« ForrigeFortsett »
revenue shall originate in the House, but the Senate or States may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.
What about impeachment ?
States, not men, being constituents of a President, therefore the people of the States in council, sitting as a grand jury, present an indictment in the form of articles of impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors; but the States in council, sitting as a court, try him. The Chief-Justice presides, as the offence or offences are violations of the organic law.
Says the Constitution:“ The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” Twothirds of the members present can convict.
Defect.-Who is to preside in the absence of the Chief-Justice ? If the Chief-Justice himself is impeached, what officer is to preside at the trial ? The Constitution is silent. It would seem that such an emergency might have called the attention of the framers of the Constitution to the Speaker of the House and the Vice-President as presiding officers on the trial of the Chief Justice.
What are courts of impeachment ?
The States, in special judicial council, acting as united sovereigns.
What is meant by the Supreme Court of the United States ?
The court of last resort; namely, the Supreme Court of the United States, to whom are delegated original and appellate powers. The Congress fixes the number of justices; the President, as selecting agent of the United States, nominates; and the States in council confirm or reject nominees. The justices hold their offices during “ good behavior,” not for life, as is often stated. The Supreme Court can declare an act of Congress, signed and promulgated by the President, unconstitutional and void. Men are transient. States are permanent. States, acting as united sovereigns, not men, construe the Constitution which they created. The Supreme Court are, then, the united sovereigns in final judicial council.
Defect.In representative governments there should be no “good behavior” tenures of office. It leads to life service. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court should have been limited to determining the constitutionality of a law of Congress and to “international ” questions. Latitudinous construction has caused the court to invade the legal rights of States.
What is the difference now between Senate and House?
In 1810 the Senate of the United States were a small body of but thirty-four members. They did not, for years, increase at all. For five years the Senators sat with closed doors. They did not legislate, as now, in competition with the House, but employed their time with appointments and treaties, and concurrence with the popular branch, and in conferences with the President and his Cabinet. It has been well said that the Senators regarded themselves then as ambassadors from sovereign States. Centralized nationalism was most obnoxious to them. Senators in those days frequently asked their legislatures for instructions.
· The functions and complexion of the Senate have undergone so great a change that, like the Federal Supreme Court, the members busy themselves, with honorable exceptions, in interfering with the freedom and independence of the several States; and the House of Representatives, which represent the whole people, and up to 1842 was composed of members elected by the States at large, have become the custodian of the reserved rights, the general guardian and peerless champion of each and all of the sovereign States! The people now declare from their Congressional districts that ours is not a nation at all.
Why should not Senators be elected by numbers? It would gradually help to destroy State autonomy. It would break down the barriers that guard minorities. The smaller States would first suffer, then the larger. Numbers are already represented in the House. Florida, in 1891, unanimously rejected the proposition to make Senators elective by direct vote of the people. In brief, it would terminate the States in council, which was intended to be a conservative check on numbers in the House, and so impair the treaty-making and ratifying power.
George Reid of Delaware moved that Senators should hold their office during good behavior. Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution, seconded Reid, but it failed. The deputy from Delaware then desired to make the senatorial term nine years, one-third triennially retiring. That also failed. It was the desire of the antinationalists to limit the terms of Senators, and make them obey State instructions, so as to prevent misrepresentation in the States in council, but it failed. Six years makes the senatorial term too long, especially after the people of a State politically repudiate the party of a Senator.
An effort is still (1895) being made to elect Senators by a direct vote of the people of the States, with a view to make bribery and corruption impossible. It is fallacious. The present system is not at fault. The fault is with the leaders who manufacture legislatures. If the .“ places of choosing Senators” be altered, partisans will dominate the State polls by a congressional “elections law.” Senators are State officers, not officers of the United States. Said ex-Senator George F. Edmunds :
“The Senate always has been, and always will be, so long as constituted through election by the legislatures of the States, what John Adams called “the sheet anchor of the Republic.' On the whole, it has been of invaluable service in the good government of this country. This attack upon the Constitution, and the House provision for the election of the Senators directly by the people, is an immense delusion, and an attempted disturbance of conservative balance, as the Senate is the feature that the makers of the Constitution intended to have most pronounced effect. The quality of men selected through popular vote is much more likely to reduce the quality of the body, as is perfectly obvious to any person who is at all read in the political history of this or other countries.
“In one or two States it may be possible to secure two or three men to vote for a particular Senator by means of purchase, which is a particularly bad thing; but it must be remembered that the men who manage that sort of thing can con