Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


                    The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article II, Section 2, Clause 2:  "[The President] … shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law…."  Under this provision of the Constitution of the United States of America, the President has the power and authority to nominate people to fill positions and the Senate has the power and authority to either accept or reject those nominations.

                    "Benjamin Franklin and several others attending the Constitutional Convention felt that the appointive power in the President might lead him to refuse to sign certain bills unless the Senate concurred in the appointment of friends and political associates to whom the Senate might otherwise object.  However, in practice, this did not prove to be the case [yet]."  (See W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 553-554.)

                    "Both the debates among the Framers and subsequent practice confirm that the President has plenary power to nominate.  He is not obliged to take advice from the Senate on the identity of those he will nominate, nor does the Congress have authority to set qualifications for principal officers.  The Senate possesses the plenary authority to reject or confirm the nominee, although its weaker structural position means that it is likely to confirm most nominees, absent compelling reasons to reject them.

                    "The very grammar of the clause is telling:  the act of nomination is separated from the act of appointment by a comma and a conjunction.  Only the latter act is qualified by the phrase `advice and consent.'  Furthermore, it is not at all anomalous to use the word advice with respect to the action of the Senate in confirming an appointment.  The Senate's consent is advisory because confirmation does not bind the President to commission and empower the confirmed nominee.  Instead, after receiving the Senate's advice and consent, the President may deliberate again before appointing the nominee."  (See John McGinnis, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 209-210.)

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