04 April 2009

Constitution: Article 1, Sec. 3-4

Section. 3.

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.

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 Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

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.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section. 4.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

1 comment:

  1. This section is known as 'The Great Compromise'. There was a struggle between the large states and the smaller states regarding representation in the federal legislature. Smaller states favored equal representation; large states favored proportional representation. Dividing the legislature into two bodies, one with equal representation and one with proportional representation was the compromise. Without it, we may not have had a Constitution.

    So, originally, the People chose Representatives and the State Legislatures chose Senators. The Representatives represented the People and the Senators represented the separate States.

    This was part of the division of powers - the People electing Representatives, the Legislatures electing Senators, and the Electoral College electing Presidents.

    This was undone later (we'll get there). And there's a push now (every time a conservative president wins) to abolish the electoral college. I hope to read George Grant's book about the college before push comes to shove.

    Interesting aside: In Arizona, the state legislature was originally set up in the same way: the House was apportioned by population and each district had two senators. The Supreme Court ruled that this populational apportionment of the House was unconstitutional.

    Not sure where they got that (nor where the Supreme Court's authority to rule on that came from since Congress is given explicit permission to meddle in the states in this way - I know, keep reading and maybe I'll figure it out), but now we have two senators and one representative from each district, which puts the larger districts at a disadvantage.