Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Federalist Papers # 76

The Republicans are arguing that it's "unconstitutional" that Democrats have threatened to use the filibuster under the Senate rules to block the confirmation of seven of the President's judicial nominations. Democrats counter the Senate filibuster (used in the past by Republicans) is a necessary legislative instrument to keep the Executive nomination power in check.

At moments like this, I ask: WWAHD? (What would Alexander Hamilton do?).

Here's what he said in Federalist Papers #76:

"To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrance would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view of popularity. And, in addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration.

"[The President] would both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which [the President] particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him.

"To this reasoning it has been objected that the President, by the influence of the power of nomination, may secure the complaisance of the Senate to [the President's] views. . . . But it is as little to be doubted that there is always a large proportion of the body which consists of independent and public-spirited [people] who have an influential weight in the councils of the nation. Hence it is (the present reign not excepted) that the sense of that body is often seen to control the inclinations of the monarch, both with regard to [people] and to measures. Though it might therefore be allowable to suppose that the executive might occasionally influence some individuals in the Senate, yet the supposition that he could in general purchase the integrity of the whole body would be forced and improable."

I report, you decide.

1 comment:

kent.withers said...

The next time you converse with Mr. A. Hamilton, you might suggest that he make his arguments with fewer words. Meanwhile, I will write a short program to extract his meanings from his existing writings. I would be glad to tell him this myself, however I no long take a daily walk past his grave as I did when I worked in Wall Street.