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peace without the concurrence of the President, on account of his possible interest in the continuance of a war from which he might derive power and importance.' But an objection, strenuously urged, was, that, if the power to make a treaty of peace were confided to the Senate alone, and a majority or two thirds of the whole Senate were to be required to make such a treaty, the difficulty of obtaining peace would be so great, that the legislature would be unwilling to make war on account of the fisheries, the navigation of the Mississippi, and other important objects of the Union. On the other hand, it was said that a majority of the States might be a minority of the people of the United States, and that the representatives of a minority of the nation ought not to have power to decide the conditions of peace.
The result of these various objections was a determination on the part of a large majority of the States not to make treaties of peace an exception to the rule, but to provide a uniform rule for the ratification of all treaties. The rule of the Confederation, which had required the assent of nine States in Congress to every treaty or alliance, had been found to work great inconvenience; as any rule must do, which should give to a minority of States power to control the foreign relations of the country. The rule established by the Constitution, while it gives to every State an opportunity to be present and to vote, requires no positive quorum of the Senate for the ratification of a treaty; it simply demands
1 Mr. Madison so thought. Elliot, V. 524.
that the treaty shall receive the assent of two thirds of all the members who may be present. The theory of the Constitution undoubtedly is, that the President represents the people of the United States generally, and the senators represent their respective States; so that, by the concurrence which the rule thus requires, the necessity for a fixed quorum of the States is avoided, and the operations of this function of the government are greatly facilitated and simplified.' The adoption, also, of that part of the rule which provides that the Senate may either "advise or consent," enables that body so far to initiate a treaty, as to propose one for the consideration of the President; - although such is not the general practice.
Having already described the changes which took from the Senate alone the appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court and ambassadors, it is only necessary in this connection to notice the manner in which the power of appointment to all offices received its final scope and limitations. The plan reported by the committee of detail had, as we have repeatedly seen, vested the appointment of ambassadors and judges of the Supreme Court in the Senate, and had given to the President the sole voice in the appointment of all other officers of the United States. The adjustment afterwards made gave the nomination
1 The several votes taken upon different aspects of the rule for the ratification of treaties make the theory quite clearly what is stated in
the text. See the proceedings, September 7, 8. Elliot, V. 524,
of all officers to the President, but required the advice and consent of the Senate to complete an appointment. Two inconveniences were likely to be experienced under this arrangement. Many inferior offices might be created, which it would be unnecessary and inexpedient to fill by this process of nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate; and vacancies might occur in all offices, which would require to be filled while the Senate was not in session. To obviate these inconveniences, the Congress were authorized to vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they might think proper in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments; and power was given to the President to fill up all vacancies that might happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which should expire at the end of their next session.1 In order to restrain the President from practically creating offices by the power of appointment, his power was limited to "offices created by law," and to those specially enumerated in the Constitution.2
1 This power embraces of course only those offices the appointment to which is vested in the President and Senate.
2 The Constitution (Art. II. § 2) seems to contemplate ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and judges of the Supreme Court, as officers to exist under the Constitution, whether provision is or is not made by law for their appointment and functions. It is made
the imperative duty of the President to nominate, and with the consent of the Senate to appoint them. Hence it has been supposed that the President can appoint a foreign minister without waiting to have his particular office regulated or established by law; and as the President conducts the foreign intercourse of the country, he could prescribe the duties of such a minister. In like manner, with the con
In addition to these powers, the committee of detail had provided for certain direct relations, of a special nature, between the President and the Congress. One of these was to consist in giving to the Congress from time to time information of the state of the Union, and in recommending to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. The other was embraced in the power to convene the two houses on extraordinary occasions; and, whenever there should be a disagreement between them with respect to the time of adjournment, to adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper. The latter power is to be taken in connection with the clause which requires Congress to meet at least once in every year, and on the first Monday in December, unless a different day shall be appointed by law. Neither the two houses by agreement, nor the President in case of a disagreement, can fix on a time of adjournment beyond the day of the commencement of the next regular session. But subject to this restriction, the power of the President to determine the time at which the two houses shall reassemble, when they do not agree upon a time, extends to every session of Congress, whether it be regular or "extraordinary." 1
sent of the Senate, the President could appoint a judge of the Supreme Court, and would be bound to do so, although no act of Congress existed providing for the organization and duties of the Court. But as the President cannot distrib
ute the judicial power, the Court, when so appointed, would have only the functions conferred by the Constitution, namely, original jurisdiction in certain enumerated cases.
1 In the text of the Constitution, the President's power to adjourn
the two houses of Congress in case of a disagreement follows immediately after his power to convene them on "extraordinary occasions"; and it has, therefore, been suggested that his power to adjourn them is confined to cases where they have been "extraordinarily " convened under the first power. But it is to be observed that the whole of the third section of Article II. contains an enumeration of separate powers of the President, recited seriatim. The power to convene Congress is one power; and it extends only to "extraordinary" occasions, because the Constitution itself, or a law, convenes them at a
fixed period, and thus makes the ordinary occasions. But the power to adjourn the two houses to a particular time, in cases of disagreement as to the time, is a separate and general power, because the reason for which it was given at all applies equally to all sessions. That reason is, that there may be a peaceful termination of what would oththerwise be an endless and dangerous controversy. Both Hamilton in the Federalist and Judge Story in his Commentaries have treated this as a separate and general power. (The Federalist, No. 77. Story on the Constitution, § 1563.)