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USC Article I

 

As I explained in the previous blog entry, there are three branches of government, the legislative, executive and judicial.

 

Section 3

Section three establishes the Senate. Again; I’ll explain each paragraph of it in simple, easy to understand terms.

 

The Senate of theUnited Statesshall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

This is actually self-explanatory. Yes, it said “state-legislatures.” Senators, being the states’ representatives of their interests, as opposed to the House members, who answered to the people, they were elected by the states until the Seventeenth Amendment of 1913.

 

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.

Everyone was starting at the same time during the first Senate session, but it was felt that the states deserved the same opportunity given to the people…calling their guys to account every two years. The solution was to divide the first Senate into three groups—we’ll call them A, B and C—whose terms would be adjusted to coincide with House elections. Group A served a two year term. Group B served four years. Group C, the lucky ones, served the full six-year term. The result is that every two years, the entire House and one-third of the Senate is vulnerable to replacement.

Governors had the power to make “recess appointments” to fill Senate vacancies, just as they would vacancies in the states’ governments, until 1913.

 

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of theUnited States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

This is simple; to be a Senator, you must be thirty, a U.S. citizen for at least nine years and live in the state you wish to represent…and you can’t be planning to move.

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

The Vice-President is the Senatorial counterpart to the House Speaker. This is why, during a Joint Session, you will see Joe Biden and John Boehner standing—or sitting—behind Barack Obama. Unlike the Speaker, though, the President of the Senate is only allowed to vote, if a tie is to be broken

 

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 theUnited States.

Like the House, the Senate chooses it’s own people. The main difference is the necessity of a Pro-Tem, due to the possibility the Vice-President may be called upon to serve as Acting-President. This happened often in the pre-telegraph age of equine travel, but rarely occurs now. Ronald Reagan had several medical and surgical procedures, and during those times, pursuant to both Article One, Section Three and the Twenty-Fifth Amendment of 1967, George H.W. Bush served as Acting President.

 

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 theUnited Statesis tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

I mentioned that impeachment in the House is equivalent to a preliminary hearing or grand-jury. Trial in the Senate is just that. Conviction in the Senate results in immediate removal from office and disqualification from holding any Federal public office.

 

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 theUnited States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Unlike trial in other venues, however, trial in the Senate does not attach “double-jeopardy” to the case. An expelled office-holder is still liable for any and all criminal charges. This is why Gerald Ford so quickly pardoned Richard Nixon. Had he not done so, it is certain our former President would have ended up in U.S. District Court.

 

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One Comment

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