John Rutlidge (SC) presented the report of the Committee of Detail. (Recall the members were John Rutlidge (SC), Governor Edmund Randolph, Nathaniel Gorham (MA), Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN), James Wilson (PA). These men along with Mr. Morris and Mr. Madison were probably the most influential of the 55 delegates.) Printed copies of the report, with wide margins for note-taking, were given to all. They adjourned for the day to allow time for study.
(Certain features stand out. Notice the writing style. Under Mr. Rutlidges eye, it was direct and precise. No fluff. The Committee of Detail had an assortment of State Constitutions and other primary documents from the colonial period to assist them.)
(The report, an amended version of the Randolph Plan, was getting close to what we know as the Constitution. Twelve hundred words of somewhat disconnected clauses were sewn together into a smooth fabric of thirty-seven hundred words. But that was not all, for the Committee introduced some novel terms and clauses of its own. It was first to use the title, President of the United States, We the People, State of the Union, Privileges and Immunities, and Necessary and Proper.)
(From Clinton Rossiters 1787, The Grand Convention, They had provided for the internal organization of both house of Congress, worked out the exact procedures of the qualified veto, defined the jurisdiction of the courts, adjusted certain relations among the states, and armed the President with power of guidance of the legislature, appointment of his own aides, administration, command, ceremony, and mercy. In some places it decided to make up the mind of the Convention; it placed the power to impeach in the House and to convict in the Supreme Court.)
The committee devised language over new states, the ratio of House representation at 1:40,000, and the Supremacy Clause over State Laws and Constitutions. It determined the qualification of the people to elect House members as that of the most numerous branch of their own State legislatures.
Previously, delegates were flummoxed over how to demark the line between Federal and State powers and responsibilities. In response, the Committee enumerated powers and duties both granted and denied to the States and National Government. I dont think the importance of their approach can be overstated. On their own, in view of the Conventions refusal to approve the negative over State Laws on July 17th, the committee listed some prohibitions on State power. This, along with Judicial Review and the Supremacy Clause would keep a lid on State Laws contravening the Constitution.
Article IV Section 4 allowed for subdivision and combinations of States to form new States.
Article IV Section 5 designated the House of Representatives as the sole source for money bills. They could not be amended, only voted up/down in the Senate.
Article VI Section 9, which was debated at length in July, will get more attention in August. The last clause will be removed and replaced with a prohibition on creating civil offices for defeated House or Senate members. Despite the viral corruption in our government today, I think the Constitution went long toward removing structural corruption evident in the British system.
Article VII Section 1 dealt with enumerated powers. The vast majority were taken from the Articles of Confederation. Two new powers, the lack of which plagued the prosperity of the country under the Articles, were taxation and regulation of commerce. Both, especially the taxing power would receive further attention at the Convention and at State Ratifying Conventions. The necessary and proper clause, which would survive word for word in the final product, appeared at the end of the section.
Article VII Section 4 more than settled Southern fears of a Northern dominated Congress regarding taxation of agricultural exports and slaves. The Southern Governors on the Committee forced a prohibition of taxes on exports and imported slaves and laws against their importation. In Section 6, Southerners prevented a Northern dominated House and Senate from passing Navigation Laws detrimental to Southern interests with a 2/3 requirement for passage of such laws. These lopsided sections would be changed.
Article IX Section 1 granted the Senate some powers that would later go to the Executive.
Article IX Sections 2 & 3 were copied from the Articles of Confederation which dealt with disputes between states, including land grants.
Article X Section 1 provided for Congressional appointment of the President to a single, seven year term. He could be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed upon conviction by the Supreme Court.
Article XI was something of a surprise. It reads very close to the final version which would appear in the Constitution, yet there had heretofore been little debate had on the Courts jurisdiction.
Constitutional Convention Ping!