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the first time immediately after the ratification of this amendment; that on the first Thursday in August in the year 18—, and on the same day every sixth year thereafter, the citizens of each State who possess the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures shall meet within their respective districts and vote for a President and Vice-President of the United States; and the person receiving the greatest number of votes for President and the one receiving the greatest number of votes for Vice-President in each district shall be holden to have received one vote, which fact shall be immediately certified by the governor of the State to each of the Senators in Congress from such State and to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Congress of the United States shall be in session on the second Monday in October in the year 18—, and on the same day in every sixth year thereafter; and the President of the Senate, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, shall open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be President, if such number be equal to a majority of the whole number of votes given; but if no person have such majority, then a second election shall be held on the first Thursday in the month of December then next ensuing between the persons having the two highest numbers for the office of President, which second election shall be conducted, the result certified, and the votes counted in the same manner as in the first, and the person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be President. But if two or more persons shall have received the greatest and an equal number of votes at the second election, then the person who shall have received the greatest number of votes in the greatest number of States shall be President. The person having the greatest number of votes for Vice-President at the first election shall be Vice-President, if such number be equal to a majority of the whole number of votes given; and if no person have such majority, then a second election shall take place between the persons having the two highest numbers on the same day that the second election is held for President, and the person having the highest number of the votes for Vice-President shall be Vice-President. But if there should happen to be an equality of votes between the persons so voted for at the second election, then the person having the greatest number of votes in the greatest number of States shall be Vice-President. But when a second election shall be necessary in the case of Vice-President and not necessary in the case of President, then the Senate shall choose a Vice-President from the persons having the two highest numbers in the first election, as now prescribed in the Constitution: Provided, That after the ratification of this amendment to the Constitution the President and VicePresident shall hold their offices, respectively, for the term of six years, and that no President or Vice-President shall be eligible for reelection to a second term."
SEC. 2. And be it further resolved, That Article II, section 1, paragraph 6, of the Constitution of the United States shall be amended so as to read as follows:
"In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice-President; and in the case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability both of the President and Vice-President, the powers and duties of said office shall devolve on the Secretary of State for the time being, and after this officer, in case of vacancy in that or other Department, and in the order in which they are named, on the Secretary of the Treasury, on the Secretary of War, on the Secretary of the Navy, on the Secretary of the Interior, on the Postmaster-General, and on the Attorney-General; and such officer, on whom the powers and duties of President shall devolve in accordance with the foregoing provisions, shall then act as President until the disability shall be removed or a President shall be elected, as is or may be provided for by law."
SEC. 3. And be it further resolved, That Article I, section 3, be amended by striking out the word "legislature," and inserting in lieu thereof the following words,
viz: "Persons qualified to vote for members of the most numerous branch of the legislature," so as to make the third section of said article, when ratified by threefourths of the States, read as follows, to wit:
“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the persons qualified to vote for the members of the most numerous branch of the legislature thereof, for six years, and each Senator shall have one vote."
SEC. 4. And be it further resolved, That Article III, section 1, be amended by striking out the words "good behavior," and inserting the following words, viz: "the term of twelve years." And further, that said article and section be amended by adding the following thereto, viz: "And it shall be the duty of the President of the United States, within twelve months after the ratificatiou of this amendment by threefourths of all the States, as provided by the Constitution of the United States, to divide the whole number of judges, as near as may be practicable, into three classes. The seats of the judges of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the fourth year from such classification, of the second class at the expiration of the eighth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the twelfth year, so that one-third may be chosen every fourth year thereafter."
The article as amended will read as follows:
SEC. 1. The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and such inferior courts as the Congress from time to time may ordain and establish. The judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during the term of twelve years, and shall at stated times receive for their services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office; and it shall be the duty of the President of the United States, within twelve months after the ratification of this amendment by three-fourths of all the States, as provided by the Constitution of the United States, to divide the whole number of judges, as near as may be practicable, into three classes. The seats of the judges of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the fourth year from such classification; of the second class, at the expiration of the eighth year; and of the third class, at the expiration of the twelfth year, so that one-third may be chosen every fourth year thereafter.
WASHINGTON, D. C., July 18, 1868.
To the House of Representatives:
In compliance with the resolution adopted by the House of Representatives on the 13th instant, requesting "copies of all instructions, records, and correspondence connected with the commission authorized to negotiate the late treaty with the Great and Little Osage Indians, and copies of all propositious made to said commission from railroad corporations or by individuals," I transmit the accompanying communications from the Secretary of the Interior, together with the papers to which they have reference. ANDREW JOHNSON.
WASHINGTON, July 20, 1868.
To the Senate of the United States:
I transmit to the Senate, in compliance with its resolution of the 9th instant, a report from the Secretary of State, communicating a copy of a
paper received by me this day, purporting to be a resolution of the senate and house of representatives of the State of Alabama ratifying the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States known as Article XIV. ANDREW JOHNSON.
WASHINGTON, July 24, 1868.
To the Senate of the United States:
I transmit herewith a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, inclosing a report of a board of naval officers appointed in pursuance of an act of Congress approved May 19, 1868, to select suitable locations for powder magazines. ANDREW JOHNSON.
WASHINGTON, July 27, 1868.
To the House of Representatives:
I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to their resolution of the 24th instant, the accompanying report* from the Secretary of State. ANDREW JOHNSON.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 25, 1868.
To the Senate of the United States:
I have considered, with such care as the pressure of other duties has permitted, a bill entitled "An act to amend an act entitled 'An act to amend the judiciary act, passed the 24th of September, 1789."" Not being able to approve all of its provisions, I herewith return it to the Senate, in which House it originated, with a brief statement of my objections.
The first section of the bill meets my approbation, as, for the purpose of protecting the rights of property from the erroneous decision of inferior judicial tribunals, it provides means for obtaining uniformity, by appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, in cases which have now become very numerous and of much public interest, and in which such remedy is not now allowed. The second section, however, takes away the right of appeal to that court in cases which involve the life and liberty of the citizen, and leaves them exposed to the judgment of numerous inferior tribunals. It is apparent that the two sections were
*Relating to absence from his post of the consul at Panama,
conceived in a very different spirit, and I regret that my objections to one impose upon me the necessity of withholding my sanction from the other.
I can not give my assent to a measure which proposes to deprive any person "restrained of his or her liberty in violation of the Constitution or of any treaty or law of the United States" from the right of appeal to the highest judicial authority known to our Government. To "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" is one of the declared objects of the Federal Constitution. To assure these, guaranties are provided in the same instrument, as well against "unreasonable searches and seizures" as against the suspensions of "the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, * * * unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it." It was doubtless to afford the people the means of protecting and enforcing these inestimable privileges that the jurisdiction which this bill proposes to take away was conferred upon the Supreme Court of the nation. The act conferring that jurisdiction was approved on the 5th day of February, 1867,with a full knowledge of the motives that prompted its passage, and because it was believed to be necessary and right. Nothing has since occurred to disprove the wisdom and justness of the measures, and to modify it as now proposed would be to lessen the protection of the citizen from the exercise of arbitrary power and to weaken the safeguards of life and liberty, which can never be made too secure against illegal encroachments.
The bill not only prohibits the adjudication by the Supreme Court of cases in which appeals may hereafter be taken, but interdicts its jurisdiction on appeals which have already been made to that high judicial body. If, therefore, it should become a law, it will by its retroactive operation wrest from the citizen a remedy which he enjoyed at the time of his appeal. It will thus operate most harshly upon those who believe that justice has been denied them in the inferior courts.
The legislation proposed in the second section, it seems to me, is not in harmony with the spirit and intention of the Constitution. It can not fail to affect most injuriously the just equipoise of our system of Government, for it establishes a precedent which, if followed, may eventually sweep away every check on arbitrary and unconstitutional legislation. Thus far during the existence of the Government the Supreme Court of the United States has been viewed by the people as the true expounder of their Constitution, and in the most violent party conflicts its judgments and decrees have always been sought and deferred to with confidence and respect. In public estimation it combines judicial wisdom and impartiality in a greater degree than any other authority known to the Constitution, and any act which may be construed into or mistaken for an attempt to prevent or evade its decision on a question which affects the liberty of the citizens and agitates the country can not fail to be attended with unpropitious consequences. It will be justly held by a large portion of the people as an admission of the unconstitutionality of
the act on which its judgment may be forbidden or forestalled, and may interfere with that willing acquiescence in its provisions which is necessary for the harmonious and efficient execution of any law.
For these reasons, thus briefly and imperfectly stated, and for others, of which want of time forbids the enumeration, I deem it my duty to withhold my assent from this bill, and to return it for the reconsideration of Congress. ANDREW JOHNSON.
WASHINGTON, D. C., June 20, 1868.
To the House of Representatives:
I return without my signature a bill entitled "An act to admit the State of Arkansas to representation in Congress."
The approval of this bill would be an admission on the part of the Executive that the "Act for the more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March 2, 1867, and the acts supplementary thereto were proper and constitutional. My opinion, however, in reference to those measures has undergone no change, but, on the contrary, has been strengthened by the results which have attended their execution. Even were this not the case, I could not consent to a bill which is based upon the assumption either that by an act of rebellion of a portion of its people the State of Arkansas seceded from the Union, or that Congress may at its pleasure expel or exclude a State from the Union, or interrupt its relations with the Government by arbitrarily depriving it of representation in the Senate and House of Representatives. If Arkansas is a State not in the Union, this bill does not admit it as a State into the Union. If, on the other hand, Arkansas is a State in the Union, no legislation is necessary to declare it entitled "to representation in Congress as one of the States of the Union." The Constitution already declares that "each State shall have at least one Representative;" that the Senate "shall be composed of two Senators from each State," and "that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."
That instrument also makes each House "the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members," and therefore all that is now necessary to restore Arkansas in all its constitutional relations to the Government is a decision by each House upon the eligibility of those who, presenting their credentials, claim seats in the respective Houses of Congress. This is the plain and simple plan of the Constitution; and believing that had it been pursued when Congress assembled in the month of December, 1865, the restoration of the States would long since have been completed, I once again earnestly recommend that it be adopted by each House in preference to legislation, which I respectfully submit is not only of at least doubtful constitutionality, and therefore unwise and dangerous as a precedent, but is unnecessary, not so effective in its operation as the mode prescribed by the Constitution,