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$ 100. Next, the privilege from arrest. This is given in all cases, (except of crimes,) in going to, attending upon, and returning from, any session of Congress. It would be a great mistake to consider it, as in reality a personal privilege, for the benefit of the member. It is rather a privilege for the benefit of his constituents, that they may not be deprived of the presence, services, and influence of their own Representative in the national councils. It might otherwise happen, that he might be arrested from mere malice, or political persecution, and thus they be deprived of his aid and talents during the whole session.
§ 101. Thirdly, the liberty of speech and debate. This, too, is less to be regarded as a personal privilege, than as a public right, to secure independence, firmness, and fearlessness on the part of the members, so that, in discharging their high trusts, they may not be overawed by wealth, or power, or dread of prosecution. The same privilege is 'enjoyed in the British Parliament, and also in the several State Legislatures of the Union, founded upon the same reasoning.
$ 102. The next clause regards the disqualifications of members of Congress. "No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he is elected, be appointed to
any civil office under the authority of the United States, 'which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time. And no person, holding any office under the United States, shall be a
member of either House of Congress during his continuance in office. The object of these provisions is sufficiently manifest. It is, to secure the Legislature against undue in-fluence, and indirect corruption, on the part of the Executive. Whether much reliance can be placed upon guards of this disqualifying nature, has been greatly doubted. Patronage may be quite as effective under a different form. It may confer office on a friend, a relative, or a dependant. The hope of office in future may seduce a man from his duty,
as much as its present possession. And, after all, the chief guards against venality, in all Governments, must be placed in the high virtue, the unspotted honor, and the pure patriotism of public men. And it has been doubted, whether the exclusion of the Heads of Department from Congress has not led to the use of indirect, and irresponsible influence, on the part of the Executive, over the measures of Congress, far more than could exist, if the Heads of Departments held seats in Congress, and might be there compelled to avow and defend their own opinions. The provision, however, as it stands, has hitherto been found acceptable to the American People, and ought not lightly to be surrendered.
Mode of Passing Laws.
$ 103. The seventh section of the first article declares the mode of passing laws. The first clause is 'All bills ' for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose, or concur with 'amendments, as in other bills.' This clause had its origin in the known rule of the British Parliament, that all money bills shall originate in the House of Commons. The general reason assigned for this privilege in that kingdom is, that all taxes and supplies, raised upon the people, should originate with their immediate representatives. But in truth, it was intended by the popular branch of the Legislature, by this course, to acquire a permanent importance in the Government; and to be able to counterpoise the influence of the House of Peers, a body having hereditary rights and dignity. The same reason does not apply with the same force to our republican forms of Government. But still,
as the same power was exercised under some of the State Governments, and as the House of Representatives may be deemed peculiarly well fitted to bring to such subjects a full knowledge of the local interests, as well as the wishes of the people, there is no inconvenience in pursuing this habit of legislation.
axes and revenue laws may bear with great inequality upon some of the States, a power to amend such laws is properly reserved to the Senate, where all the States possess an equal voice.
$ 104. The next clause respects the power of the President, to approve and negative laws. It is as follows – Every bill, which shall have passed the House of Repre
sentatives, and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law, 'be presented to the President of the United States. 'he approve, be shall sign it; but if not, he shall return 'it, with his objections, to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large, * on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two thirds of that House shall agree 'to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objec'tions, to the other House, by which it shall, likewise, be
reconsidered; and, if approved by two thirds of that House, ' it shall become a law. But, in all such cases, the votes • of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and
and 'the names of the persons voting for and against the bill,
shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. *If any bill shall not be returned by the President within 'ten days (Sundays excepted), after it shall have been pre'sented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner, as if he had signed it, unless the Congress, by their ad
journment, prevent its return, in which case it shall not be "a law.'
$ 105. The reasons, why the President should possess a qualified negative, (for an absolute negative would be highly objectionable) are, if not quite obvious, at least, when fairly
expounded entirely satisfactory. In the first place, there is a natural tendency in the legislative department, to intrude upon the rights, and to absorb the powers of the other departments of the Government. If the executive did not possess this authority, he could gradually be stripped of all his authority, and become, what the governors of some States now are, a mere pageant and shadow of magistracy.
§ 106. In the next place, the power is important, as an additional security against the enactment of rash, immature, and improper laws. In the third place, it embodies a different modification of interests and opinions from that which belongs to either branch, to that representing the people, or that representing the States; and being a combination of the interests and opinions of the aggregate of both, introduces a useful element, to check any preponderating interest of any section, in a particular measure. It does not, like an absolute negative, suspend legislation, but merely refer the subject back for a more deliberate review of the Senate and House. If two thirds of each branch still concur in its favor, it becomes a law. Thus a thorough revision of the measure is guaranteed ; and, at the same time, the deliberate wishes of the people cannot be disobeyed. If two thirds of each branch do not dissent from the President's opinion, the natural inference is, that the measure is not so far beyond all reasonable objections, that it ought ordinarily to prevail. And, if the President should abuse his power, (as certainly he sometimes may,) the people have the proper remedies in their own hands, and can compel him to relinquish office at no distant period.
§ 107. But the qualified negative is not left wholly with. out restraint. The President must promptly exercise it within ten days, excluding Sunday ; otherwise the bill becomes a law. And, on the other hand, Congress are deprived of the power of preventing its due exercise by a hasty adjournment within the ten days. If a qualified negative is to be allowed
at all, it would seem thus to be as much restrained as the public good can require.
$ 108. The remaining clause provides a like regulation in regard to orders, resolutions, and votes, to which the concurrence of both Houses is necessary. It is, 'Every order, res
olution, or vote, to which the concurrence of the Senate and • House of Representatives may be necessary, (except on a ' question of adjournment,) shall be presented to the Presi
dent of the United States ; and, before the same shall take 'effect, shall be approved by him, or, being disapproved by ' him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations
prescribed in the case of a bill.' If this provision had not been made, Congress, by adopting the form of an order, or resolution, instead of a bill, might have effectually defeated the President's negative in many important portions of legislation. The reason of the exception as to adjournments, is, that this power is peculiarly fit to be acted upon by Congress, according to their own discretion; and, therefore it is, (as we have seen,) by a preceding clause, vested in both Houses, and devolves on the President, only in cases of their disagreement.
$ 109. We have now completed the review of the strucsture and organization of the legislative department; and, it has been shown, that it is admirably adapted for a wholesome and upright exercise of the powers confided to it. All the checks, which human ingenuity has been able to devise, or at least all, which, with reference to our habits, institutions, and diversities of local interests, seem practicable, to give perfect operation to the machinery, to adjust its movements, to prevent its eccentricities, and to balance its forces; all these have been introduced with singular skill, ingenuity, and wisdom, into the arrangements. Yet after all, the fabric may fall, for the work of man is perishable. Nay, it must fall, if there be not that vital spirit in the people, which can alone nourish, sustain, and direct all its movements. If ever the