Monday, October 17, 2011

Exploring the Constitution (Part 3) - The Senate

Last week, we looked at Section 2 of Article 1 of the Constitution, which established the House of Representatives. This week, we'll look at Section 3, which establishes the Senate. My comments are [in brackets] like these.

Section 3.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

[These Classes, established for election purposes, are not something taught very often in school. They prevent the Senate from ever being totally "new" coming into office. That method has its pros and cons, doesn't it? Another example of checks and balances.]

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of Honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Tracy here: Do you know who your elected officials are? Do you know anything about them? Do you follow the bills being introduced and voted upon? 

Here are some great websites to help:

United States Senate - up in the top right corner of this page, you'll see a drop down menu for Find Your Senators. Select your state, and your senators will be listed. Most, if not all, of them have individual web pages that you can visit, learn more about the senator, and contact them if you have any questions or concerns. Senators need, and most of them actually appreciate, hearing from their constituents back home, so take the time to send a letter on matters that are important to you.

Bill Search - this site shows what's currently being discussed, and bills coming up for a vote. There are links to pages that show how each Senator voted on every issue (or whether they voted at all). 

If you've just joined us in this exploration of the Constitution, be sure to check out the previous posts on:

The Preamble (Exploring the Constitution - Part 1)
House of Representatives (Exploring the Constitution - Part 2) - I've also added links to the House of Representatives so you can find your own, and a link to learn what's happening on the House floor.

Any questions or comments? Is there anything in this section of the Constitution  that surprised you?

1 comment:

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Tracy!

It's so good to re-connect with you. I've missed Pix-n-Pens.

Thanks for your comment on Jill's blog. I hope you'll pop by and see me soon.

Susan :)