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Article VI Sect. 11, “The enacting stile of the laws of the United States shall be. "Be it enacted by the Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled," was agreed to without opposition.

Article VI Section 12, “Each House shall possess the right of originating bills, except in the cases beforementioned,” was taken up.

Caleb Strong (MA) motioned to reword Section 12 as, "Each House shall possess the right of originating all bills, except bills for raising money for the purposes of revenue, or for appropriating the same and for fixing the salaries of the officers of the Govt. which shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as in other cases"

George Mason (VA) seconded. This denied a power to the Senate, which could already sell the country away by means of Treaties.

Nathaniel Gorham (MA) urged passage. He did not trust the Senate either.

Governor Morris opposed it as unnecessary.

Hugh Williamson (NC) saw no reason to not indulge those who would restrict the Senate from originating Money Bills. He motioned and Mr. Randolph seconded to postpone consideration of the Section until Senate powers could be determined.

John Mercer (MD) did not wish to return to this Section once it was left. He then wandered off topic a bit to comment on Mr. Mason’s position regarding treaties. Mr. Mercer would have them negotiated by the Executive and ratified by Congress.

George Mason (VA) elaborated his comments; no treaty could repeal a law. (At this point the treaty power was entirely within the Senate, under Article IX, which had not yet been debated.) He was concerned for instance, that the Senate could dispossess the Southwest territories to Spain. (The Northern/Eastern States could dominate the Senate, and could give the territory away in the interest of restraining southern expansion. This fear would resurface in VA during the ratification debates.)

Article VI Section 12 was narrowly postponed 6-5.

(Some subsequent notes from Mr. Madison are apparently missing.)

James Madison (VA) offered an amendment to Article VI Section 13 which brought back the Council of Revision (Combined Judicial and Executive Veto) plus an extra supermajority of ¾ in each House to override both Judicial and Executive vetoes.

James Wilson (PA) seconded.

Charles Pinckney (SC) thoroughly opposed the Judicial Veto as prejudicial to their traditional duties.

John Mercer (MD) heartily approved of Judicial Veto. While he supported the veto to combat legislative “usurpation and oppression,” he opposed the doctrine of Judges as expositors of the Constitutionality of laws.

Elbridge Gerry (MA) reminded the Convention that the Council of Revision had already been discussed and rejected.

Mr. Madison’s amendment failed 8-3.

Governeur Morris (PA) wished for some sort of extra check on the Congress. Since the President was to be elected by Congress, he doubted he would often oppose his electors. Mr. Morris was apprehensive of a Congress that would go the way of some State Legislatures regarding paper money and debt forgiveness. He advocated a ¾ majority in both Houses to override the Executive veto.

John Dickinson (DE) agreed with John Mercer (MD) that Judges should not be able to set aside law via Judicial Review. (I didn’t find anything on a search of the Judiciary of Aragon)

Governeur Morris (PA) supported an absolute Executive veto. He had misgivings denying Judicial Review when the court was faced with Constitutional violations. An absolute Executive veto would have its inconveniences but would outweigh the negatives of something less. Mr. Morris noticed that even virtuous citizens are prone at times to get caught up in legislative mobs and vote in ways they later were ashamed of. After a lengthy lesson on abusive legislative assemblies through history, he motioned to postpone the question until something better than a mere 2/3 override could be devised.

Roger Sherman (CN) could not envision a single Executive with authority to veto the decision of so many Representative and Senators. He disapproved of getting the Judiciary involved in politics and parties.

Daniel Carroll (MD) also wished to postpone the question until the duties and powers of the Executive were further developed.

Nathaniel Gorham (MA) asked for an end to the “powers before form,” and “form before powers” arguments for postponements and reconsiderations.

James Wilson (PA) feared the new Congress would swallow up all powers. He thought confidence in legislatures to be a misapplication of the British system where Parliament was seen as the palladium of liberty and Kings were nearly synonymous with Tyrants. We did not associate Legislatures with Tyranny, but should be careful, because a weak Executive would lead to tyranny we abhor. He offered an example from British history. Our system should offer more in the way of self defense mechanisms to the Executive and Judicial branches.

John Rutlidge (SC) also complained of the tedious proceedings and was against postponement.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) agreed. Get on with it.

The question to postpone failed, 9-2.

Hugh Williamson (NC) motioned to change two thirds to three fourths. He would keep Judges out of the business of legislating.

James Wilson (PA) seconded

The motion to substitute three fourths for two thirds passed, 6-4-1.

James Madison (VA) was concerned the Executive veto could be gotten around by Congress by not using the word, “bill.” He moved to amend Section 13, “No Bill or resolve of the Senate and House of representatives shall become a Law, or have force until it shall have been presented to the President of the United States for his revision.”

Mr. Madison’s motion was rejected, 8-3.

“Ten days” replaced seven as time for the President to return bills.

Article VI Section 13 as amended, passed with a vote not recorded by Mr. Madison.


1 posted on 08/15/2011 3:03:57 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Lady Jag; Ev Reeman; familyof5; NewMediaJournal; pallis; Kartographer; SuperLuminal; unixfox; ...
Constitutional Convention Ping!

We tend to think the Framers walked into the Convention with a fully developed concept of separation of powers. Early debate over the Council of Revision illustrated otherwise. While it was assumed Americans would never stand for a President with Kingly attributes, delegates were concerned the President would be rolled by headstrong Congresses. The short experience of the thirteen States in which weak Executives could exert little pushback against populist Legislatures prompted Governor Randolph and the VA delegation to give the Executive a little “back up” support from the Supreme Court. Fortunately, the majority came to realize it would be improper to structurally involve the Judiciary in political decisions.

Notice the various strengths of Executive vetoes. From absolute to conditional on two thirds or three fourths Congressional overrides, the delegates had to decide to what extent this new Executive could defeat majoritarian decisions of the popularly elected House and State appointed Senate. Heady stuff.

2 posted on 08/15/2011 3:08:44 AM PDT by Jacquerie (Law is too important to be left to Judges.)
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