Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

A motion to adjourn, simply, cannot be amended as by adding to a particular day.' But must be put simply that this House do now adjourn?' and if carried in the affirmative, it is adjourned to the next sitting day, unless it has come to a previous resolution, that at its rising it will adjourn to a particular day,' and then the House is adjourned to that day. 2 Hats. 82.

Where it is convenient that the business of the House be suspended for a short time, as for a conference presently to be held, &c., it adjourns during pleasure, 2 Hats. 305. Or for a quarter of an hour. 5 Grey, 331.

If a question be put for adjournment, it is no adjournment till the Speaker pronounces it. 5 Grey, 137. And from courtesy and respect, no member leaves his place till the Speaker has past on.

SEC. LI. A SESSION.

Parliament have three modes of separation, to wit: by adjournment, by prorogation, or dissolution by the king, or by the efflux of the term for which they were elected. Prorogation or dissolution constitutes there what is called a session ; provided some act has passed. In this case all matters depending before them are discontinued, and at their next meeting are to be taken up de novo, if taken up at all. 1 Blackst.186. Adjournment, which is by themselves, is no more than a continuance of the session from one day to another, or for a fortnight, a month, &c, ad libitum. All matters depending remain in statu quo, and when they meet again, be the term ever so distant, are resumed without any fresh commencement, at the point at which they were left. 1 Lev. 165. Lex. Parl. c. 2. 1 Ro. Rep. 29. 4 Inst. 7. 27, 28. Hutt. 61. 1 Mod. 252. Ruffh. Jac. L. Dict. Parliament. 1 Blackst. 186. Their whole session is considered in law but as one day, and has relation to the first day thereof. Bro. Abr. Parliament,

86.

Committees may be appointed to sit during a recess by adjournment, but not by prorogation. 5 Grey, 374. 9 Grey, 350. 1 Chandler, 50. Neither house can con

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

tinue any portion of itself in any parliamentary function, beyond the end of the session, without the consent of the other two branches. When done, it is by a bill constituting them commissioners for the particular purpose.

[ocr errors]

Congress separate in two ways only, to wit, by adjournment, or dissolution by the efflux of their time. What then constitutes a session with them? A dissolution certainly closes one session, and the meeting of the new Congress begins another. The Constitution authorizes the President, on extraordinary occasions, to convene both Houses, or either of them. I. 3. If convened by the President's proclamation, this must begin a new session, and of course determine the preceding one to have been a session. So if it meets under the clause of the Constitution, which says, 'the Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.' I. 4. This must begin a new session. For even if the last adjournment was to this day, the act of adjournment is merged in the higher authority of the Constitution, and the meeting will be under that, and not under their adjournment. So far we have fixed land marks for determining sessions. In other cases it is declared by the joint vote authorizing the President of the Senate and the Speaker to close the session on a fixed day, which is usually in the following form: 'Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives, that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives be authorized to close the present session by adjourning their respective Houses on the day of —

When it was said above that all matters depending before Parliament were discontinued by the determination of the session, it was not meant for judiciary cases, depending before the House of Lords, such as impeachments, appeals, and writs of error. These stand continued, of course, to the next session. Raym. 120, 381. Ruffh. Jac. L. D. Parliament.

Impeachments stand in like manner, continued before the Senate of the United States.

SEC. LII. TREATIES.

The President of the United States has power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur. Const. U. S. II. 2.

Resolved, that all confidential_communications, made by the President of the United States to the Senate, shall be, by the members thereof, kept secret ; and that all treaties, which may hereafter be laid before the Senate, shall also be kept secret; until the Senate shall, by their resolution, take off the injunction of secrecy. Rule 38.

Vat

Treaties are legislative acts. A treaty is the law of the land. It differs from other laws only as it must have the consent of a foreign nation, being but a contract with respect to that nation. In all countries, I believe, except England, treaties are made by the legislative power: and there also, if they touch the laws of the land, they must be approved by Parliament. Ware 7. Hylton. 3 Dallas Rep. 223. It is acknowledged, for instance, that the King of Great Britain cannot, by a treaty, make a citizen of an alien. tel, b. 1. c. 19. sec. 214. An act of Parliament was necessary to validate the American treaty of 1783. And abundant examples of such acts can be cited. In the cases of the treaty of Utrecht, in 1712, the commercial articles required the concurrence of Parliament. But a bill brought in for that purpose was rejected. France, the other contracting party, suffered these articles, in practice, to be not insisted on, and adhered to the rest of the treaty. 4 Russel's Hist. Mod. Europe, 457. 2 Smollet, 242. 246.

By the Constitution of the United States, this department of legislation is confided to two branches only of the ordinary legislature; the President originating, and the Senate having a negative. To what subjects this power extends, has not been defined in

detail by the Constitution; nor are we entirely agreed among ourselves. 1. It is admitted that it must concern the foreign nation, party to the contract, or it would be a mere nullity, res inter alios acta. 2. By the general power to make treaties, the Constitution must have intended to comprehend only those subjects which are usually regulated by treaty, and cannot be otherwise regulated. 3. It must have meant to except out of these the rights reserved to the States; for surely the President and Senate cannot do by treaty what the whole Government is interdicted

from doing in any way. 4. And also to except those subjects of legislation in which it gave a participation to the House of Representatives. This last exception is denied by some, on the ground that it would leave very little matter for the treaty power to work on. The less the better, say others. The Constitution thought it wise to restrain the executive and Senate from entangling and embroiling our affairs with those of Europe. Besides, as the negotiations are carried on by the executive alone, the subjecting to the ratification of the representatives such articles as are within their participation, is no more inconvenient. than to the Senate. But the ground of this exception is denied as unfounded. For examine, e. g. the treaty of commerce with France, and it will be found that, out of 31 articles, there are not more than small portions of two or three of them which would not still remain as subjects of treaties, untouched by these exceptions.

Treaties being declared, equally with the laws of the United States, to be the supreme law of the land, it is understood that an act of the legislature alone can declare them infringed and rescinded. This was accordingly the process adopted in the case of France

in 1798.

It has been the usage for the executive, when it communicates a treaty to the Senate for their ratification, to communicate also the correspondence of the negotiators. This having been omitted in the case of the Prussian treaty, was asked by a vote of

the House, of Feb. 12, 1800, and was obtained. And in Dec. 1800, the convention of that year between the United States and France, with the report of the negotiations by the envoys, but not their instructions, being laid before the Senate, the instructions were asked for and communicated by the President.

The mode of voting on questions of ratification is by nominal call.

Whenever a treaty shall be laid before the Senate for ratification, it shall be read a first time for information only; when no motion to reject, ratify, or modify the whole, or any part, shall be received. Its second reading shall be for consideration, and on a subsequent day, when it shall be taken up as in a committee of the whole, and every one shall be free to move a question on any particular article, in this form, "Will the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of this article?" or to propose amendments thereto, either by inserting or by leaving out words, in which last case the question shall be, Shall the words stand part of the article?' And in every of the said cases, the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators present shall be requisite to decide affirmatively. And, when through the whole, the proceedings shall be stated to the House, and questions be again severally put thereon for confirmation, or new ones proposed requiring in like manner a concurrence of two-thirds for whatever is retained or inserted.

The votes so confirmed shall, by the House, or a committee thereof, be reduced, into the form of a ratification, with or without modifications, as may have been decided, and shall be proposed on a subsequent day, when every one shall again be free to move amendments, either by inserting or leaving_out words; in which last case the question shall be, Shall the words stand part of the resolution? And in both cases the concurrence of two-thirds shall be requisite to carry the affirmative; as well as on the final question to advise and consent to the ratification in the form agreed to. Rule 37.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »