Page images
PDF
EPUB

SECTION VII.

Of the powers of the President in legislation.

ART. 87. Every bill which shall have passed the house of representatives and the senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the president

An act of a state legislature discharging a debtor from all liability for a debt contracted previously to his discharge, upon surrendering his property, is a law impairing the obligation of contracts, whether such law be passed before or after the debt was contracted, or the suit be brought in a court of the state of which both the parties were citizens where the contract was made and the discharge obtained, and where they continued to reside until the suit was brought.-Sturgis v. Crownin-hield, 4 Wheat. 122, 192. Farmers & Mechanics Bank v. Smith, 6 Wheat. 131, M'Millan v. M'Neill, 4 Wheat. 209.

A state bankrupt or insolvent law, which discharges both the person of the debt. or and his future acquisitions of property is not a law impairing the obligation of contracts, so far as respects debts contracted subsequent to the passage of such law. But a certificate of discharge under such law cannot be pleaded in bar of an action brought by a citizen of another state in the courts of the United States or of any other state, than that where the discharge was obtained.--Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. 213. Boyle v. Zacharie. 6 Pet. 634.

But imprisonment of the debtor forms no part of the contract, he may be released from imprisonment without impairing its obligation.-Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat, 122, 192. Farmers and Mechanics Bank v. Smith, 6 Wheat. 131. M Millan v. M`Neill, 4 Wheat. 209. United States Bank v. Halstead, 10 Wheat. 51. Mason v. Haile, 12 Wheat. 370. Beers & al. v. Haughton, 9 Peters, 329.

The act of congress of 1800, establishing a uniform system of bankruptcy, does not confirm state insolvent laws, containing provisions impairing the obligation of contracts ; but leaves them to operate so far, as constitutionally they may, unaffected by the act of congress, except as to persons and cases clearly within its pur. view.–Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. 122, 192.

The prohibition to the states to make laws impairing the obligation of contracts does not extend to paper money or tender laws, express provisions being made for these subjeets ; nor is the prohibition confined to instalment or suspension laws, because its terms are general and comprehensive, and establish the principle of the inviolability of contracts in every mode.—Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. 122, 192.

Statutes of limitation and usury laws, unless retroactive, do not impair the obligation of contracts within the meaning of the constitution.--Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. 206.

The invalidity of a state law, as impairing the obligation of contracts, does not depend upon the extent of the change which it effects in the contract. Any deviation from its terms, by postponing or accelerating the period of its performance, imposing conditions not expressed in the contract, or dispensing with the performance of such as are expressed, however minute, or apparently immaterial in their effect upon the contract, impairs its obligation.-Green v. Biddle, 8 Wheat. 1.

The constitution of the United States having commenced its operation on the first Wednesday in March, 1789, the provision that “no state shall make any law impairing the obligation of contract, is does not extend to a state law enacted before that day, and operating upon rights of property vested before that time.Owings v. Speed. & al. 5 Wheat. 420.

A state cannot tax the bank of the United States; and any attempt on the part of its agents and officers to enforce the collection of a tax against the property of the bank, may be restrained by injunction from the Circut Court.-Osborne v. L'nited States Bank, 9 Wheat. 738. M‘Cullough v. State of Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316.

Bat this principle does not extend to a tax paid by the real property of the bank of the United States in common with the other real property in a particular state, nor to a tax imposed on the proprietary interest which the citizens of the state may hold in this institution in common with other property of the same description throughout the state.-Osborne v. United States Bank, '9 Wheat. 738. M‘Culof the United States; if he approve he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by twothirds of that house, it shall become a law. But in all such cases, the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill, shall be entered on the journal of each house, respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the president within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.(1)

88. Every order, resolution, or vote, to which the concurrence of the senate and house of representatives may be necessary, (except on a question of adjournment,) shall be presented to the president of the United States ; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two-thirds of the senate and house of representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.(2)

[blocks in formation]

ART. 89. The officers of congress other than those before mentioned, are, 1st. The chaplains, who receive a compensation of five hundred dollars each, per annum :(3) 2d. The secretary of the senate and clerk of the house of representatives : 3d. The librarian of the library of congress : 4th. 5th. The serjeant-at-arms and the door-keepers of the senate and of the house of representatives : 6th. The assistant door-keepers of both houses.

90. The secretary of the senate and clerk of the house of representatives, at the time of taking the oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States, shall each take an oath or affirmation in the words following,

(1) Con. Art. 1, sec. 7, cl. 2. (2) Ib. cl. 3.

(3) Act March 10, 1796.

April 30, 1816.

lough v. State of Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316. Weston & al. v. City Council of Charleston, 2 Pet. 449.

Nor can a state tax any of the constitutional means employed by the government of the union to execute its constitutional powers. Nor by taxation or otherwise has a state power in any manner to control the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by congress to carry into effect the powers vested in the national government. -Osborne v. United States Bank, 9 Wheat. 738. M‘Cullough v. State of Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316. Weston & al. v. City Council of Charleston, 2 Pet. 449.

to wit: “), A. B., secretary of the senate or clerk of the house of representatives, (as the case may be) of the United States of America, do solemnly swear or affirm, that I will truly and faithfully discharge the duties of my said office, to the best of my knowledge and ability.”(1)

91. And they shall, respectively, within thirty days after entering upon the discharge of the duties of their respective offices, give bond to the United States, with one or more sureties, to be approved by the comptroller of the treasury, in the penal sum of twenty thousand dollars, conditioned for the faithful application and disbursement of such contingent funds of the respective houses as shall come to their hands, which bond shall be deposited in the comptroller's office.(2)

92. And they shall deposit all money belonging to the United States, which may come into their hands in one of the banks in the. District of Columbia ; and all debts payable by said secretary or clerk on account of the senate or house of representatives, shall be paid by a draft in favour of each creditor on the bank where the money of government may be deposited.(3)

93. The secretary of the senate and the clerk of the house of representatives, shall, after the adjournment of each congress, advertise three weeks successively in two newspapers printed in the District of Columbia for proposals for supplying the senate and house of representatives during the succeeding congress with the necessary stationary. Such advertisement shall describe the kind of stationary required, and the proposals to be made there. for shall be accompanied with sufficient security for their performance : And the secretary and clerk shall in the month of April, thereafter, notify the lowest bidder or bidders, (whose securities are deemed sufficient) of the acceptance of his or their proposals. Such secretary and clerk may contract for separate parts of the supplies of stationary required to be fur. nished.(4)

94. And such secretary and clerk are required to lay before the two houses respectively, at the commencement of each session of congress, a table or statement, showing the names and compensation of the messengers of the respective houses, together with a detailed statement of the items of expenditure of the contingent fund of the respective houses for the next immediately preceding year; in which statement, the disbursements shall be arranged under the following heads, to wit: 1st. Printing. 2d. Stationary; and distinguishing under this head the articles furnished for the use of the members from those furnished for the office of the secretary and clerk, and specifying the number of reams of each kind of paper. 3d. Bookbinding. 4th. Fuel. 5th. Newspapers; specifying under this head the amount of orders given at the preceding session, as well as the payments made. 6th. The post offices. 7th. The repairs and preservation of the furniture. 8th. Services of messengers and horses. 9th. Miscellaneous items, not included under the preceding beads. Such statements shall exhibit, also, the several sums drawn by the said secretary and clerk, respectively, from the treasury, and the balances, if any, remaining in their hands.(5)

95. The secretary of senate, when the president of the senate shall deem it necessary, may employ one principal clerk and two engrossing clerks. And he may employ in his office one messenger, at a compensation not exceeding seven hundred dollars per annum.(6)

(1) Act June 1, 1789, sec. 5.
(2) Act 23d Feb. 1815, sec. 1.
(3) Ibid. sec. 2.
(4) Resolution 3d March, 1815.

(5) Resolution of March 1, 1823.
(6) Act 10th March, 1796, sec. 3.

26th May, 1824, sec. 3.

96. The clerk of the house of representatives may employ in his office one principal clerk, and three other clerks, and one messenger, whose salary shall not exceed seven hundred dollars per annum.(1)

97. The secretary of the senate and clerk of the house of representatives, shall severally receive the sum of three thousand dollars annually, payable quarterly: their principal clerks one thousand eight hundred dollars each, and their engrossing clerks one thousand five hundred dollars each.(2)

98. It shall be the duty of such secretary and clerk, as soon as may be after the close of each session of Congress, to prepare and publish a statement of all appropriations made during the session, and also a statement of the new officers created and the salaries of each, and also a statement of the offices, the salaries of which are increased, and the amount of such increase.(3)

99. The serjeants-at-arms, and the door-keepers of the senate and house of representatives are chosen by the respective houses. The serjeant-atarms of the senate and house of representatives, and the door-keeper and assistant door-keeper of the senate and house of representatives receive, annually fifteen hundred dollars.(4)

It is the duty of the door-keepers to do the usual services pertaining to their respective offices during the session of congress ; and in the recess, under the direction of the secretary of the senate and clerk of the house of representatives, to take care of the apartments occupied by the respective houses, and provide fuel and other accommodations for their subsequent session.(5)

SECTION IX.

Library of Congress.
Where placed, how governed 100 and messenger-use of library-
Librarian-how appointed—bond of to whom granted

101 -duty-compensation-assistant, Law library established-regulations

for-appropriation for

102

Art. 100. The library of congress shall be placed in the capital.(6)

The president of the senate, and speaker of the house of representatives for the time being, may establish such regulations and restrictions not inconsistent with law in relation to the library as they shall deem proper, and from time to time alter and amend the same.(7)

101. A librarian shall be appointed by the president solely, to take charge of such library, who, previous to entering on his duties, shall give bond to the United States, to be deposited in the office of the secretary of the senate in such sum and with such security as the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives for the time being shall deem suffi. cient, for the faithful discharge of his trust, according to such regulations as may, from time to time, be established for the government of the library. He shall receive an annual salary of one thousand five hundred dollars, payable quarterly.(8) He employs an assistant and a messenger, who receive a yearly compensation of eight hundred dollars each.(9)

(1) Act 10th March, 1796.--Act 26th (5) Act 12th April, 1792. May, 1824, sec. 3.

(6) Act 26th Jan. 1802, sec, 1.-3rd (2) Act 18th April, 1818.-Act 29th March, 1815. May, 1830.

(7) Act 26th January, 1802, sec. 2. (3) Act 4th July, 1836, sec. 6.

(8) Ibid. sec. 3. (4) Act 10th April, 1806.-Act 3d (9) Act 24th May, 1828, sec. 2. March, 1815.

No map shall be taken froin the library by any person : Nor any book except by the president and vice-president of the United States, members of the senate and house of representatives,(1) the agent of the joint committee of congress, appointed in relation to the library :(2) the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States ;(3) the attorney general of the United States, and the members of the diplomatic corps ;(4) the secretary of state, the secretary of the treasury, the secretary of war, the secretary of the navy, the postmaster general, the secretary of the senate, and clerk of the bouse of representatives, the chaplains of congress, and any individual when in the District of Columbia, who may have been president of the United States; at the times, and on the same terms, conditions, and restrictions, as members of congress are allowed to use said books.(5)

102. It shall be the duty of the librarian to prepare an apartment near to, and connected by an easy communication with that in which the library of congress is now kept, for the purpose of a law library; to remove the law books, now in the library, into such apartment; and to take charge of the law library, in the same manner as he is now required to do of the library of congress.(6)

The justices of the Supreme Court of the United States shall have free access to the said law library; and they are, hereby, authorized and empowered to make such rules and regulations for the use of the same, by themselves and the attorneys and counsellors, during the sittings of the said court, as they shall deem proper : Provided, Such rules and regulations shall not restrict the president of the United States, the vice-president, of any member of the senate or house of representatives, from having access to the said library, or using the books therein, in the same manner that he Dow has, or may have, to use the books of the library of congress (7)

The law library shall be a part of the library of congress, subject to the same regulations, except such alterations as are herein provided for, as now are, or hereafter shall be established for the library of congress; and the incidental expenses of the law library shall be paid out of the appropriations for the library of congress.(8)

There shall be, and hereby is, appropriated, for the present year, a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars, and a further annual sum of one thousand dollars, for the period of five years, to be expended in the purchase of law books; and that the librarian shall make the purchases of the books for the law library, under such directions, and pursuant to such catalogue, as shall be furnished him by the chief justice of the United States. (9)

SECTION X.

Flag of the United States. Art. 103. The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white : the union, twenty stars, white, in a blue field. On the admission of every new state into the union, one star shall be added to the union of the flag on the fourth day of July succeeding such admission.(10)

(1) Act 26th January, 1802, sec. 4.
(2) Act May 1, 1810.
(3) Resolution March 2, 1812.
(4) Act April 16, 1816.
(5) Resolution January 13, 1830.
(6) Act July 14, 1832.

(7) Ibid. sec. 2.
(8) Ibid. sec. 3.
(9) Ibid. sec. 4,

(10) Act 4th April, 1818.-Act 13th January, 1794.

« PreviousContinue »