Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Va. cancies.”

$ 97. This clause provides that when vacancies occur in the representation from any State, the governor thereof may issue writs for a special election to fill the vacancy. Thoso who are elected in pursuance of such writs are not elected for a full term, but only for the unexpired portion of the term which has become vacant.

[Clause 5.] “ The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

$ 98. The House of Representatives at the commencement of each session elects a Speaker, who is the presiding officer of the house.

In England, the Speaker of the House of Commons is chosen by the house; but he must be approved by the king. The king's approbation is now always taken for granted, though formerly it was necessary that it should be expressly given.

$99. The officers of the House of Representatives, in addition to the Speaker, are—a clerk, who, with his assistants, keeps the records and journals of the proceedings of the house; a sergeant-at-arms, who executes the commands of the house; a doorkeeper; and a postmaster, who superintends the post-office kept in the Capitol for the accommodation of the members. The clerk is required to take an oath or affirmation to discharge truly and faithfully his duties to the best of his knowledge and ability. He also gives security to account for all public money coming into his hands. The sergeant-at-arms and door keeper are sworn to keep the secrets of the house. A

clergyman is also usually chosen, every session, to act as chaplain, who offers prayer at the opening of each inorning session, and performs such other religious services as may be required.

The subject of impeachment will be spoken of hereafter.

CHAPTER V.

THE SENATE.

SECTION 3. [Clause 1.] “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.”

$ 100. The Senate constitutes the other branch of the legislative power. Senators are elected, not directly by the people, as representatives are, but by the legislatures of the respective States. In the Senate, the States, having each two delegates, are placed upon an equal footing, while in the House they are represented in proportion to their population. In this respect, the Constitution, by giving to each State an equal voice in the Senate, without regard to difference of population, wealth, or dimensions, resembles the old Confederation. • $ 101. The Constitution does not prescribe the mode in which the legislatures are to elect senators. In most of the States the senators are chosen by a joint vote, that is, both branches of the State legislature meet together and voté as if they constituted a single body; but in some of the States each branch votes separately, and both must agree in the choice of the same candidate; this is termed a concurrent vote.

$ 102. Under the Articles of Confederation, the votes in Congress were taken by States, so that each State had but one vote, no matter what was the number of its representatives. The provision in the Constitution that each senator shall have one vote, was intended to introduce a different mode of voting.

§ 103. If all the States, or a majority of them, should refuse to elect senators, the legislative powers of the Senate would be suspended; but if any one State should refuse to elect them, the Senate would not, on that account, be the less capable of performing all its proper business.

[Clause 2.] “Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one-third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legis. lature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.”

$ 104. By this clause the Senate is changed gradually, so that, although new members are constantly coming in, there are always in the Senate some of the older and more experienced members. Every two years one-third of the memhers retire, and are replaced by others. In the original division of the members into classes, the senators from each State were placed in separate classes, in order that their terms of service might expire at different periods, and that there might not be à vacancy at the same time in the seats of both senators from the same State. Senators from new States are placed in the classes by lot, but in such manner as shall keep the classes as nearly equal as may be.

$ 105. In order that a State shall not be unrepresented on account of the death or resignation of its senators, or otherwise, the governor of a State is authorized to fill, by his appointment, vacancies that occur when the legislature of the State is not in session. Such appointments are temporary, and continue only till the meeting of the legislature, when another senator is elected. If the vacancy occurs when the legislature is in session, it is to be filled by an' election by that body. :

$ 106. It appears to have been decided by the Senate of the United States in 1825, that the governor of a State cannot make an appointment in the recess of a State legislature to fill a vacancy which will happen, but has not happened at the time of the appointment. He must wait until the vacancy has actually occurred before he can constitutionally appoint.

[Clause 3.] “No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen."

$ 107. The qualifications of a senator consist of these three particulars:

(1.) He must have attained to the age of thirty years.

(2.) He must have been nine years a citizen of the United States.

(3.) IIe must, when elected, be an inhabitant of the State for which he is chosen.

$ 108. A senator must be at least thirty years of age, because the knowledge and experience of mature life are necessary to qualify him for his duties. He need not be a native born citizen of the United States; but, if an alien, he must have been a citizen for nine years. If sufficient time has not elapsed for him to lose his partiality for the land of his birth, he might be disposed to favour it in advising and consenting to treaties, and in otherwise managing the foreign affairs of our government and the business of legislation.

$ 109. He must, when elected, be an inhabitant of the State for which he is chosen, in order that he may know the wants of those whom he represents. It will be seen, upon comparison, that the qualifications of a senator, as to age and residence, are higher than those of a representative, and the reason is, that his duties are thought to be more honourable and responsible.

$ 110. No qualification as to property, and no profession of a particular form of religious belief, are required of a senator; nor is a previous residence in the State for a definite period of time necessary; nor does he forfeit his seat if he cease to be an inhabitant of the State for which he is chosen; nor can the legislature of his State recall him; nor is he, or a representative, incapable of being re-elected.

[Clause 4.] “ The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no. Vote, unless they be equally divided.”

« AnteriorContinuar »