« EelmineJätka »
other departments, and this intention appears by other provisions, and the enunciation of other principles besides that which in terms establishes the tenure of good behavior, then the power of removal upon address ought to be construed and exercised consistently with the tenure of good behavior, and not in direct repugnance to it. It is plain that, if the power is construed as a naked and unrestrained power, established as a direct qualification of the tenure of office, it may be used for party purposes, and may be exercised for any cause for which a dominant party may see fit to employ it.
The danger of the abuse of this power, arising from the absence of any express restriction upon it, and of any statement of its purpose, in the Constitution of Massachusetts, has led to an unsuccessful effort in that State to make its exercise more difficult than it is under the actual provision. In the Convention held in the year 1820, in which the Constitution was subjected to revision, Mr. Webster, Mr. Justice Story, and others of the eminent jurists of Massachusetts, endeavored to procure an amend, ment requiring the address to be adopted by a vote of two thirds in both branches, instead of allowing it to be carried, as the Constitution has always stood, and as the rule is in England, by a bare majority. The effort failed; but the result of the whole discussion to which it gave rise shows the general understanding of the people of the State with regard to the rightful extent of this power. The Convention was a very remarkable assembly of the intellect and worth of the State, and both the political parties of the time were fully represented in it, by their most distinguished members. All were agreed that the power was capable of abuse, and that to apply it to any other than cases of official incapacity or unfitness would be an abuse. But those who opposed the adoption of a two-thirds rule were unwilling to anticipate such an abuse of the power, and their arguments prevailed.
The framers of the Constitution of the United States intrusted no such power over the judiciary to the other branches of the government. They regarded the possibility of its being used for improper purposes as a sufficient reason why it should not exist. They thought it, moreover, a contradiction in terms to say that the judges should hold their offices during good behavior, and yet be removable without a trial. But the radical objection was one that does not seem to have been sufficiently attended to in the early formation of some of the State constitutions, but which the peculiar system established by the Constitution of the United States made especially prominent.
That Constitution was designed to be in some respects an abridgment of the previous powers of the States. Like the State constitutions, also,
it embraced a careful distribution of the powers of government between the different departments, and a careful separation of the functions of one department from those of another. Questions must, therefore, necessarily arise in the administration of the government, whether one of these departments had overstepped the limits assigned to it as against the others, and whether the action of the general or the State governments in particular instances is within their appropriate spheres. These, now familiar to us as constitutional questions, were to be subjected to the arbitrament of the national judiciary; and it was almost universally felt that this delicate and important power must be confided to judges whose tenure of office could be touched only by the solemn process of accusation and impeachment. The same necessity exists under a State constitution, but perhaps not in the same degree; for while the judiciary of a State is often called upon to decide finally upon the conformity of acts of legislation with the State constitution, and ought therefore clearly to be beyond the reach of legislative influence,—yet no State judiciary is the final arbiter between the rights and powers of the national government and the rights and powers of the States. This function belongs to the supreme judiciary of the United States. It was foreseen that it would not infrequently involve the decision of questions in which whole classes of States might have the deepest interest, which would connect themselves with party discussions, and on which the representatives of the States in the national legislature would be likely to share in the feelings, and even in the passions, of their constituents. There could be no security for a judiciary called upon to decide such questions, if they were to be subject to a power of removal by the other two branches of the government. Their commissions might make them theoretically independent, but practically they could be removed at the pleasure of those whom they might have offended. In truth, there is no State in this Union where such a power of removal is vested without qualification in the legislative and executive departments, in which the judges can be said to hold their commissions during good behavior, unless that power is construed to embrace only those cases of palpable incapacity in which an impeachment would be unnecessary or impracticable. As a naked and unqualified power, it is repugnant to the tenure of good behavior. It was so regarded in the Convention which framed the Constitution of the United States, where a proposition to introduce it received the vote of the single State of Connecticut only. (Madison, Elliot, V. 481, 482.)
ADMISSION OF NEW STATES. GUARANTY
OATH TO SUP
HAVING settled a general plan for the organization of the three great departments of government, the committee next proceeded to provide for certain other objects of primary importance, the necessity for which had been demonstrated by the past history of the Confederacy. The first of these was the admission of new States into the Union.
It had long been apparent, that the time would sooner or later arrive when the limits of the United States must be extended, and the number of the States increased. Circumstances had made it impossible that the benefits and privileges of the Union should be confined to the original thirteen communities by whom it had been established. Population had begun to press westward from the Atlantic States with the energy and enterprise that have marked the Anglo-American character since the first occupation of the country. Wherever the hardy pioneers of civilization penetrated into the wilderness of the Northwest, they settled upon lands embraced by those shadowy boundaries which
carried the territorial claims of some of the older States into the region beyond the Ohio. Circumstances, already detailed in a former part of this work, had compelled a surrender of these territorial claims to the United States; and in the efforts made by Congress, both before and after the cessions had been completed, to provide for the establishment of new States, and for their admission into the Union, we have already traced one of the great defects of the Confederation, which rendered it incapable of meeting the exigencies created by this inevitable expansion of the country.'
In the year 1784, when Mr. Jefferson brought into Congress a measure for the organization and admission of new States, to be formed upon the territories that had been or might thereafter be ceded to the United States, he seems to have considered that the Articles of Confederation authorized the admission of new States formed out of territory that had belonged to a State already in the Union, by a vote of nine States in Congress. But a majority of the States in Congress evidently regarded the power of admission as doubtful; and although they passed the resolves for the admission of new States, principally because it was extremely important to invite cessions of Western territory, they left the provision as to the mode of admission so indefinite, that the whole question of power would have to be opened and decided on the first application that
1 Ante, Vol. I. Book III. Chap. V.
might be made by a State to be admitted into the Union.1
When the Ordinance of 1787 was formed, it
1 Mr. Jefferson has very lucidly stated the position of the question in some observations furnished by him, when in Paris, to one of the editors of the Encyclopédie Méthodique, in 1786 or 1787, which I here insert entire. "The eleventh Article of Confederation admits Canada to accede to the Confederation at its own will, but adds, 'no other Colony shall be admitted to the same unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.' When the plan of April, 1784, for establishing new States, was on the carpet, the committee who framed the report of that plan had inserted this clause: Provided nine States agree to such admission, according to the reservation of the eleventh of the Articles of Confederation.' It was objected, — 1. That the words of the Confederation, 'no other Colony,' could refer only to the residuary possessions of Great Britain, as the two Floridas, Nova Scotia, &c., not being already parts of the Union; that the law for 'admitting' a new member into the Union could not be applied to a territory which was already in the Union, as making part of a State which was a member of it. 2. That it would be improper to allow'nine' States to receive a new member, because the same reasons which rendered that number proper now would render a
greater one proper when the number composing the Union should be increased. They therefore struck out this paragraph, and inserted a proviso, that the consent of so many States in Congress shall be first obtained as may at the time be competent'; thus leaving the question whether the eleventh Article applies to the admission of new States to be decided when that admission shall be asked. See the Journal of Congress of April 20, 1784. Another doubt was started in this debate, viz. whether the agreement of the nine States required by the Confederation was to be made by their legislatures, or by their delegates in Congress? The expression adopted, viz. so many States in Congress is first obtained,' shows what was their sense of this matter. If it be agreed that the eleventh Article of the Confederation is not to be applied to the admission of these new States, then it is contended that their admission comes within the thirteenth Article, which forbids 'any alteration unless agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.' The independence of the new States of Kentucky and Franklin will soon bring on the ultimate decision of all these questions." (Jefferson's Works, IX. 251.) That the ad