Speech or Debate Clause Law and Legal Definition

The speech or debate clause is a clause in the U.S Constitution protects members of Congress from prosecution for any speech or debate in the House, other than treason, breach of peace, or felony.

The protection of this clause is not limited to words spoken in debate. Its protection extends to committee reports, resolutions, and the act of voting, and any things generally done in a session of the House by one of its members in relation to the business before it. Thus, so long as legislators are ''acting in the sphere of legitimate legislative activity,'' they are protected not only from the consequence of litigation's results but also from the burden of defending themselves.