Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Post Constitutional Era! Part VI

U.S. Constitution - Article 1 Section 4

Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
Section 4 - Elections, Meetings

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall (be on the first Monday in December,) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 20th Amendment, section 2.)unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Notes for this section:
20th Amendment

Editor's Note: Please take the time to follow the links – both of them as there are more links in the second link – as I think you will find that interesting in light of so much controversy regarding the Presidency these days. Also, you will recall I asked early on how a mere law could change how many Representatives would serve in the House of Representatives. I expected an answer, but since none was forth coming here is the answer as De Tocqueville stated in Chapter VIII, Part I.

“Every ten years Congress fixes anew the number of representatives which each State is to furnish. The total number was 69 in 1789, and 240 in 1833. The Constitution decided that there should not be more than one representative for every 30,000 persons; but no minimum was fixed on. The Congress has not thought fit to augment the number of representatives in proportion to the increase of population. The first Act which was passed on the subject (April 14, 1792: see "Laws of the United States," by Story, vol. i. p. 235) decided that there should be one representative for every 33,000 inhabitants. The last Act, which was passed in 1832, fixes the proportion at one for 48,000. The population represented is composed of all the free men and of three-fifths of the slaves.”

“The last Act of apportionment, passed February 2, 1872, fixes the representation at one to 134,684 inhabitants. There are now (1875) 283 members of the lower House of Congress, and 9 for the States at large, making in all 292 members. The old States have of course lost the representatives which the new States have gained.

Currently there are 435 Congressmen serving in the house. There are those who wish to return to the number formula of a maximum of one per 33,000, but with our current population that would mean there would be 9512 members of the House of Representatives and their staffs. Does anyone really think that would make things better?

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