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United States; the President acting through the agency of commissioners, ambassadors and foreign ministers duly accredited by our government. The entire proposed treaty, in outline and detail, with all necessary drawings, maps, and documents, is submitted to the Senate by the President. The Senate discusses it in secret session.
$ 8. Secrecy and dispatch being essential to success in the negotiation of treaties, it would be unsafe to trust the preliminaries to a body constituted of a large number of persons. The hazard of extensive publicity would be imminent; and such publicity in the early stages of the proceeding would be likely to defeat the enterprise. It would not be strange should it encounter the intrigues and interferences of jealous and interested neighboring nations. No treaty can be complete, on the part of our government, until ratified by the Senate.
APPOINTMENTS. He shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint,
1st. Ambassadors, other public ministers, and con
2d. Judges of the Supreme Court ;
appointments are not otherwise provided
be established by law. 61. § 9. The President has the exclusive power of selection of the officers named in this article, though his first choice may not be confirmed by the Senate. In such case, may select again and again until his nominee shall be confirmed. The Senate has no power of selecting: they can only act on such names as shall be presented by the Executive. In Art. XII., Chap. IV., Part II., we have seen that Congress has the power to vest the appointments of such inferior officers as they think proper, either in the President alone, the courts of law, or the heads of departments. That power is generally regarded as somewhat modifying the power given in this article, though it does not define what classes are to be considered as “in.
ferior officers.” Congress early came to the decision, however, that “ inferior officers ” did not include the heads of departments.
§ 10. When nominations are made by the President, they are presented to the Senate in writing; and this body acts upon them in secret session, and under the injunction that discussions on their merits or the qualifications of the nominees shall be kept secret. A numerical majority of the Senate decides the question of confirmation or rejection of the candidate nominated. If the nominee is confirmed, or the nomination ratified, the President issues a commission accordingly, unless, in the mean time, he has concluded to decline it, which he is at liberty to do; in which case,
make another nomination.
$ 11. The responsibility of the Senate and the President is distinct. He can never be compelled to yield to their appointment of a man unfit for office; and, on the other hand, they may withhold their advice and consent from any candidate, who, in their judgment, does not possess due qualifications for office. But it is not expected that the Senate will ordinarily fail of ratifying the appointment of a suitable person for the office. 1
§ 12. The power of removal from offices filled by the united authority of President and Senate has, for the most part, been conceded to the President alone. Grave doubts of the propriety of this, however, have been expressed by prominent and distinguished statesmen from the earliest period of our history, under our present Constitution. Many have contended, that, since the Constitution is silent on the subject, it should require the same power to remove that it does to appoint, especially while the Senate is in session.
$ 13. March 2, 1867, an act of Congress was passed, regulating the tenure of certain civil offices. By this act, persons holding or appointed to any civil office by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall be entitled to hold such office until a successor is appointed in like manner and duly qualified.
The heads of executive departments, and also the Attorney-General, shall hold their offices respectively for and during the term of the President by whom
1 Story on Const., $1,531.
they may have been appointed, and for one month thereafter, subject to removal by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The President, for cause shown, can suspend, during the recess of the Senate, any civil officers thus appointed, until the next meeting of that body, and until such suspension be acted upon by them. Judges of the United-States courts are excepted from the operation of this provision.
§ 14. In such case, it is made the duty of the President, within twenty days after the meeting of the Senate, to report to the Senate such suspension, with the evidence and reasons for his action in the
If the Senate concurs, the President may remove the officer, and appoint a successor.
If the Senate does not concur, the suspended officer resumes his office, and receives again the official salary and emoluments.
§ 15. An ambassador is a minister of the highest rank, employed by government to represent it, and to manage its interests, at the court or seat of government of some other power. The word “minister,” as used in the Constitution, has nearly the same signification as "ambassador," especially minister plenipotentiary. A consul is a person commissioned to reside in a foreign country, aš an agent or representative of a government, to protect the rights, commerce, merchants, and seamen of the State, and to aid in
commercial, and sometimes in diplomatic, transactions with such foreign country.
He shall have the power to fill all vacancies that may
happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their
next session. 62. $ 16. Vacancies are liable to occur during the recesses of the Senate, as that body is not in perpetual session ; and, unless there were some power to fill the vacancies, of course the interests of the country might suffer. While the Senate is in session, the President has no such authority. All appointments made under this clause expire at the end of the next session of the Senate ; and it is held that if the President nominates to the same office one whom he has
appointed, and the Senate ratifies the nomination, it is a new appointment, for which a new commission must be given, and for the faithful performance of the duties of which new bonds must be filed.
6th. MESSAGES. 1st. He shall from time to time give Congress infor
mation of the state of the Union; and, 2d. Shall recommend to their consideration cuch
measures as he shall judge necessary and ex
pedient. 63. § 17. This clause is on the subject usually known as the messages of the President. He enjoys sources of information on all subjects, foreign and domestic, far superior to those belonging to any other branch of the government. Out of the first part of this clause has come the practice of delivering to Congress the annual messages; and out of the second, the practice of delivering occasional special messages. On account of bis intimacy with the heads of departments, he may be presumed to be in possession of valuable information regarding the workings of the laws, the systems of trade, finance, and the operations of the judiciary, military, naval, and civil establishments of the Union. It is in the highest degree proper that information on these matters, in the most practical form, should be communicated to Congress, and that the President should recommend such measures as he may deem necessary for the correction of any defects which may have become apparent.
§ 18. The practice in the time of Washington and John Adams was for the President, at the opening of each session of Congress, to meet both houses in person, and deliver a speech to them, containing his views on public affairs, and his recommendations of meas
On other occasions, he simply addressed written messages to them, or either of them, according to the nature of the message. To the speeches thus made a written answer was given by each house; and thus an opportunity was afforded by the opponents of the administration to review its whole policy in a single debate on the
That practice was discontinued by President Jefferson, who addressed all his communications to Congress by written mes
sages ; and to these no answers were returned.1 Jefferson's innovation has been followed by all succeeding Presidents.
7th. CONGRESS. 1st. On extraordinary occasions, he may conveno
either or both houses of Congress. 2d. In case of disagreement between them with
respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think
proper. 63. $ 19. Events may occur, entirely unforeseen by the Congress at its last session, imperiling the interests of the country, and requiring the immediate convocation of that body. An event of this kind transpired in the month of April, 1861, from the date of which hostilities became general between the North and the South. President Lincoln summoned Congress to meet the fourth day of the following July. That the power to call a meeting of Congress should be vested somewhere, there can be no doubt; and that it should be committed to the discretion of the Executive, all agree.
$ 20. It might be barely possible that Congress should fail to agree on the time of adjournment; and, should such an exigency arise, there can be no doubt that the Executive is the most suitable third party to interfere for the peaceable termination of the controversy. In England, the sovereign always prorogues the parliament.
He shall receive ambassadors and other public minis
ters. 63. § 21. The President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, to represent the interests of the United States in other countries; but he receives these classes of agents and representatives of other countries without the advice and consent of the Senate. Although this clause does not include consuls expressly, yet the power is inferred, both from other parts of the Constitution and from the
1 Rawle on Const., ch. 16.