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106. Election of President by the House of Representatives.-The Constitution provides that if no person receives a majority of the electoral votes for President, the House of Representatives shall elect one from among the three receiving the greatest number of electoral votes. The House of Representatives, when voting for President under these circumstances, votes "by States;" that is to say, each State has one vote, and a majority of the votes of the Representatives from each State makes the one vote of the State. A quorum for this purpose consists of a member or members from two thirds of the States, and a majority of all the States is necessary to a choice.1
107. Election of Vice-President by the Senate.In case no person receives a majority of the electoral votes for Vice-President, the Senate is to elect one from the two receiving the greatest number of electoral votes. A quorum of the Senate for this purpose consists of two thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number is necessary for a choice.2
108. The Presidential Succession.-In case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability of the President, the Vice-President succeeds to the office of President, and fills it for the remainder of the term for which the person whose place he takes was elected, or, in case of disability, until the disability is removed. Congress has provided that in case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability of both the President and Vice-President, the office of the President is to be filled until the disability of the President or Vice-President is removed, or until a President shall be elected, by the Secretary of
1U. S. Const., Amend. XII., Par. 1.
State; or, if he cannot act, by the Secretary of the Treasury; or, if he cannot act, by the Secretary of War; and so on, in succession, by the Attorney-General, the Postmaster-General, the Secretary of the Navy, or the Secretary of the Interior.'
In order that any one may exercise the office of President, he must have the qualifications prescribed by the Constitution for the President.
109. Duties and Powers of the President.-The duties of the President are summed up in the words of the Constitution: "He shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed." These duties are, of course, performed for the most part not by himself directly, but by executive officers appointed to assist him.
As to his powers, he is made commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the State militias when they are called into the actual service of the United States. He regulates the foreign relations of the country by receiving all foreign ministers, and by being authorized to make treaties with the assent of the Senate. He may grant pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.
With the assent of the Senate, he appoints and commissions all officers of the federal government whose appointment is not otherwise provided for. Such officers include ambassadors, ministers, and consuls, who represent the United States abroad, judges of the Supreme Court, and a vast number of other officials, such as heads of the departments, postmasters, territorial Governors and
1 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 1, Par. 6.
2 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 3.
3 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 2, Par. 1.
4 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 3.
5 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 2, Par. 2. 6 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 2, Par. 1. 7U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 2, Par. 2.
judges, revenue officers, and so forth. When vacancies occur during the recess of the Senate, the President may fill them by granting commissions which expire at the end of the next session.1
110. Civil Service Appointments.-The Constitution allows Congress to do away with the assenting or confirming power of the Senate in the filling of all inferior offices, and then to place their filling, as it sees fit, in either the President, the courts, or the heads of departments. The appointment of a large number of inferior officers, such as postmasters and revenue collectors, is given exclusively to the President. These officials are mainly clerks in the civil service of the government. Efficiency and merit are the prime qualifications needed from such officials, and such qualifications would be deemed indispensable for clerks in the management of any private business. The principles that hold good in the conduct of private business ought to hold good in the conduct of government business. Politics ought to have no place in the appointment of such government officials as we are considering.
In consequence of the abuse of their power in the matter of such appointments by some of our Presidents, and after many years of discussion and of platform promises, Congress, in 1883, passed an Act, designed to "take the civil service out of politics," entitled "An Act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States," and commonly known as the "Pendleton Act." This law provides for the appointment by the President, with the assent of the Senate, of a Civil Service Commission. This commission consists of three persons, not more than two of whom are to belong to the same political party. They are to have the over1U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 2, Par. 3.
2 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 2, Par. 2.
sight of the appointments to the department service in Washington, and in custom houses, and in post offices having fifty clerks. Competitive examinations are held at stated times, and vacancies are filled from those who stand highest in the examinations. This law affects many thousand clerks in the customs and postal service of the country, and the security in their positions is no longer disturbed by a change in the Presidency. A beginning in the right direction has thus been made.
111. Relations between the President and Congress. We have already seen the part which the President takes in the making of laws through his "veto" power. He is further directed by the Constitution to give to Congress information on the state of the Union, and to recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall think necessary or expedient. This information he gives by means of written messages. He is authorized to convene on extraordinary occasions one or both houses of Congress. And if the two houses of Congress should be unable at any time to agree upon the time of their adjournment, he is authorized to adjourn them to such time as he deems proper.3
The only direct relation with Congress that the President has in making laws is in his vetoes, which Congress may override by a two-thirds vote, and in his messages, which Congress may entirely disregard. This arrangement agrees with the idea that was in the minds of the framers of the Constitution, that the different departments or branches of government-the legislative, executive, and judicial-should be entirely separate. No other great nation, however, carries this separation so far, and there are some practical inconveniences in it. 1 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 3. 2 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 3. 3 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 3.
Many suggestions have been made for bringing about a closer relation between the executive and legislative departments, as, for instance, making the cabinet officers members of Congress, just as in England the cabinet officers are members of Parliament.
§ 2. The Executive Departments.
112. The Cabinet.-Congress has established, for the discharge of the executive business of the government, eight departments, whose heads have seats in the President's cabinet, or advisory board. The First Congress established four such departments: the Departments of State, of the Treasury, of War, and of Justice. In 1798 the management of the navy was taken from the War Department and given to a special Department of the Navy. In 1829 the post office, which had been under the Treasury Department, was made an independent department. In 1849 the Department of the Interior was established; and in 1889 a Department of Agriculture was formed. The heads of these departments are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. They hold office at the will of the President, and are responsible to him for the proper performance of the duties of their offices.
113. The Department of State is presided over by the Secretary of State, whose most important duty is to manage the relations of the United States with foreign countries. This officer conducts the correspondence with foreign ministers and with our ministers and consuls abroad. He issues passports to American citizens visiting foreign countries. He issues warrants for the extradition of criminals in accordance with treaties with foreign governments. He has charge of treaties and negotiates new ones. He keeps the archives of the