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tive magistrate, by declaring that the governor should have a salary of a fixed and permanent value, amply sufficient, and established by standing laws. Those state constitutions which have been made or amended since the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, have generally followed the example which it happily set to them in this and many other particulars; and it has been well observed by one of our jurists, that “ we may consider it as one of the most signal blessings bestowed on this country, that we have such a fabric as the 'ederal Constitution constantly before our eyes, not only for national protection, but for local imitation and example.”
The appointment of an extraordinary person as Vice-president of the United States, and ex officio President of the Senate, was originally objected to as superfluous, if not mischievous. But it was justified principally on two considerations : the first was, that, to secure at all times a definite resolution of the Senate, it was necessary that the president of that body should have a casting vots; and to take a senator from his seat as senator, and place him in that of the presiding officer, would be, in regard to the state from which he came, to exchange a constant for a contingent vote. The other consideration was, that as the Vice-president may occasionally become a substitute for the President in the supreme executive office, all the reasons which recommend the mode of election prescribed in the first instance for the one, apply with great, if not with equal force, to the other. The powers and duties of President devolve on the Vice-president, not only when no choice is made by the electors or the House of Representatives, but also in case of the President's removal from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge his duties; and Congress is authorized to provide by
law for the case of vacancies in the offices of both President and Vice-president. In pursuance of this power, it has been enacted that, in the event of such vacancies, the President of the Senate pro tempore, and in case there should be no such President of the Senate, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the time being, shall act as President of the United States until the vacancy be supplied The evidence of a refusal to accept, or of a resignation of the office of President or Vice-president, is declared by the sam: act of Congress to be a declaration in writing, filed in the office of the Secretary of State.
As it might become a question who would be the person to serve, if the office of President should devolve on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, after the Congress for which the last speaker was chosen had expired, and before the new Congress meet, it is usual for the Vice-president to withdraw from the Senate shortly before the adjournment of the session, in order to afford an opportunity to that body to choose a president pro tempore ; and if he should die or resign during the recess of Congress, and a casual vacancy occur in the offices of President and Vice-president, the former speaker would probably be deemed the person upon whom the office was intended to devolve. If the Vicepresident succeeds to the office of President, he continues in it until the expiration of the term for which the President was elected; and if both offices are vacant, it is made the duty of the Secretary of State to take measures, under the act of Congress, for the election of a President. But, as that act was passed before the amendment of the Constitution, and that amendment omitted, perhaps intentionally, to provide
for the case, a Vice-president cannot be elected, in case of a vacancy, until the next regular period. *
In addition to all the other precautions to prevent abuse of the executive trust, in the mode of the President's appointment, in the limitation of his term of office, and in the precise and definite restrictions on the exercise of his powers, the Constitution has rendered him amenable to justice for mal-administration. The President, as well as all other oflicers of the government, may be impeached, as we have seen, for treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanours, and, upon conviction, removed from office. The inviolability of the supreme magistrate, as maintained in the English law, is incompatible with the theory of our government, as well as with the principles of retributive justice; and is neither the sense of duty, the force of public opinion, nor the transitory nature of his power, prove sufficient to secure the faithful discharge of the executive office-if the President of the United States will use the authority of his station to violate the Constitution and laws, even he, as easily and as promptly as any subordinate officer, may be arrested in his course by an impeachment. Consi : ing the nature and extent of the authority necessri ; incident to the station, it was difficult to constiiute the office of President so as to render it equally safe and efficient, by combining, in the structure of its power, a due proportion of energy and responsibility. The former is necessary to maintain a firm administration of the laws; the latter, to preserve inviolate the rights of the people and of the states. “ The authors of the Federal Constitution,” says the able jurist I have so frequently quoted, “ appear to have surveyed these
* Mr. Justice Story, in his Commentaries, 9 14, 77, hints a doubt whether this act be constitutional.
two objects with profound discernment, and have organized the executive department with consummate skill.”
OF THE JUDICIAL POWER. As the personal security and private property of every individual depe d on the wisdom, stability, and integrity of the courts of justice, the judicial power interferes more directly and uniformly than either of the other departments with all the concerns of social and private life. No government can be complete in its form, or perfect in its principles of organization, without this power. To make laws and execute them are the respective objects of the other two departments, and are, indeed, the two principal operations of government. But laws cannot be fully and correctly executed unless there be a power in the state to expound and apply them. This power being auxiliary to the executive authority, partakes, in some degree, of its nature. But its office is, in some cases, to control the exercise of executive power; and those acts of the latter, which are judicially declared to be unconstitutional or unlawful, are thereby rendered inoperative and void. The judicial department may also be said to participate in the legislative power, as its construction of legislative acts is binding and conclusive, although this does not prevent the Legislature from repairing defects or explaining ambiguities, by subsequent laws operating on subsequent cases.
A higher function, moreover, appertains to this de
partment, under a written constitution, founded upon true principles of representation, and establishing a just separation of the three varieties of government; and that is to expound the Constitution, and thereby test the validity of the acts of the Legislature, as well as those of the executive department, in all cases where the question as to their construction arises in a suit at law, or in equity. Hence the more imperious and absolute necessity of securing, by fundamental provisions, the independence of the judicial power. A constitution which omitted to establish an adequate judicial power could not successfully be carried into effect; and if, instead of being rendered independent, that power be united with one or both of the other departments, or if those charged with its administration were made dependant on either of them, its dignity and utility would be destroyed.
The judicial power, in every government, must be coextensive with the power of legislation. Were there no power to interpret, pronounce, and enforce the law, the government, if it did not perish by its own weakness, would be corrupted by the usurpation of new powers by the Legislature, to the subversion of public liberty. But the judicial authority cannot, by the force of language, be made to exceed the legislative power, for such excess would be inconsistent with its nature ; and if, by express terms, it should, on the other hand, be so restricted as to embrace a part only of the subjects of actual legislation, the integrity and efficiency of the whole system would be materially impaired. The Constitution, therefore, establishes the judicia power as a substantive, integral, and independent branch of the government; and this was the more necessary, from the extraordinary complications of the authority of the United States with that of the several states, resulting unavoidably