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more effectually from those of his native country. The next qualification, is, inhabitancy in the State ; and the propriety of this, is almost self-evident, since an inhabitant may not cnly be presumed to be better acquainted with the local interests, and wants, and pursuits, of the State ; but may, also, well be deemed to feel a higher degree of responsibility to the State, than any stranger. He will, also, personally, share more fully in the effects of all measures, touching the sovereignty, rights, and influence, of the State. The only surprise, is, that provision is not made for his ceasing to represent the State, in the Senate, as soon as he should cease to be an inhabitant of the State.
$ 109. In concluding this topic, it is proper to remark, that no qualification, whatever, as to property, is required in regard to Senators, any more than in regard to Representatives. Merit and talent have, therefore, the freest access open to them into each branch of the Legislature. Under such circumstances, if the choice of the people is but directed by a suitable sobriety of judgement, the Senate cannot fail of being distinguished for wisdom, for learning, for exalted patriotism, for incorruptible integrity, and for inflexible independence.
§ 110. The next clause respects the person who shall preside in the deliberations of the Senate.-" 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 choose 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."
§ 111. The propriety of creating the office of Vice President will be reserved for future consideration, when the organization of the executive department shall come under review. The reasons, why he is authorized to preside in the Senate, belong appropriately to this place The strong motive for this arrangement undoubtedly arose from the desire to moderate State jealousy and to preserve State equality in the Senate. If the presiding officer of the Senate were to be chosen exclusively from its own
members, it was supposed, that the State, upon which the choice might fall, might possess e ther more or less, than its due share of influence. If he were not allowed to vote, except upon an equal division of the Senate, then the State would be deprived of his vote; if he were en titled to vote, and also, in such cases, to give a casting vote, then the State would, in effect, possess a double vote. If he could only vote as a member, then, in case of an equality of votes, much inconvenience might arise from the indecision of the Senate. It might give rise to dangerous feuds, or intrigues, and create State, or national agitations. It would be far better, in such an equality of votes, to refer the decision to a common arbiter, like the Vice President, chosen by a vote of the States, and therefore to be deemed the representative of all of them. The permanent appointment of any one of the Senators, as President of the Senate, might give him an undue influence and control over measures during his official term. An appointment for a single session, only, would subject the body to constant agitations, and intrigues, incompatible with its own dignity and convenience, and might introduce irregularities, unfavorable to an impartial course of proceedings, founded upon experience. and an accurate knowledge of the duties of the office. These views appear to have had great weight in the Convention, and have been found entirely satisfactory to the people. The appointment of the Vice President to preside in the Senate has been greatly conducive to the harmony of the States and the dignity of the General Government. As the Senate possess the power to make rules to regulate their own proceedings, there is little danger, that there can ever arise any serious abuse of the presiding power, The danger, if any, is rather the other way, that the presiding power will be silently weak ened or openly surrendered, so as to leave to the office little more than the barren honor of the place, without influence, and without action.
$ 112. The propriety of intrusting the Senate with the choice of its other officers, and also of a President pro tempore in the absence of the Vice President, or
when he exercises the office of President, seems never to have been questioned ; and indeed is so obvious, that it is wholly unnecessary to vindicate it. Confidence between the Senate and its officers, and the power to make a suitable choice, and to secure a suitable responsibility for the faithful discharge of the duties of office, are so indispensable for the public good, that the provision wil command universal assent, as soon as it is mentioned. It has grown into a general practice for the Vice President to vacate the Senatorial chair a short time before the termination of each session, in order to enable the Senate to choose a President pro tempore, who. might already be in office, if the Vice President, in the recess, should be called to the chair of State. The practice is founded in wisdom and sound policy, as it immediately provides for an exigency, which may well be expected to occur at any time ; and prevents the choice from being influenced by temporary excitements or intrigues, arising from the actual existence of a vacancy.
As it is useful in
peace to provide for war; so it is likewise useful in times of profound tranquillity to provide for political agitations, which may disturb the public harmony.
§ 113. The next clause respects the judicial power of the Senate to try impeachments.
ci 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.” The great objects to be at tained in the selection of a tribunal for the trial of impeachments, are impartiality, integrity, intelligence, and independence. If either of these qualities is wanting,
the trial is essentially defective. To insure impartiality, the body must be, in some degree, removed from popular power and passions, from the influence of sectional prejudices, and from the still more dangerous influence of party spirit. To secure integrity, there must be a lofty sense of duty, and a deep responsibility to God, as well as to future ages.
To secure intelligence, there must be age, experience, and high intellectual powers and attainments. To secure independence, there must be numbers, as well as talents, and a confidence, resulting from permanency of place, dignity of station, and consciousness of patriotism. . The Senate, from its very organization, must be presumed to possess all these qualities in a high degree, and, certainly, in a degree not surpassed by any other political body in the country.
If it should be asked, why the power to try impeachments might not have been confided to a court of law of the highest grade, it may be answered, that such a tribunal is not, on various accounts, so fit for the purpose. In the first place, the offences to be tried are generally of a political character, such as a court of law is not ordinarily accustomed to examine, and such as its common functions exclude. The Senators, on the contrary, necessarily become familiar with such subjects. In the next place, the strict course of proceedings, in courts of law, is ill adapted to the searching out of political delinquencies. In the next place, such political functions, are in no small degree incompatible with the due discharge of other judicial duties. They have a tendency to involve the Judges in party interests and party contests, and thereby to withdraw their minds from those studies and habits, which are most important, in the ordinary administration of justice, to secure independence and impartiality. In the next place, the Judges are themselves appointed by the Executive, and may be called upon to try cases, in which he, or some officer enjoying his confidence, and acting under his orders, is the party impeached. In the last place, a Judge may be the very party impeached ; and, under such circumstances, a court of law, may sumed to labor under as strong feelings and sympathies
for the accused, as any other body. It could never be desirable to call upon the Supreme Court of the nation to try an impeachment of one of its own members for an official misdemeanor. So that, to say the least, the tribunal selected by the Constitution is as unobjectionable, as any, which could be pointed out.
$ 114. The mode of trial is also provided for. The Senate, when sitting as a Court of Impeachment, “ shall be on oath or affirmation.” This is required in all cases of trials in the common courts of law. Jurymen, as well as Judges, are always under oath or affirmation, in the discharge of their respective duties. It is a sanction, appealing to their consciences, and calling upon them to reflect well upon their duties. The provision was deemed the more necessary, because in trials of impeachment in England, the House of Lords (which is the High Court of Impeachment) is not under oath ; but each Peer makes a declaration simply upon his honor ; although if he were a witness in any common trial, he must give his testimony on oath.
$ 115. The next provision is ; “ When the Presi dent of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.” The object of this clause is, to preclude the Vice President, who might be supposed to have a natural desire to succeed to the office of President, from being instrumental, or having any influence, in procuring a conviction of the Chief Magistrate. Under such circumstances, who could be deemed more suitable to preside at the trial, than the highest Judicial magistrate of the nation. His impartiality and independence would be as little liable to suspicion, as those of any other person in the country. The dignity of his station might well be deemed an adequate pledge for his possession of the highest accomplishments; and his various learning and great experience in the law, might well be presumed to enable him to give essential assistance to the Senate, not only in reg ulating their proceedings in such delicate matters, but also in securing the just rights of the accused, by protecting him against unintentional mistakes and errors of judgement in that body. It is added ; “ And no person shall