the final decision by the Department. In addition to
the stenographic report, all interested parties shall have the further right of
appearing in person, or by counsel, and present further evidence and
arguments upon such final hearing.
III. Notice by Department Adjutant Upon Request
When an appeal is taken by accused, in compliance with Section 3 of
Article IV of the By-Laws of The American Legion, it shall be the duty of the
accused to obtain from the Department adjutant the date of the Executive
Committee meeting or Department convention and the exact time and place
of such hearing on appeal. This notice should be given if possible at least ten
(10) days before the meeting or convention.
IV. Appeal—Department Judge Advocate to Preside
Upon appeal the Department judge advocate shall preside at the trial, and
shall have the power and authority to grant a continuance to either party if
deemed for the best interest of the Legion; to pass upon the materiality and
relevancy of all the evidence presented and shall have general power to
prescribe the necessary and reasonable rules and regulations for the orderly
procedure of said trial.
V. No Further Appeal
The decision reached by the Department Executive Committee or
Department convention shall be final.
VI. Effect of Decision
Where an appeal is taken by the accused and the Department Executive
Committee or Department convention sustains the appeal, the expelled
member automatically becomes a member in good standing of said Post, and
it is mandatory the adjutant reinstate said member upon the Post
membership roll. Any Post failing to comply with this provision is subject to
having its charter suspended or revoked.
C.
Section 4 of Article IV of the National Constitution of The American Legion
is as follows:
“No person who has been expelled by a Post shall be admitted to
membership in another Post without the consent of the expelling Post, except
that where such consent has been asked for and denied by such Post, he
may then appeal to the Executive Committee of the Department of the
expelling Post for permission to be admitted to membership in another Post,
and shall be ineligible for membership until such permission is granted.”