[House Document 106-216]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

106th Congress                                                  H. Doc.
 2d Session                                                     106-216


                        OUR AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

                              2000 Edition

        Printed by authority of H. Con. Res. 221, 106th Congress

H. Con. Res. 221                              Agreed to January 31, 2000

                       One Hundred Sixth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America

                         AT THE SECOND SESSION

 Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday, the thirty-first 
                      day of January, two thousand

                         Concurrent Resolution

    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives 
    (a) In General.--An edition of the brochure entitled ``Our 
American Government'', as revised under the direction of the 
Parliamentarian of the House of Representatives in consultation 
with the Parliamentarian of the Senate, shall be printed as a 
House document under the direction of the Joint Committee on 
    (b) Additional Copies.--In addition to the usual number, 
there shall be printed the lesser of--
          (1) 550,000 copies of the document, of which 440,000 
        copies shall be for the use of the House of 
        Representatives, 100,000 copies shall be for the use of 
        the Senate, and 10,000 copies shall be for the use of 
        the Joint Committee on Printing; or
          (2) such number of copies of the document as does not 
        exceed a total production and printing cost of 
        $412,873, with distribution to be allocated in the same 
        proportion as described in paragraph (1), except that 
        in no case shall the number of copies be less than 1 
        per Member of Congress.

                                             Gary L. Sisco,
                                           Secretary of the Senate.

                                             Jeff Trandahl,
                             Clerk of the House of Representatives.
                            C O N T E N T S

Foreword.........................................................     V
Democracy and Its American Interpretation........................     1
The Constitution.................................................     2
The Legislative Branch...........................................     6
The Congress.....................................................     6
    Members, Offices, and Staff..................................     6
    Congressional Process and Powers.............................    21
    Congressional Rules and Procedures...........................    24
    The Committee System.........................................    33
The Executive Branch.............................................    38
    The President and Vice President.............................    40
    The Executive Departments and Agencies.......................    50
The Independent Agencies and Commissions.........................    52
The Judicial Branch..............................................    53
    The Courts of the United States..............................    53
    The Justices and Judges......................................    55
The Electoral Process............................................    56
Information Resources............................................    65


Glossary of Legislative Terms....................................    75
Selective Bibliography and References............................    82
State Population and House Apportionment.........................    85
House and Senate Political Divisions.............................    86
The Declaration of Independence..................................    89
Constitution of the United States................................    93
    Amendments to the Constitution...............................   105
    Proposed Amendments to the Constitution Not Ratified by the 
      States.....................................................   121
Index............................................................   125

    The Committee on House Administration is pleased to present 
this revised book on our United States Government.

    This publication continues to be a popular introductory 
guide for American citizens and those of other countries who 
seek a greater understanding of our heritage of democracy. The 
question-and-answer format covers a broad range of topics 
dealing with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches 
of our Government as well as the electoral process and the role 
of political parties.

William M. Thomas,                              Mitch McConnell,
    Chairman.                                     Vice Chairman.
                        OUR AMERICAN GOVERNMENT



1. What is the purpose of the U.S. Government?
    The purpose is expressed in the preamble to the 
Constitution: ``We the People of the United States, in Order to 
form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic 
Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the 
general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to 
ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this 
Constitution for the United States of America.''
2. What form of government do we have in the United States?
    The United States, under its Constitution, is a federal, 
representative, democratic republic, an indivisible union of 50 
sovereign States. With the exception of town meetings, a form 
of pure democracy, we have at the local, state, and national 
levels a government which is: ``federal'' because power is 
shared among these three levels; ``democratic'' because the 
people govern themselves and have the means to control the 
government; and ``republic'' because the people choose elected 
delegates by free and secret ballot.
3. What is the role of the citizen in our Government?
    The United States today is even more of a participatory 
democracy than was envisioned by the Founders when they 
established a government ``of the people, by the people, and 
for the people,'' as President Abraham Lincoln later described 
it. Along with the constitutional responsibilities which 
accompany citizenship, such as obeying laws and paying taxes, 
the citizen is afforded a wide range of rights and 
opportunities to influence the making of public policy by the 

    At the most basic level, the right to vote gives the 
citizen a chance to help select those who will ultimately be 
responsible for determining public policy. Beyond casting the 
ballot, a citizen may actively assist in nominating and 
electing preferred public officials through volunteer 
activities and campaign donations. The participation of 
citizens in the electoral process contributes greatly to the 
sense of legitimacy of the Government.

    Citizen involvement in the Government need not be 
manifested only during election campaigns. Legislators are 
accustomed to hearing from constituents expressing opinions 
about issues of the day, and procedures exist that mandate that 
executive agencies allow time for public comment before 
proposed regulations become final. Individuals may also join 
with others who hold similar views to make the most of their 
influence with Government on particular issues; this is how 
interest groups or political action committees are established 
and the lobbying process begins.
4. What contributions has our country made to the institution of 
    Some of the U.S. contributions to the institution of 
government are as follows: a written constitution, an 
independent judiciary to interpret the Constitution, and a 
division of powers between the Federal and State Governments.

                            THE CONSTITUTION

5. What is the Constitution?
    The Constitution is the basic and supreme law of the United 
States. It prescribes the structure of the U.S. Government, 
provides the legal foundation on which all its actions must 
rest, and enumerates and guarantees the rights due all its 

    The Constitution is a document prepared by a convention of 
delegates from 12 of the 13 States that met at Philadelphia in 
1787. The original charter, which replaced the Articles of 
Confederation and which became operative in 1789, established 
the United States as a federal union of States, a 
representative democracy within a republic. The framers 
provided a Government of three independent branches. The first 
is the legislature, which comprises a two-house or bicameral 
Congress consisting of a Senate, whose Members are apportioned 
equally among the States, and a House of Representatives, whose 
Members are apportioned among the States according to 
population. The second, the executive branch, includes the 
President and Vice President and all subordinate officials of 
the executive departments and executive agencies. The third 
branch, the judiciary, consists of the Supreme Court and 
various subordinate Federal courts created by public law.

    The 27 amendments approved since 1791 are also an integral 
part of the Constitution. These include amendments 1 through 
10, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, and amendments 11 
through 27, which address a wide range of subjects. At the 
present time, four amendments without ratification deadlines 
are pending before the States. These deal with congressional 
apportionment, child labor, titles of nobility from foreign 
powers, and certain States rights (in a pre-Civil War 
proposal). In addition, the ratification deadlines expired on 
two proposed amendments, which had been approved by Congress in 
the 1970s: i.e., equal rights for women and men and voting 
representation for the District of Columbia in the Senate and 
6. What were the basic principles on which the Constitution was framed?
    The framers of the Constitution debated and agreed to the 
following six basic principles:

          1. That all States would be equal. The National 
        Government cannot give special privileges to one State.

          2. That there should be three branches of 
        Government--one to make the laws, another to execute 
        them, and a third to interpret them.

          3. That the Government is a government of laws, not 
        of men. No one is above the law. No officer of the 
        Government can use authority unless and except as the 
        Constitution or public law permits.

          4. That all men are equal before the law and that 
        anyone, rich or poor, can demand the protection of the 

          5. That the people can change the authority of the 
        Government by changing (amending) the Constitution. 
        (One such change provided for the election of Senators 
        by direct popular vote instead of by State 

          6. That the Constitution, and the laws of the United 
        States and treaties made pursuant to it, are ``the 
        supreme Law of the Land.''

7. What is the Bill of Rights?

    The Bill of Rights is a series of constitutionally 
protected rights of citizens. The first 10 amendments to the 
Constitution, ratified by the required number of States on 
December 15, 1791, are commonly referred to as the Bill of 
Rights. The first eight amendments set out or enumerate the 
substantive and procedural individual rights associated with 
that description. The 9th and 10th amendments are general rules 
of interpretation of the relationships among the people, the 
State governments, and the Federal Government. The ninth 
amendment provides that the ``enumeration in the Constitution, 
of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage 
others retained by the people.'' The 10th amendment reads: 
``The powers not delegated to the United States by the 
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved 
to the States respectively, or to the people.''

8. What are the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights?

          Right to freedom of religion, speech, and press 
        (Amendment I);

          Right to assemble peaceably, and to petition the 
        Government for a redress of grievances (Amendment I);

          Right to keep and bear arms in common defense 
        (Amendment II);

          Right not to have soldiers quartered in one's home in 
        peacetime without the consent of the owner, nor in time 
        of war except as prescribed by law (Amendment III);

          Right to be secure against ``unreasonable searches 
        and seizures'' (Amendment IV);

          Right in general not to be held to answer criminal 
        charges except upon indictment by a grand jury 
        (Amendment V);

          Right not to be put twice in jeopardy for the same 
        offense (Amendment V);

          Right not to be compelled to be a witness against 
        oneself in a criminal case (Amendment V);

          Right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or 
        property without due process of law (Amendment V);

          Right to just compensation for private property taken 
        for public use (Amendment V);

          Right in criminal prosecution to a speedy and public 
        trial by an impartial jury, to be informed of the 
        charges, to be confronted with witnesses, to have a 
        compulsory process for calling witnesses in defense of 
        the accused, and to have legal counsel (Amendment VI);

          Right to a jury trial in suits at common law 
        involving over $20 (Amendment VII);

          Right not to have excessive bail required, nor 
        excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual 
        punishments inflicted (Amendment VIII).

9. How may the Constitution be amended?

    Amending the Constitution involves two separate processes.

    First, amendments may be proposed on the initiative of 
Congress (by two-thirds affirmative vote in each House) or by 
convention (on application of two-thirds of the State 
legislatures). So far, a convention has never been called.

    The second step is ratification of a proposed amendment. At 
the discretion of Congress, Congress may designate ratification 
either by the State legislatures or by conventions. 
Ratification requires approval by three-fourths of the States. 
Out of the 27 amendments, only one (the 21st, ending 
Prohibition) has been ratified by State conventions.

    The first 10 amendments (ratified in 1791) were practically 
a part of the original instrument. The 11th amendment was 
ratified in 1795, and the 12th amendment in 1804. Thereafter, 
no amendment was made to the Constitution for 60 years. Shortly 
after the Civil War, three amendments were ratified (1865-70), 
followed by another long interval before the 16th amendment 
became effective in 1913. The most recent amendment, the 27th, 
was ratified on May 7, 1992. At the present time, there are 
four amendments pending before the States that were proposed 
without ratification deadlines.

10. How long may a proposed amendment to the Constitution remain 
        outstanding and open to ratification?

    The Supreme Court has stated that ratification must be 
within ``some reasonable time after the proposal.'' Beginning 
with the 18th amendment, it has been customary for Congress to 
set a definite period for ratification. In the case of the 
18th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd amendments, the period set was 7 
years, but there has been no determination as to just how long 
a ``reasonable time'' might extend.

    In the case of the proposed equal rights amendment, the 
Congress extended the ratification period from 7 to 
approximately 10 years; but the proposed Amendment was never 

    The ``reasonable time'' doctrine recently arose, as well, 
in connection with an amendment pertaining to congressional 
pay, proposed in 1789 without a ratification deadline. The 38th 
State, Michigan, ratified this amendment on May 7, 1992-203 
years after its proposal. The amendment was certified by the 
Archivist of the United States, since it did not carry a term 
limitation, as the 27th Amendment to the Constitution.

11. What is the ``lame duck'' amendment?

    The ``lame duck'' amendment is the popular name for the 
20th amendment to the Constitution, ratified on February 6, 
1933. It is designed to limit the time that elected officials 
can serve after the general election in November. This 
amendment provides, among other things, that the terms of the 
President and Vice President end at noon on January 20, the 
terms of Senators and Representatives end at noon on January 3, 
and the terms of their successors then begin.

    Prior to this amendment, the annual session of Congress 
began on the first Monday in December (Article 1, Section 4). 
Since the terms of new Members formerly did not begin until 
March 4, Members who had been defeated or did not stand for 
reelection in November continued to serve during the lame duck 
session from December until March 4. Adoption of the 20th 
amendment has reduced but not eliminated legislation by a 
Congress that does not represent the latest choice of the 
people. For instance, 11 of the 33 Congresses from 1933 to 1999 
(73rd through the 105th Congress) continued to meet after the 
November general elections.

12. Have any amendments to the Constitution been repealed?

    Only one, the 18th amendment (Prohibition), ratified in 
early 1919, was repealed by the 21st amendment in late 1933.

13. What is meant by the ``separation of powers'' and ``checks and 
        balances'' in the Federal Government?

    The separation of powers and checks and balances are two 
fundamental principles underlying the Constitution. They work 
together to prevent a tyrannous concentration of power in any 
one branch, to check and restrain Government, and, ultimately, 
to protect the rights and liberties of citizens.

    The Constitution contains provisions in separate articles 
for the three branches of Government--legislative, executive, 
and judicial. There is a significant difference in the grants 
of authority to these branches, each of which is also given an 
independent base of political power. The First Article, dealing 
with legislativepower, vests in Congress ``All legislative 
Powers herein granted''; the Second Article vests ``The executive 
Power'' in the President; and the Third Article states that ``The 
judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme 
Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to 
time ordain and establish.'' In addition to this separation and 
independence among the three branches, the Constitution sets up 
``auxiliary precautions,'' as James Madison called them in the 
Federalist Papers, that allow each branch to check and balance the 
others. For instance, the President can veto bills approved by Congress 
and nominates individuals to the Federal judiciary; the Supreme Court 
can declare a law enacted by Congress or an action by the President 
unconstitutional; and Congress can impeach and remove the President and 
Federal court justices and judges.

                         THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

                              THE CONGRESS

14. What is Congress?

    The Congress of the United States is the legislative 
(lawmaking) and oversight (Government policy review) body of 
our National Government, and consists of two Houses--the Senate 
and the House of Representatives.

                      Members, Offices, and Staff

15. What qualifications are prescribed for a Member of Congress?

    The Constitution (Article 1, Section 2 for the House and 
Section 3 for the Senate) prescribes qualifications for Members 
of Congress.

    A Member of the House of Representatives must be at least 
25 years of age when entering office, must have been a U.S. 
citizen for at least seven years, and must be a resident of the 
State in which the election occurred.

    A Member of the U.S. Senate must be at least 30 years of 
age to enter office, must have been a U.S. citizen for nine 
years, and must be a resident of the State in which the 
election occurred.

16. What is the term of a Congress and how often must it meet?

    A Congress begins at noon, January 3 of each odd-numbered 
year following a general election, unless by law a different 
day is designated. A Congress lasts for two years, with each 
year normally constituting a separate session.

    The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 requires 
Congress to adjourn sine die not later than July 31 of each 
year unless there is a declared war, or unless Congress 
otherwise provides. In odd-numbered years, Congress must take 
an August recess if it fails to adjourn by July 31.

    Neither the House nor the Senate may adjourn for more than 
three days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) without 
the concurrence of the other Chamber. It has also become a 
common practice for Congress to adjourn after making provision 
for the House and Senate leaders to summon Congress back into 
session in emergency circumstances. Similarly, the Constitution 
grants the President the authority to summon the Congress for a 
special session if circumstances require.

17. How many Members does each State have in the Senate and House of 

    Each State, under the Constitution, is entitled to two 
Senators, each serving a six-year term, and at least one 
Representative, serving a two-year term. Additional House seats 
are apportioned on the basis of State population. (See State 
Population and House Apportionment table in Appendix.)

18. What is the size of the House of Representatives and how is it 

    The membership of the House of Representatives is fixed in 
law at 435 Members representing the 50 States. In addition to 
the 435 Representatives, there is one Delegate for each of the 
following: the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, 
and American Samoa (each elected for a two-year term); as well 
as a Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico (elected for a 
four-year term). The Delegates and the Resident Commissioner 
can sponsor legislation and vote in committees, but not in the 
House Chamber.

    The Constitution entitles each State to at least one 
Representative. Beyond this minimum, Representatives are 
apportioned among the States according to population. 
Population figures used for apportionment are determined on the 
basis of each 10-year census. (Following the 1990 census, the 
average district size was about 570,000 people). Since 1941, 
Congress has used the method of ``equal proportions'' to 
calculate actual apportionment, in order to minimize the 
differences in district populations among the States.

19. Who defines the congressional districts--the Federal Government or 
        the States?

    Congress fixes the size of the House of Representatives, 
and the procedure for apportioning the number of 
Representatives among the States, and the States themselves 
proceed from there. State legislatures pass laws defining the 
physical boundaries of congressional districts, within certain 
constraints established by Congress and the Supreme Court 
(through its reapportionment and redistricting rulings). Each 
State is apportioned its number of Representatives by means of 
the Department of Commerce's decennial census.

    In the very early years of the Republic, most States 
elected their Representatives at large. The practice of 
dividing a State into districts, however, was soon instituted. 
Congress later required that Representatives be elected from 
``districts composed of a contiguous and compact territory,'' 
but this requirement is no longer in Federal law.

    The redistricting process has always been provided for by 
State law, but Congress can choose to exercise greater 
authority over redistricting. In 1967, for example, Congress by 
law prohibited at-large elections of Representatives in all 
States entitled to more than one Representative. Today, all 
States with more than one Representative must elect their 
Representatives from single-Member districts.

20. What is a Member of Congress?

    A Member of Congress is a person serving in the Senate or 
the House of Representatives. A Member of the Senate is 
referred to as Senator, and a Member of the House of 
Representatives, as Representative or Congressman or 

21. What is a Delegate or Resident Commissioner, as distinguished from 
        a Representative?

    The office of Delegate was established by ordinance from 
the Continental Congress (1774-89) and confirmed by a law of 
Congress. From the beginning of the Republic, accordingly, the 
House of Representatives has admitted Delegates from 
Territories or districts organized by law. Delegates and 
Resident Commissioners may participate in House debate but they 
are not permitted to vote on the floor. All serve on committees 
of the House and possess powers and privileges equal to other 
Members in committee, including the right to vote in committee. 
Currently, there are four Delegates in the House and one 
Resident Commissioner.

22. What oath of office is required for Members of Congress, and when 
        is it administered?

    Article VI of the U.S. Constitution requires that Members 
of Congress, and all executive and judicial officers, shall be 
bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. The 
oath of office is as follows: ``I, AB, solemnly swear (or 
affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the 
United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I 
will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take 
this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or 
purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully 
discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to 
enter. So help me God.''

    Representatives take the oath of office on the first day of 
the new Congress, immediately after the House has elected its 
Speaker. Those Senators elected or reelected the previous 
November take the oath of office as the first item of business 
when the Senate convenes the following January. Representatives 
elected in special elections during the course of a Congress, 
and Senators appointed to fill a vacancy in the Senate, 
generally take the oath of office on the floor of their 
respective Chamber when the Clerk of the House or the Secretary 
of the Senate has received formal notice of the new Member's 
election or appointment from State government authorities. On 
rare occasions, because of illness or other circumstances, a 
Member-elect has been authorized to take the oath of office at 
a place other than the House or Senate Chamber. In those 
circumstances, the Clerk of the House or Secretary of the 
Senate sees to the proper administration of the oath.

23. In the event of the death, resignation, or declination (refusal to 
        serve) of a Member of Congress, how is the vacancy filled?

    The Constitution (Article II, Section 2, Clause 4) requires 
that all vacancies in the House of Representatives be filled by 
election. All States require special elections to fill any 
House seat that becomes vacant during the First Session of a 
Congress. Procedures governing vacancies occurring during the 
Second Session of a Congress differ from State to State, and 
are largely dependent on the amount of time intervening between 
the vacancy and the next general election.

    In the Senate, when a vacancy occurs for any reason, the 
17th Amendment directs the Governor of the State to call an 
election to fill such vacancy, and authorizes the legislature 
to make provision for an immediate appointment pending such 
election. Among the States, only Arizona does not allow the 
Governor to make interim appointments, requiring, instead, a 
special election to fill any Senate vacancy. Prevailing 
practice in the States is that a special election to fill the 
vacancy is scheduled to be held at the time of the next 
statewide general election.

24. How can Members of Congress be removed from office or punished for 

    It is generally understood in Congress that the impeachment 
process stipulated in the Constitution, which involves both 
House and Senate actions, applies only to the removal of the 
President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justices, and Federal 
judges, and civil officers of the U.S. Government, and not to 
the removal of Members of Congress from office. The 
Constitution states that ``Each House shall be the Judge of the 
. . . Qualifications of its own Members . . . [and may] punish 
its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and with the Concurrence 
of two thirds, expel a Member.'' Thus, disciplinary actions 
taken against a Member are a matter of concern for that House 
acting alone.

    Each Chamber has established a committee charged with 
reviewing allegations of misconduct against its Members: the 
House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and the Senate 
Ethics Committee. The Rules of the House and Senate also 
contain a Code of Official Conduct. The ethics committees 
review charges against a Member filed by another Member or by a 
private citizen.

    The most severe punishment that can be imposed by either 
the House or Senate is the expulsion of the offending Member. 
This action requires, constitutionally, an affirmative vote of 
two-thirds of the Members of the Chamber voting, a quorum being 
present. Alternatively, the House may vote to ``censure'' a 
Member for misconduct. This requires only a majority vote, and, 
under party rules in the House, a censured Member automatically 
loses any committee or party leadership positions held during 
that Congress. In the Senate, the terms ``censure'' and 
``denunciation'' are used almost interchangeably for violations 
of this magnitude.

    A less severe form of disciplinary action in both the House 
and Senate is a ``reprimand,'' again imposed by a Chamber by a 
simple majority vote. Typically,reprimands are reserved for 
ethical violations that are minor, or appear to be inadvertent or 
unintentional on the part of the Member.

    Additionally, Members of Congress are subject to 
prosecution for treason, felony, or breach of the peace. 
Generally, when a Member has been indicted for a felony, a 
``leave of absence'' from any party or committee leadership 
position must be taken so long as the charges are pending. 
Usually, the House or Senate will not initiate internal 
disciplinary action until the criminal proceedings against the 
Member have been completed.

25. Are Members of Congress, to some extent, privileged from arrest?

    Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution states that 
Senators and Representatives ``shall in all Cases, except 
Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from 
Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their 
respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the 
same.'' The phrase ``Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace'' 
has been construed to mean all indictable crimes, and the 
Supreme Court has held that the privilege against arrest does 
not apply in any criminal cases.

26. Who are the officers of the House and how are they chosen?

    Elected officers include the Speaker, Clerk, Sergeant at 
Arms, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), and Chaplain. Another 
officer, the Inspector General, is appointed jointly by the 
Speaker, Majority Leader, and Minority Leader. Each of these 
officers appoints the employees provided by law for his or her 
department. (For an overview of the House's leadership and 
administrative structure, see the accompanying graphic, House 
of Representatives.)

    The Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) says that the House 
``shall chuse [sic] their Speaker and other officers''; i.e., 
the Members vote as they do on any other question, except that 
in most cases it is strictly a party vote. Republicans and 
Democrats both meet before the House organizes for a new 
Congress, and choose a slate of officers. These two slates are 
presented at the first session of the House, and the majority-
party slate can be expected to be selected. Traditionally, the 
majority party's nominee for Chaplain is not contested. The 
nominees for Clerk, Sergeant at Arms, CAO, and Chaplain are 
elected by a tally recorded by the House's electronic voting 
machine. For election of the Speaker, Members' names are called 
alphabetically, and they respond by orally stating the name of 
the candidate they prefer.

27. What are the duties of the officers and senior officials of the 

    The officers and officials of the House are, except where 
noted, elected by the House at the beginning of each Congress. 
They are the principal managers for the House of essential 
legislative, financial, administrative, and security functions. 
Their duties are prescribed in House Rule II and in statutes.

    The Clerk of the House.--The Clerk is the chief legislative 
officer of the House. After each election, the Clerk receives 
the credentials of newly elected Members and presides at the 
opening of each new Congress pending the election of a Speaker. 
The Clerk keeps the official Journal of House proceedings, 
certifies all votes, and signs all bills and resolutions that 
have passed the House. The Clerk's office supervises 
legislative information resources in the House, the page 
program, and units providing public documents to the press and 

    The Sergeant at Arms.--The Sergeant at Arms is responsible 
for maintaining order on the floor and in the galleries when 
the House is in session. The office also maintains security in 
the House side of the Capitol and in House office buildings and 
facilities. As part of this responsibility, the House Sergeant 
at Arms, along with his or her Senate counterpart and the 
Architect of the Capitol, comprise the Capitol Police Board and 
the Capitol Guide Board. In addition, the Sergeant at Arms is 
charged with carrying out Section 5 of Article I of the 
Constitution, which authorizes the House (and Senate) ``to 
compel the Attendance of absent Members.''

    The Chaplain.--The House Chaplain opens each daily House 
session with a prayer and provides pastoral services to House 
Members, their families, and staff. He also arranges for visits 
by guest chaplains. Traditionally, the Chaplain retains his 
post when party control of the House changes.

    The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).--The CAO is the 
principal House officer responsible for the financial 
management of House of Representatives accounts. Quarterly, his 
office issues a public document identifying all expenditures 
made by House Members, committees, and officers from 
appropriated funds at their disposal. The CAO's office, in 
addition to its financial management responsibilities, provides 
a range of services to Member and committee offices, including 
telecommunications, postal, and computer services, office 
supply and maintenance services, payroll and accounting 
services, employee counseling and assistance programs, and 
supervises private vendors and contractors providing services 
to the House.

    The Inspector General (IG).--The Inspector General is the 
chief investigative officer of the House. His office (either 
through its own staff or through consultants) conducts periodic 
audits of House financial and administrative offices and 
operations. The IG's findings and recommendations are submitted 
to the appropriate House offices, to the congressional 
leadership, and to the House Administration Committee. The IG 
serves a two-year term and is jointly appointed by the Speaker, 
the Majority Leader, and the Minority Leader.

    The General Counsel.--The General Counsel is the chief 
legal advisor to the House, its leaders and officers, and to 
its Members. The office represents the House, its Members, or 
employees in litigation resulting from the performance of 
official duties. The General Counsel is appointed by the 
Speaker in consultation with a bipartisan legal advisory group, 
which includes the Majority and Minority leaders.

    The Historian.--By statute, the Office of the Historian 
acts to preserve the historical records of the House and its 
Members, to encourage historical research on the House, and to 
undertake original research and writing on the history of the 
House. The Historian is appointed by the Speaker. When the post 
is vacant, other legislative branch organizations and offices 
may perform some of these services and functions.

28. What are the duties of the Speaker?

    The Speaker presides over the House, appoints chairmen to 
preside over the Committee of the Whole, appoints all special 
or select committees, appoints conference committees, has the 
power of recognition of Members to speak, and makes many 
important rulings and decisions in the House. The Speaker may 
vote, but usually does not, except in case of a tie. The 
Speaker and the Majority Leader determine the legislative 
agenda for the House and often confer with the President and 
with the Senate leadership.

29. Could a person other than an elected Representative in Congress 
        serve as Speaker of the House?

    Technically, yes. There is no constitutional impediment to 
such a selection. The House is empowered to choose its Speaker 
and other officers without restriction. But this possibility is 
unlikely, and indeed, the Speaker has always been a Member of 
the House.

30. Who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the longest 
        period of time?

    Sam Rayburn, of Texas, who was a Member of the House for 48 
years and 8 months, served as Speaker for 17 years and 2 
months. However, the record for longest continuous service as 
Speaker is held by Thomas P. ``Tip'' O'Neill, of Massachusetts, 
who served consecutively for 10 years, thus surpassing John 
McCormack (8 years, 11 months, and 23 days); Champ Clark (7 
years, 10 months, and 29 days); and Joseph G. Cannon (7 years, 
3 months, and 24 days).

31. Who presides over the Senate?

    The Constitution provides that ``the Vice President of the 
United States shall be the President of the Senate'' (Article 
1, section 3). As President of the Senate, the Vice President 
presides over the Senate, makes parliamentary rulings (which 
may be overturned by a majority vote of the Senate), and may 
cast tie-breaking votes. At first, Vice Presidents presided on 
a regular basis, but in recent years they are present in the 
chair only when a close vote is anticipated, during major 
debates, or on important ceremonial occasions (such as the 
swearing in of newly elected Senators, or during joint 
sessions). In the absence of the Vice President, the Senate 
elects a President pro tempore (president ``for the time 
being'') to preside. In recent decades it has become 
traditional for this post to go to the senior Senator from the 
majority party. The President pro tempore assigns other Members 
of the majority party to preside by rotation during each day's 
proceedings. These Senators and the President pro tempore 
retain their rights to vote on all issues before the body and 
to debate when they are not presiding.

32. Who are the officers of the Senate, how are they chosen, and what 
        are their duties?

    By resolution, the Senate elects five officers: the 
Secretary, Sergeant at Arms, Chaplain, Secretary for the 
Majority, and Secretary for the Minority. (For an overview of 
the Senate's leadership and administrative structure, see the 
accompanying graphic, United States Senate.)

    Secretary of the Senate.--As the Senate's chief 
administrative officer, the Secretary supervises offices and 
services supporting the Senate's day-to-day operations, 
including those of the Parliamentarian and the legislative and 
executive business clerks responsible for processing 
legislative documentation. Among the other offices supervised 
by the Secretary are the Senate Library, the Senate Historical 
Office, curatorial and conservation offices, and the offices of 
the reporters of debates and of the Daily Digest. The Secretary 
officially certifies the bills and resolutions passed by the 
Senate, records Senator's oaths of office, records the 
registration of lobbyists, and administers the Federal election 
records required to be filed by senatorial candidates.

    Sergeant at Arms.--The Sergeant at Arms is the chief law 
enforcement and security officer of the Senate, charged with 
enforcing Senate rules and regulations in the Chamber, and in 
Senate office buildings. The Sergeant at Arms implements orders 
of the Senate, including locating absent Senators and, when so 
directed, making arrests. The Sergeant at Arms notified 
President Andrew Johnson in 1868 and President William 
Jefferson Clinton in 1999 of impeachment charges to be tried in 
the Senate. As the Senate's protocol officer, the Sergeant at 
Arms escorts the President and other dignitaries during 
official visits to the Capitol, leads formal processions during 
Senate ceremonies, and arranges funerals for Senators who die 
in office. The Sergeant at Arms supervises many Senate support 
services, including the Senate Computer Center; the Service 
Department; Senate postal and telecommunications services, 
gallery services including pages, media galleries and services, 
recording studios, doorkeepers, and Capitol tour guides, among 

    Secretary for the Majority.--Generally nominated by the 
Majority Leader with the approval of the majority conference 
(the organizational body of all majority party senators), the 
Secretary for the Majority oversees party activities in the 
Senate Chamber and the majority cloakroom. The Secretary 
supervises telephone pages and messengers, organizes meetings 
of the majority conference, briefs Senators and staff on 
pending measures and votes, and conducts polls of Senators when 
requested by party leaders to determine Senators' views on 
scheduling issues and pending Senate business.

    Secretary for the Minority.--The Secretary for the Minority 
is chosen in the same manner as is the majority secretary, that 
is, by the minority leadership and conference. The duties of 
the post are essentially the same as those of the majority 
party secretary.

    Chaplain.--Nominated in the conference of the majority-
party Senators, the full Senate elects the Senate Chaplain. The 
Chaplain prepares and offers the conveningprayer each day the 
Senate is in session; provides pastoral services to Senators, their 
families and staffs; and supervises the scheduling of appearances by 
guest chaplains. Traditionally, changes in party control do not 
interrupt the tenure of the Chaplain of the Senate.

33. What are party Leaders?

    The political parties in the House and Senate elect Leaders 
to represent them on the floor, to advocate their policies and 
viewpoints, to coordinate their legislative efforts, and to 
help determine the schedule of legislative business. The 
Leaders serve as spokespersons for their parties and for the 
House and Senate as a whole. Since the Framers of the 
Constitution did not anticipate political parties, these 
leadership posts are not defined in the Constitution but have 
evolved over time. The House, with its larger membership, 
required Majority and Minority Leaders in the 19th century to 
expedite legislative business and to keep their parties united. 
The Senate did not formally designate party floor leaders until 
the 1920s, although several caucus chairmen and committee 
chairmen had previously performed similar duties. In both 
Houses, the parties also elect assistant leaders, or ``Whips.'' 
The Majority Leader is elected by the majority-party conference 
(or caucus), the Minority Leader by the minority-party 
conference. Third parties have rarely had enough members to 
need to elect their own leadership, and independents will 
generally join one of the larger party organizations to receive 
committee assignments. Majority and Minority Leaders receive a 
higher salary than other Members in recognition of their 
additional responsibilities.

34. Are the Majority Leaders elected by their respective Houses of 

    No. Rather, Members of the majority party in the House, 
meeting in caucus or conference, select the Majority Leader. 
The minority-party Members, in a similar meeting, select their 
Minority Leader. The majority and minority parties in the 
Senate also hold separate meetings to elect their leaders.

35. What are the duties of the ``Whips'' of the Congress?

    The Whips (of the majority and minority parties) keep track 
of all politically important legislation and endeavor to have 
all members of their parties present when important measures 
are to be voted upon. When a vote appears to be close, the 
Whips contact absent Members of their party, and advise them of 
the vote. The Whips assist the leadership in managing the 
party's legislative program on the floor of the Chambers and 
provide information to party Members about important 
legislative-related matters. The authority of the Whips over 
party Members is informal; in the U.S. Congress, a Member may 
vote against the position supported by a majority of the 
Member's party colleagues because of personal opposition or 
because of opposition evident within his or her constituency. 
In most cases, parties take no disciplinary action against 
colleagues who vote against the party position.

    The Majority and Minority Whips in the House and Senate are 
elected by party Members in that Chamber. In the House, with 
its larger number of Members, the Majority and Minority Whips 
appoint deputy whips to assist them in their activities.

36. What are party caucuses or party conferences and party committees?

    A party caucus or conference is the name given to a 
meeting, whether regular or specially called, of all party 
Members in the House or Senate. The term ``caucus'' or 
``conference'' can also mean the organization of all party 
Members in the House or Senate. House Democrats refer to their 
organization as a ``caucus.'' House and Senate Republicans and 
Senate Democrats call their three organizations as 
``conferences.'' The caucus or conference officially elects 
party floor leaders, the party whips, and nominates each 
party's candidates for the Speakership or President pro tempore 
and other officers in the House or Senate. The chairs of the 
party conferences and other subordinate party leaders are 
elected by vote of the conference or caucus at the beginning of 
each Congress. Regular caucus or conference meetings provide a 
forum in which party leaders and rank-and-file party Members 
can discuss party policy, pending legislative issues, and other 
matters of mutual concern.

    The party caucus or conference also traditionally 
establishes party committees with specialized functions. Party 
committees generally nominate party Members to serve on the 
various committees of the House or Senate, subject to approval 
by the caucus or conference. Policy committees generally 
discuss party positions on pending legislation. Steering 
committees generally plan the schedule of Chamber action on 
pending legislation. Research committees conduct studies on 
broad policy questions, generally before committees of the 
House or Senate begin action on legislation. Campaign 
committees provide research and strategy assistance to party 
candidates for election to the House or Senate. The chairs of 
party committees are generally elected by their respective 
party caucus or conference; the exception is the House 
Democratic Steering Committee, which is chaired by the Speaker 
of the House (when the Democrats are in the majority) or by the 
Democratic floor leader (when they are in the minority).

    The caucus or conference may also decide to appoint ``task 
forces'' to perform research on a new policy proposal, or to 
assist the formal leadership in developing a party position on 
important legislation. These ``task forces'' are traditionally 
disbanded once their work has been completed.

37. What are caucuses, congressional Member organizations, and other 
        similar groups?

    Congressional Member Organizations (CMOs), commonly 
referred to as caucuses, are groups of Members of Congress 
formed to pursue common legislative objectives. CMOs are 
voluntary groups that have no legal or corporate identity. CMOs 
take a variety of forms: some are comprised only of House 
Members, some only of Senators, and some have a membership 
drawn from both chambers. Many CMOs are bipartisan, having both 
Republican and Democratic members. A number of CMOs have been 
organized around state or regional issues and around subjects 
concerned with fostering legislative attention to particular 
policy topics. CMOs donot receive separate offices or 
facilities; instead, they work out of individual Representatives' or 
Senators' offices, using the staff and facilities provided to Members 
of Congress who are active in a particular group.

38. Do Members of the House have individual seats on the Chamber floor?

    Representatives had individual seats until the 63rd 
Congress (1913), but now Members may sit where they choose. 
Democrats occupy the east side of the Chamber, on the Speaker's 
right; Republicans sit across the main aisle, on the Speaker's 
left. Two tables each on the Democratic and Republican sides of 
the aisle are reserved for committee leaders during debate on a 
bill reported from their committee and for party leaders.

39. Do Senators have individual seats assigned them?

    Yes. The individual seats in the Senate are numbered and 
assigned on request of Senators in order of their seniority. 
Democrats occupy the west side of the Chamber on the Vice 
President's right; Republicans sit across the main aisle to the 
Vice President's left. There is no set rule for seating of 
``Independents.'' By custom, the Majority and Minority Leaders 
occupy the front row seats on either side of the aisle, and the 
Majority and Minority Whips occupy the seats immediately next 
to their party's leader.

40. Do the terms ``senior Senator'' and ``junior Senator'' apply to age 
        or service?

    The words ``senior'' or ``junior'' as applied to the two 
Senators from a State refer to their length of continuous 
service in the Senate, and not to their ages. Thus, a senior 
Senator may be younger in age than the junior Senator from the 
same State.

41. What provisions are made for offices for Members and committees of 
        the Congress?

    The Capitol Hill office complex includes offices for House 
and Senate leaders and officers and for certain committees in 
the Capitol building itself, plus five House office buildings 
and three Senate office buildings, plus additional rented space 
in commercial office buildings near Union Station, north of the 

    The three main House office buildings are located on 
Independence Avenue, south of the Capitol. Proceeding from east 
to west, the three buildings are the Cannon House Office 
Building, completed in 1908; the Longworth House Office 
Building, completed in 1933; and the Rayburn House Office 
Building, completed in 1965. The buildings are named for the 
Speakers of the House at the time the construction of the 
buildings was authorized. In these buildings are located the 
personal offices of each Member of the House, as well as the 
offices of House standing committees. Two additional buildings 
were purchased in 1957 and 1975 for use by the House for 
additional office space. The first building, on C Street behind 
the Cannon Office Building, was renamed the Thomas P. O'Neill 
House Office Building in 1990. In addition to space for House 
committee and subcommittee staff, the building is now also the 
site of the House Page School Dormitory. The second building, 
on D Street SW, was renamed in 1990 the Gerald R. Ford House 
Office Building. Before becoming Vice President and President, 
Mr. Ford was House Republican Leader from 1965-73. He is the 
first person not to have been Speaker to have a House office 
building named after him.

    The Senate office buildings are located on Constitution 
Avenue, northeast of the Capitol. The buildings were completed 
in 1909, 1958, and 1982, and are named in honor of influential 
20th century Senators: Richard B. Russell (D., GA), Everett M. 
Dirksen (R., IL), and Philip A. Hart (D., MI), respectively.

    In addition to office space in Washington, DC, 
Representatives and Senators are entitled to rent office space 
in their districts or States.

42. What organizations are included in the legislative branch?

    In addition to Congress--the House of Representatives and 
the Senate--the legislative branch includes the Architect of 
the Capitol, the Government Printing Office (GPO), the Library 
of Congress, and the legislative support agencies. The 
Architect's principal duties involve the construction, 
maintenance, and renovation of the Capitol Building as well as 
the congressional office buildings and other structures in the 
Capitol complex such as the Library of Congress buildings. GPO 
publishes the Congressional Record, congressional committee 
hearings and reports, and other congressional documents, as 
well as many executive branch publications. The Library of 
Congress, in addition to providing library services, research, 
and analysis to Congress, is also the national library. It 
houses premier national book, map, and manuscript collections 
in the United States; serves a major role assisting local 
libraries in book cataloging and other services; and supervises 
the implementation of U.S. copyright laws.

    Three support agencies are also part of the legislative 
branch. The Congressional Budget Office, the Congressional 
Research Service in the Library of Congress, and the General 
Accounting Office directly assist Congress in the performance 
of its duties. On occasion, temporary advisory commissions are 
established and funded in the legislative branch.

43. What are the functions of the congressional support agencies that 
        are funded in the legislative appropriations acts?

    Legislative support agencies funded in the legislative 
appropriations act include the Congressional Budget Office 
(CBO), the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library 
of Congress, and the General Accounting Office (GAO). CBO 
assists the House and Senate Budget Committees in evaluating 
the spending and revenue priorities of Congress and aids all 
congressional committees in estimating the cost of proposed 
legislation. CRS provides reference, research, and analytical 
assistance to committees, Members, and staff of Congress on 
current and anticipated policy issues. GAO primarily studies 
and reports to Congress on the economy and efficiency of 
Government programs, operations, and expenditures.

44. What services are officially available to Members and to committees 
        to assist them in the performance of their legislative duties?

    Research assistance is available both from congressional 
staff and from legislative branch agencies created to assist 
Members, committees, and their staffs.

    Senators and Representatives are allocated funds to hire 
personal staff to assist them in performance of their 
legislative and constituent work. Committees are provided with 
staff assistance, subject to House or Senate approval of 
operating funds for each committee. Committees may also be 
given authority to hire temporary consultants (in addition to 
their full-time staff) or to accept assistance from staff of 
other government agencies loaned to the committees.

    Each Chamber has an Office of Legislative Counsel to assist 
individual Members, committees, and staff in the drafting of 
legislation or in drafting amendments to bills, and both Houses 
maintain legislative libraries. Finally, each House has 
technical staff charged with providing computer services and 
automated systems services.

    Additional support is provided by legislative branch 
agencies. The Congressional Research Service of the Library of 
Congress provides both committees and individual Members with 
information, research, and analysis on a wide range of 
subjects. The General Accounting Office assists committees and 
Members in fulfilling oversight and program evaluation 
responsibilities. The Congressional Budget Office provides 
specialized fiscal and budgetary analysis and cost estimates of 
Government agencies, programs, and operations.

45. Are there opportunities in the Congress to work as a volunteer, 
        intern, or fellow?

    Every year, large numbers of college students and other 
people work for Members of Congress as volunteers, as interns, 
or as fellows. Many colleges and universities award academic 
credit for congressional work, and a number of national 
professional associations sponsor a competitive, midcareer 
congressional fellowship appointment for interested 
organization members. The executive branch sponsors a Legis 
Fellows program, for midcareer Federal executives who wish to 
learn more about congressional operations. The officers of the 
House and Senate, along with several of the congressional 
support agencies, sponsor orientation programs for these 
congressional interns and fellows to acquaint them with 
congressional operations and with public policy research 

46. Who are congressional pages? What are their duties and 
        responsibilities? What facilities does Congress provide for 

    Congressional pages are boys and girls who are in their 
third year of high school, and assist members on the floor of 
the Chamber.

    The page program in the House is supervised by the House 
Page Board and administered by the House Clerk. In the Senate, 
the party secretaries and the Sergeant at Arms have 
responsibility for the administration of the program. In 
addition, there is supervised housing for pages in the Thomas 
P. O'Neill House Office Building and the Daniel Webster Senate 
Page Residence Hall.

    The House and Senate each have schools for educating their 
pages. The House school is located in the Library of Congress 
and the Senate school is in the lower level of the Webster 
Residence Hall. The college preparatory curriculum includes 
additional programs, trips, and resources using facilities in 
Washington, DC. Typically, the page schools meet during the 
mornings so that pages will be available for work during 
Chamber sessions later in the day.

                    Congressional Process and Powers

47. Why must tax bills originate in the House?

    The constitutional provision that ``all Bills for raising 
Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives'' 
(Article I, Section 7) is an adaptation of an earlier English 
practice. It was based on the principle that the national purse 
strings should be controlled by a body directly responsible to 
the people. So when the Constitution was formulated, the 
authority for initiation of revenue legislation was vested in 
the House of Representatives where the Members are subject to 
direct election every two years. However, the Constitution also 
guarantees the Senate's power to ``propose or concur with 
Amendments as on other Bills.''

48. Must all appropriation measures originate in the House?

    Although the Constitution clearly delegates sole authority 
to originate tax measures to the House of Representatives, it 
makes no clear statement regarding the authority to originate 
appropriation measures. Despite occasional disputes between the 
House and Senate over such authority, the House customarily 
originates general appropriation bills. The Senate from time to 
time initiates special appropriation measures that provide 
funds for a single agency or purpose.

49. What is the difference between an authorization and an 

    Authorizations and appropriations are separate and distinct 
parts of the Federal budget process. Authorizations are 
measures which establish Federal policies and programs, and may 
also make recommendations concerning the proper spending level 
for a program or agency. Those recommendations are acted upon 
in the form of appropriations, which provide specific dollar 
amounts for agencies, programs, and operations. If an 
authorization specifies a spending level or upper limit, this 
amount acts as the maximum that an appropriation can provide. 
The rules of both the House and the Senate prohibit 
unauthorized appropriations, but both Chambers have developed 
practices to avoid the operation of these rules if it is the 
desire of the Chamber to do so.

50. What are the different types of appropriation measures?

    Appropriations are provided in three different types of 
appropriation measures. Regular appropriation bills are a 
series of measures that together fund many Federal operations 
and programs for a fiscal year (October 1-September 30). Each 
of the 13 subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations 
Committees manages one regular appropriation bill. A 
supplemental appropriation bill is a measure which provides 
funds if a need develops that is too urgent to be postponed 
until the next fiscal year. Finally, a continuing resolution is 
a measure that provides stop-gap funding if Congress is unable 
to complete action on one or more regular appropriation bills 
before the beginning of a fiscal year.

    All regular appropriation bills as well as supplemental 
appropriation bills that fund more than a single agency or 
purpose are also referred to as general appropriation bills.

51. What is the congressional budget process?

    The congressional budget process, established by the 
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, is 
the means by which Congress develops and enforces an overall 
budgetary plan, including levels for total revenues, total 
spending, and a surplus or deficit. This blueprint for all 
Federal spending is established in the form of a concurrent 
resolution on the budget. Spending authority is then allocated 
to congressional committees pursuant to this resolution. The 
rules of both the House and Senate prohibit spending measures 
in excess of these allocations. Any changes in existing law 
that are necessary to achieve these targets can be enacted in 
the form of a reconciliation bill.

52. What is sequestration?

    Sequestration is an across-the-board cut in Federal 
spending pursuant to a Presidential order. A sequestration 
order can only be issued if Congress fails to meet a budgetary 
requirement, such as a deficit target or a spending limit. 
Sequestration was first established in 1985 by the Balanced 
Budget and Emergency Deficit Reduction Act, also known as the 
Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act.

53. What are the powers of Congress as provided in the Constitution?

    The Constitution (Article 1, Section 8) empowers Congress 
to levy taxes, collect revenue, pay debts, and provide for the 
general welfare; borrow money; regulate interstate and foreign 
commerce; establish uniform rules of naturalization and 
bankruptcy; coin money and regulate its value; punish 
counterfeiters; establish a postal system; enact patent and 
copyright laws; establish Federal courts inferior to the 
Supreme Court; declare war; provide for the armed forces; 
impeach and try Federal officers (Sections 2 and 3); and have 
exclusive legislative power over the District of Columbia. In 
Article II, Section 2, the Senate is given the power to consent 
to the ratification of treaties and confirm the nomination of 
public officials. Congress is also given the power to enact 
such laws as may be ``necessary and proper'' to implement its 
mandate in Article I. The power to enact laws is also contained 
in certain amendments to the Constitution.

54. What is the confirmation power of the Senate?

    Under Article II of the Constitution, the President 
appoints, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, 
ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, Justices of 
the Supreme Court and Federal judges, and other Federal 
officers whose appointments are established by law, including 
the heads of executive branch departments and agencies and 
independent regulatory commissions. This means that, while the 
President nominates the individuals of these important 
positions in the Federal Government, the Senate must confirm 
them before they take office. The Senate confirmation process 
can involve a background check of the nominee, often using 
information supplied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; 
meetings between the nominee and individual Senators; hearings 
and a vote on the nomination by the committee with jurisdiction 
over the office; and debate and a vote in the full Senate, 
where a majority is necessary to confirm an appointment.

55. What is the role of Congress in the impeachment process?

    Impeachment is the process by which the President, Vice 
President, Federal judges and Justices, and all civil officials 
of the United States may be removed from office. The President 
and other civil officials may be impeached and convicted for 
``Treason, Bribery, and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.''

    The House of Representatives has the sole authority to 
bring charges of impeachment, by a simple majority vote, and 
the Senate has the sole authority to try impeachment charges. 
An official may be removed from office only upon conviction, 
which requires a two-thirds affirmative vote of the Senate. The 
Constitution provides that the Chief Justice shall preside when 
the President is being tried for impeachment.

56. Who controls use of the armed forces?

    The Constitution (Article II, Section 2) states that the 
President is the Commander in Chief of the Army, Navy, and, 
when it is called into Federal service, State Militias (now 
called the National Guard). Historically, Presidents have used 
this authority to commit U.S. troops without a formal 
declaration of war. However, the Constitution reserves to 
Congress (Article I, Section 8) the power to raise and support 
the armed forces as well as the sole authority to declare war. 
These competing powers have been the source of controversy 
between the legislative and executive branches over war making. 
In 1973, Congress enacted the War Powers Resolution, which 
limits the President's authority to use the armed forces 
without specific congressional authorization, in an attempt to 
increase and clarify Congress's control over the use of the 
military. But the resolution has proven controversial, its 
operations has raised questions in Congress and the executive 

    In addition, the armed forces operate under the doctrine of 
civilian control, which means that only the President or 
statutory deputies (the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of 
Defense) can order the use of force. The chain of command is 
structured to insure that the military cannot undertake actions 
without civilian approval or knowledge.

57. What is the procedure to commit the country's military force to 

    The Constitution gives to Congress the authority to declare 
war; this has occurred on only five occasions since 1789, the 
most recent being World War II. But the President, as Commander 
in Chief, has implied powers to commit the Nation's military 
forces, which has occurred on more than 200 occasions in U.S. 
history. Moreover, Congress may authorize the use of the 
military in specific cases through public law.

    The War Powers Resolution, enacted on November 7, 1973, as 
Public Law 93-148, also tried to clarify these respective roles 
of the President and Congress in cases involving the use of 
armed forces without a declaration of war. The President is 
expected to consult with Congress before using the armed forces 
``in every possible instance,'' and is required to report to 
Congress within 48 hours of introducing troops. Use of the 
armed forces is to be terminated within 60 days, with a 
possible 30-day extension by the President, unless Congress 
acts during that time to declare war, enacts a specific 
authorization for use of the armed forces, extends the 60-90 
day period, or is physically unable to meet as a result of an 
attack on the United States.

                   Congressional Rules and Procedures

58. How are the rules of procedure in Congress determined?

    The Constitution (Article I, Section 5) provides that each 
House ``determine the Rules of its Proceedings.'' These 
resulting rules and procedures are spelled out in detailed 
procedural manuals for each Chamber.

59. What are the functions of the House Rules Committee?

    The House Rules Committee makes recommendations to the 
House on possible changes to the standing rules of the House, 
as well as the order of business on the House floor. The 
committee affects the order of business by reporting 
resolutions that make it possible for the House to begin acting 
on a bill that is on the House or Union Calendar. These 
resolutions are known as special rules or simply as ``rules.'' 
Each special rule may also propose a set of ground rules for 
debating and amending a particular bill that is different from 
the normal rules for considering legislation. For example, a 
special rule may impose limitations on the amendments that 
Members can propose to a bill, or it may allow an amendment to 
be offered, even though it violates a standing rule of the 
House. The House as a whole decides by majority vote whether to 
accept, reject, or modify each special rule that the Rules 
Committee proposes.

    The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration also 
considers possible changes to the standing rules of the Senate, 
but it has no role in determining the order of business on the 
Senate floor. In addition, the Senate committee reports 
resolutions to fund the work of all the Senate committees. In 
the House, this responsibility belongs to the Committee on 
House Administration.

60. What is a quorum of the House and of the Senate?

    In the House of Representatives, a quorum is a simple 
majority of the Members. When there are no vacancies in the 
membership, a quorum is 218. When one or more seats are vacant, 
because of deaths or resignations, the quorum is reduced 
accordingly. Because of Members' other duties, a quorum often 
is not actually present on the House floor. But any Member may 
insist that a quorum be present. If a Member makes a point of 
order that a quorum is not present, and the Speaker agrees, a 
series of bells ring on the House side of the Capitol and in 
the House office buildings to alert Members to come to the 
Chamber and record their presence.

    A majority of the membership, or 51, constitutes a quorum 
to do business in the Senate.

61. What is the Committee of the Whole?

    The Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union 
(or Committee of the Whole) is a hybrid form of the House 
itself. Technically, it is a committee of the House on which 
all Representatives serve and that meets in the House Chamber. 
However, it is governed by different rules of procedure than 
the House meeting as itself. The concept of the ``grand 
committee'' has been carefully developed from the early days of 
the House and in modern practice gives the House a more 
expeditious means for considering the complex and often 
controversial legislation referred to it. Historically, it was 
devised by the English House of Commons to give them the 
ability to debate privately and not have their votes committed 
to record. The Committee of the Whole in the U.S. House 
permitted recorded votes beginning in January 1971.

    The House resolves itself into a new Committee of the Whole 
for the consideration of each bill. A specific Committee of the 
Whole is dissolved when it ``rises and reports with a 
recommendation,'' to the House. When the Committee rises after 
not having resolved the matter committed to it, that bill is 
carried on the calendar as ``unfinished business of the 
Committee of the Whole'' until consideration has been finally 

    When a bill or resolution is considered in Committee of the 
Whole, there first is a period of time, usually one hour, for 
general debate on the merits of the bill or resolution. If 
enforced, a quorum in the Committee is 100 Members (whereas 218 
are required in the House). After general debate, Members may 
offer amendments, with each speech for or against an amendment 
being limited to five minutes. If a recorded vote is desired on 
any amendment, the call for the vote must be seconded by 25 
Members (whereas 44 or more are required in the House). When 
the amending process is completed, the Committee of the Whole 
``rises,'' and reports its actions to the House through the 
Speaker. The House then votes on whether or not to adopt the 
amendments recommended by the Committee of the Whole, and then 
votes on final passage of the measure, as amended.

    The Senate ceased using the Committee of the Whole as a 
parliamentary forum for debate in 1986.

62. What are the duties of the Parliamentarians?

    The House and the Senate each has a Parliamentarian to 
assist the Presiding Officer in making correct parliamentary 
decisions, to keep a record of procedures and precedents, and 
to refer bills to the correct committees of jurisdiction. These 
officials must be so well versed in the rules and practices of 
the Chamber that the Presiding Officer can be given guidance 
and advice on a moment's notice.

63. When Congress is in session, at what hour do the two Houses meet?

    The time of meeting is fixed by each Chamber. The daily 
meeting of each Chamber normally begins at noon and continues 
until late afternoon or early evening. However, the time at 
which House and Senate meetings begin or end is often changed 
from day to day, depending on the work that must be done.

64. What are the customary proceedings when the House of 
        Representatives meets?

    The Speaker calls the House to order, and the Sergeant at 
Arms places the Mace (an ancient symbol of authority) on the 
pedestal at the right of the Speaker's platform. After the 
Chaplain offers a prayer, the Speaker recognizes a Member to 
lead the House in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the Journal of 
the previous day's activities is approved, usually without 
being read. Next, the Speaker may recognize a few Members to 
speak briefly on matters of importance to them, for no longer 
than one minute each. The House then is ready to begin or 
resume consideration of a bill, resolution, or conference 

65. What are the customary proceedings when the Senate meets?

    The initial proceedings of the Senate are similar. The 
Senate is called to order by the Vice President, the President 
pro tempore, or another Senator serving as acting President pro 
tempore. After a prayer, the pledge of allegiance and the 
approval of the Journal, the Majority and Minority Leaders are 
recognized in turn for brief periods to speak or to transact 
routine business. Other Senators then may speak, on matters of 
interest to them, for no longer than five minutes each. If the 
Senate had adjourned at the end of its previous meeting, a two-
hour period, known as the ``morning hour'' is held, for 
disposing of routine and noncontroversial matters. If the 
Senate had recessed instead, which is the usual practice, there 
is no ``morning hour'' and the Senate proceeds instead to 
consider matters of legislative or executive business under its 
normal rules of procedure.

66. What business can be transacted by unanimous consent?

    Almost anything can be done in either House by unanimous 
consent, except where the Constitution or the rules of that 
Chamber specifically prohibit the Presiding Officer from 
entertaining such a request. For example, since the 
Constitution requires that a rollcall vote be taken to pass a 
bill over a Presidential veto, the Presiding Officer of the 
House or the Senate cannot entertain a unanimous consent 
request to waive this requirement. In the House of 
Representatives, unanimous consent requests to admit to the 
Chamber persons who are not permitted to be present under its 
rules, or to introduce visitors in the galleries to the House, 
are not in order.

67. How are record votes taken in Congress?

    Most votes are taken by a simple voice method, in which the 
yeas and nays are called out, respectively, and the judgment of 
the chair as to which are greater in number determines the 
vote. If a recorded vote is desired, a sufficient second must 
support it. The Constitution simply provides that ``the Yeas 
and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall 
at the Desire of one-fifth of those Present, be entered on the 
Journal.'' One-fifth of a quorum is deemed to be 44 in the 
House (\1/5\ of 218), and 11 in the Senate (\1/5\ of 51). A 
sufficient second in the Committee of the Whole is 25. Since 
1973, the House has used an electronic voting system to reduce 
the time consumed in voting. The Senate continues to use an 
oral call of the roll. Each Chamber permits a minimum of 15 
minutes to complete a vote.

68. Are there time limitations on debate in Congress?

    Yes. In the House, no matter is subject to more than one 
hour of debate, usually equally divided between the majority 
and the minority, without unanimous consent. Moreover, the 
majority can call for the ``previous question,'' and bring the 
pending matter to an immediate vote. Nonlegislative debate is 
limited to one minute per Member at the beginning of the day 
and up to one hour per Member at the end of the day. In the 
Committee of the Whole, the period of time spent in general 
debate is determined and apportioned in advance. Amendments are 
subject to the five-minute per side rule, but can extend beyond 
10 minutes of debate per amendment when unanimous consent is 
granted or when ``pro forma'' amendments are offered to gain 
additional time on the pending amendment. A nondebatable motion 
to close debate is in order to end debate on any specific 
amendment and bring it to a vote.

    In the Senate, debate is normally without restriction, 
unless time limits are agreed to by unanimous consent. The 
ability to extend debate at will, to ``filibuster,'' enables a 
Senator to delay the final vote on a measure, or even to 
prevent it altogether. Filibusters can be broken only by 
negotiation or through the use of a formal procedure known as 
``cloture.'' A successful cloture motion requires at least a 
\3/5\ vote, or 60 Senators. If cloture is invoked, the 
filibuster comes to a gradual end. Thirty hours of further 
debate are permitted in the post-cloture period prior to the 
vote on final passage. However, Senators do not usually extend 
debate after a successful cloture vote.

69. How do Members obtain permission to speak?

    In the House, Members stand, address the Presiding Officer 
and do not proceed until recognized to speak. The Presiding 
Officer (the Speaker in the House or the Chairman in the 
Committee of the Whole) has the authority to ask Members for 
what purpose they seek recognition. The Presiding Officer may 
then recognize or not recognize a Member, depending upon the 
purpose for which recognition was requested.

    In the Senate, Senators must also stand, address the 
Presiding Officer (the Vice President, the President pro 
tempore, or the acting President pro tempore), and may not 
proceed until one of them is recognized to speak. However, the 
rules of theSenate require the Presiding Officer to recognize 
the first Senator to address the chair. The Presiding Officer does not 
have discretionary recognition authority. However, in the tradition of 
the Senate, the Majority Leader and Minority Leader are given 
preferential recognition over any other Senator.

70. How do Members of Congress introduce bills?

    A bill that is to be introduced is typed on a special House 
or Senate form and signed by the Representative or Senator who 
will introduce it. In the House, a Representative may introduce 
a bill any time the House is in session by placing it in a 
special box known as the ``hopper,'' which is located on the 
Clerk's desk in the House Chamber. A Senator introduces a bill 
by delivering it to a clerk on the Senate floor while the 
Senate is in session, although it is formally accepted only 
during a period of time set aside in the Senate for the 
transacting of routine morning business.

71. When does a bill, introduced at the beginning of a Congress, become 
        ``dead'' and no longer open to considerations?

    A bill may be introduced at any point during a two-year 
Congress, and remains eligible for consideration throughout the 
duration of that Congress until the Congress ends or adjourns 
sine die.

72. What are the stages of a bill in Congress?

    Following is a brief description of the usual stages by 
which a bill becomes law. (A graphic follows this explanation 
that illustrates these stages, How a Bill Becomes a Law.)

          (1) Introduction by a Member, who places it in the 
        ``hopper,'' a box on the Clerk's desk in the House 
        Chamber; the bill is given a number and printed by the 
        Government Printing Office so that copies are available 
        the next morning.

          (2) Referral to one or more standing committees of 
        the House by the Speaker, at the advice of the 

          (3) Report from the committee or committees, after 
        public hearings and ``markup'' meetings by 
        subcommittee, committee, or both.

          (4) House approval of a special rule, reported by the 
        House Rules Committee, making it in order for the House 
        to consider the bill, and setting the terms for its 
        debate and amendment.

          (5) Consideration of the bill in Committee of the 
        Whole, in two stages: first, a time for general debate 
        on the bill; and second, a time for amending the bill, 
        one part at a time, under a rule that limits speeches 
        on amendments to five minutes each.

          (6) Passage by the House after votes to confirm the 
        amendments that were adopted in Committee of the Whole.

          (7) Transmittal to the Senate, by message.

          (8) Consideration and passage by the Senate--usually 
        after referral to and reporting from a Senate 
        committee--and after debate and amendment on the Senate 

          (9) Transmission from the Senate back to the House, 
        with or without Senate amendments to the bill.

          (10) Resolution of differences between the House and 
        the Senate, either through additional amendments 
        between the Houses, or the report of a conference 

          (11) Enrollment on parchment paper and then signing 
        by the Speaker and by the President of the Senate.

          (12) Transmittal to the President of the United 

          (13) Approval or disapproval by the President; if the 
        President disapproves, the bill will be returned with a 
        veto message that explains reasons for the disapproval. 
        A two-thirds vote in each chamber is needed to override 
        a veto.

          (14) Filing with the Archivist of the United States 
        as a new public law after approval of the President, or 
        after passage by Congress overriding a veto.

    Bills may be introduced in the Senate, and they follow 
essentially the same course of passage as bills first 
introduced and considered in the House of Representatives. (See 
questions above, however, on the House originating tax and 
appropriations bills.)

73. What courses are open to the President when a bill is presented to 

    The President has three choices: First, to sign a bill 
within 10 days (Sundays excepted), whereupon it becomes a law. 
Second, the President may veto the bill, i.e., return it to 
Congress (stating objections) without a signature of approval. 
In this case, Congress may override the veto with a two-thirds 
vote in each House. The bill would then become a law despite 
the President's veto. The House and Senate are not required to 
attempt veto overrides. Third, the President may hold the bill 
without taking any action. Two different developments may occur 
in this situation depending upon whether Congress is in 
session. If Congress is in session, the bill becomes law after 
the expiration of 10 days (excluding Sundays), even without the 
President's signature. If Congress has adjourned, the bill does 
not become law; this is called a ``pocket veto''.

74. What happens to a bill after it becomes law?

    The provisions of a law take effect immediately unless the 
law itself provides for another date. The law may also specify 
which executive departments, agencies, or officers are 
empowered to carry out or enforce the law.
    The actual written document is sent to the National 
Archives and Records Administration, an independent agency of 
the Government, where it is given a number. It is then 
published in individual form as a ``slip law.'' At the end of 
each session of Congress, these new laws are consolidated in a 
bound volume called U.S. Statutes at Large. In addition, all 
permanent, general laws currently in force are included in the 
Code of Laws of the United States of America, commonly called 
the U.S. Code. The Office of Law Revision Counsel, part of the 
institutional structure of the House of Representatives, is 
responsible for preparing and issuing annual supplements to 
keep the Code up-to-date.

75. Are the proceedings of Congress published and preserved?

    Each House, by constitutional requirement, keeps a Journal 
of its proceedings. The Senate maintains and publishes a 
legislative journal and an executive journal. The latter 
contains proceedings related to the Senate's responsibilities 
for approving treaties and nominations. When the Senate sits as 
a court of impeachment, it keeps a separate journal of its 
proceedings. The executive journal is published annually.
    The Journals do not report debates; they only report the 
bare parliamentary proceedings of each Chamber. In addition, 
the House Journal contains minimal information about actions 
taken by the House when meeting as a Committee of the Whole, 
because any action taken there is not official unless and until 
it is ratified by the full House.

    For a public record of the debates, there have been a 
succession of reports, overlapping in part, as follows: Annals 
of Congress (1789-1824), Register of Debates (1824-37), 
Congressional Globe (1833-73), and finally and currently the 
Congressional Record (1873 to the present).

    The Congressional Record contains a stenographic record of 
everything said on the floor of both Houses, including rollcall 
votes on all questions. Members are permitted to edit and 
revise the transcripts of their spoken remarks. An appendix 
contains material not spoken on the floor but inserted by 
permission--the so-called ``extensions of remarks.'' It also 
carries a brief resume of the congressional activities of the 
previous day, as well as a future legislative program and a 
list of scheduled committee hearings.

    Since 1979 in the House and 1986 in the Senate, floor 
sessions have been televised. Videotape copies of House and 
Senate Chamber activities are preserved and available for 
research use at the Library of Congress and at the National 

76. What are joint sessions and joint meetings?

    Congress holds joint sessions to receive addresses from the 
President (e.g., State of the Union and other addresses) and to 
count electoral ballots for President and Vice President. 
Congress also holds joint meetings to receive addresses from 
such dignitaries as foreign heads of state or heads of 
governments or from distinguished American citizens.

    Of the two types of gatherings, the joint session is the 
more formal and typically occurs upon adoption of a concurrent 
resolution passed by both Houses of Congress. The joint 
meeting, however, typically occurs when each of the two Houses 
adopts a unanimous consent agreement to recess to meet with the 
other legislative body. Since 1809, the prevailing practice has 
been to hold joint sessions and joint meetings in the Hall of 
the House of Representatives, the larger of the two Chambers.

    Except for the first inauguration in 1789, in which the 
Congress convened in joint session to inaugurate President 
George Washington, these special occasions have occurred 
outside of the regular legislative calendars. Occasionally one 
chamber will convene a legislative session prior to attending 
the ceremony, but unless both do so and subsequently adjourn to 
attend the ceremony, the inauguration is not a joint session.

77. May the Secretary of State or any other Cabinet officer appear on 
        the floor of either House to answer questions?

    No. Cabinet officers frequently testify before House and 
Senate committees and subcommittees, but they may not appear on 
the floor of either Chamber to respond publicly to Members' 
questions. There have been proposals to permit such a 
``question period'' by amending congressional rules, but they 
have not been approved.

78. Are visitors allowed to listen to the proceedings of Congress?

    Visitors are allowed to listen to and watch the proceedings 
of the House and Senate from visitors' galleries in each House. 
Tour guides bring groups of visitors briefly into the House and 
Senate galleries. Visitors who wish to observe House and Senate 
floor sessions for longer periods of time without interruption 
must obtain gallery passes, available without prior notice in 
the offices of their Senator or Representative.

    All visitors must abide by certain rules and maintain 
proper decorum. They are not allowed to take radios, cameras, 
or umbrellas into either Chamber and they may not read, write, 
or take notes while inside. Visitors in the galleries are 
subject to control and supervision by the Presiding Officers of 
the House and Senate as well as doorkeepers stationed beside 
each entrance to the galleries. Unless there is a rare closed 
meeting of either House, visitors are allowed whenever Congress 
is in session.

    Most committee hearings and meetings are also open to the 
public. Committees generally meet in rooms set aside for their 
use in the congressional office buildings and no visitors' 
passes are required, although audience space may be limited to 
accommodate congressional staff, executive branch officials, 
and journalists. Under certain circumstances specified in House 
and Senate Rules, committees may vote to close hearings or 
meetings to the public.

    Special space is available in the galleries for accredited 
journalists, who are not subject to the prohibition on writing 
and taking notes. Since 1979, proceedings of the House have 
been accessible to the news media for television or radio 
broadcast. Senate sessions have been available for television 
and radio broadcast since 1986. Any committee hearing or 
meeting open to the public can also be broadcast on radio or 
television, subject to administrative control by the individual 

                          The Committee System

79. Has Congress ever altered its committee organization?

    Congressional organization and procedure have changed 
considerably over Congress's 200-year history in response to 
new needs and circumstances.

    With respect to the committee system, for example, in the 
early years of the Republic, Congress relied on temporary, ad 
hoc committees to process legislation the full Chambers had 
considered. A system of permanent standing committees developed 
in the first half of the 19th century, when committees acquired 
many modern-day powers, such as the power to hold legislation 
they do not recommend for full Chamber action. Throughout the 
19th century, so many committees were created to deal with 
emerging national issues that, by the 20th century, the system 
had become unwieldy. Early 20th century action by the Chambers 
abolished and consolidated panels to streamline decision 

    Major reorganization of the committee system was also 
achieved by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. It 
established standardized committee procedures in many areas, 
abolished and merged committees to form integrated panels with 
broad jurisdictions, and gave each standing committee a 
permanent complement of staff. The act also revamped other 
areas of congressional procedure. For example, it established 
the first comprehensive laws to regulate the lobbying of 
Congress, which have since been amended. A similar 1970 
Reorganization Act revised committee and other procedures, 
including strengthening Congress's fiscal controls. A 1974 
House committee reform measure refined committees' 
jurisdictions, amended committee procedures, and expanded 
Congress's oversight of the executive branch. A 1977 Senate 
committee reform measure realigned and consolidated 
jurisdictions, revised and expanded Senators' service 
limitations on committees, and amended procedures for hiring 
staff and referring legislation, among other things. In 1993, 
another reform review was initiated by the Joint Committee on 
the Organization of Congress.

80. What is a conference committee?

    From the earliest days, differences on legislation between 
the House and Senate have been committed to conference 
committees to work out a settlement. The most usual case is 
that in which a bill passes one Chamber with amendments 
unacceptable to the other. In such a case, the Chamber that 
disagrees to the amendments generally asks for a conference, 
and the Speaker of the House and the Presiding Officer of the 
Senate appoint the ``managers,'' as the conferees are called. 
Generally, they are selected from the committee or committees 
having charge of the bill. After attempting to resolve the 
points in disagreement, the conference committee issues a 
report to each Chamber. If the report is accepted by both 
Chambers, the bill is then enrolled and sent to the President. 
If the report is rejected by either Chamber, the matter in 
disagreement comes up for disposition anew as if there had been 
no conference. Unless all differences between the two Houses 
are resolved, the bill fails.
    Until 1975, it was customary for conference committees to 
meet in executive sessions closed to the public. In that year, 
both chambers adopted rules to require open conference 
meetings. Two years later, the House strengthened its open 
conference rule. Today, most conference committee sessions are 
open to public observation, with only a few exceptions for 
national security, or for other reasons.

81. What are congressional standing committees and why are they 

    Standing committees are permanent panels comprised of 
Members of a Chamber. Each panel has jurisdiction over measures 
and laws in certain areas of public policy, such as health, 
education, energy, the environment, foreign affairs, and 

    Although Congress has used standing committees since its 
earliest days, it did not predominantly rely on them during its 
first quarter century. In these early years, legislative 
proposals were considered initially by all Members of one 
Chamber in plenary session; afterwards, each proposal was 
referred to a temporary, ad hoc committee responsible for 
working out a proposal's details and making any technical 
changes. As the amount of legislative proposals increased, 
especially in certain subject areas, permanent committees 
replaced temporary ones for more expeditious screening and 
processing of legislation before its consideration by an entire 

    Each Chamber now has its own standing committees, to allow 
it to consider many issues at the same time. Each committee 
selects, from the measures it receives each Congress, a 
relatively small number (approximately 10 percent) that merit 
committee scrutiny and subsequent consideration by the full 
Chamber. Because of the small size of committees--and the often 
lengthy service of Members on the same panel--committees 
provide an effective means of managing Congress's enormous 
workload and gaining expertise over the range and complexity of 
subjects with which the Government deals.

82. What are the standing committees of the House?

    In 1999, the 19 standing committees were named: 
Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Banking and 
Financial Services; Budget; Education and the Workforce; 
Commerce; Government Reform; House Administration; 
International Relations; Judiciary; Resources; Rules; Science; 
Small Business; Standards of Official Conduct; Transportation 
and Infrastructure; Veterans' Affairs; and Ways and Means.

83. What are the standing committees of the Senate?

    In 1999, 17 standing committees were named: Agriculture, 
Nutrition, and Forestry; Appropriations; Armed Services; 
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Budget; Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation; Energy and Natural Resources; Environment 
and Public Works; Finance; Foreign Relations; Governmental 
Affairs; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Indian 
Affairs; Judiciary; Rules and Administration; Small Business; 
and Veterans' Affairs.

84. How are the members of the standing committees selected?

    Before Members are assigned to committees, each committee's 
size and the proportion of Democrats to Republicans must be 
decided by each Chamber's party leaders. The total number of 
committee slots allotted to each party is approximately the 
same as the ratio between majority-party and minority-party 
Members in the full Chamber. Members are then assigned to 
committees in a three-step process, where the first is the most 
critical and decisive. Each of the two principal parties in the 
House and Senate is responsible for assigning its Members to 
committees, and, at the first stage, each party uses a 
committee on committees to make the initial recommendations for 
assignments. At the beginning of a new Congress, Members 
express preferences for assignment to the appropriate committee 
on committees; most incumbents prefer to remain on the same 
committees so as not to forfeit expertise and committee 
seniority. These committees on committees then match 
preferences with committee slots, following certain guidelines 
designed in part to distribute assignments fairly. They then 
prepare and approve an assignment slate for each committee, and 
submit all slates to the appropriate full-party conference for 
approval. Approval at this second stage often is granted 
easily, but the conferences have procedures for disapproving 
recommended Members and nominating others in their stead. 
Finally, at the third stage, each committee submits its slate 
to the pertinent full Chamber for approval, which is generally 
granted readily.

85. What constitutes a quorum of a standing committee of the House and 
        of the Senate?

    Each House and Senate committee is authorized to establish 
its own quorum requirement for the transaction of business. 
House rules specify that House committees shall have at least 
two members present to take testimony or receive evidence and 
at least one third of the members present for taking any other 
action, except reporting out a bill to the floor. Senate rules 
also require at least one-third of the committee membership 
present to conduct most business, but permit committees to 
lower that quorum requirement for purposes of taking testimony. 
However, in both Chambers, a physical majority of the committee 
members must be present to report a bill to the floor.

86. What is a select committee?

    In the contemporary era, select committees are established 
by the House and Senate usually for limited time periods and 
for strictly limited purposes. In most cases, they have not 
been accorded legislative power--the authority to consider and 
report legislation to the full Chamber. After completing their 
purpose, such as an investigation of a Government activity and 
making a report thereon, the select committee expires. 
Recently, however, the Chambers have permitted select 
committees to continue to exist over long periods; some, such 
as the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence, have 
been granted legislative authority.

87. What are joint committees and how are they established?

    Joint committees are those that have Members chosen from 
both the House and Senate, generally with the chairmanship 
rotating between the most senior majority-party Senator and 
Representative. In general, they do not have legislative power 
to consider and report legislation to the full Chambers. These 
committees can be created by statute, or by joint or concurrent 
resolution, although all existing ones have been established by 
statute. Congress now has four permanent or long-term joint 
committees, the oldest being the Joint Committee on the 
Library, which dates from 1800; the other three are the Joint 
Economic Committee, Joint Committee on Printing, and Joint 
Committee on Taxation. In addition, Congress sometimes 
establishes temporary joint committees for particular purposes, 
such as the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural 
Ceremonies, which is formed every four years to handle the 
organizational and financial responsibilities for the 
inauguration of the President and Vice President.

88. Do congressional committees hold hearings on all bills referred to 

    No. However, it is the view of many committees that any 
Member who insists on a hearing on a bill should have it. There 
may also be several bills similar or almost identical in 
substance introduced at the same time. In such cases, hearings 
frequently are held on a group of related measures, or a 
hearing on one bill serves for all similar bills. It is not 
always possible for Members to have individual hearings on 
their particular bills before a committee because of the press 
of business and the large number of bills referred to most 

89. Does the congressional committee to which a bill is referred 
        effectively control its disposition?

    Committees, for the most part, control whether hearings 
will be held on bills referred to them and whether these bills 
will be reported to the full Chamber for debate. Ordinarily, if 
a bill is not reported by a committee, the bill dies because 
the Chambers usually defer to the expertise and power of 
committee members in determining a measure's fate.

    However, both the House and Senate have procedures for 
allowing measures not reported by a committee to be considered 
by the full Chamber. The House has a discharge procedure, 
usually used with measures of a controversial character. It is 
rarely employed and rarely successful, because it is cumbersome 
and because Members are uncomfortable circumventing committee 
authority. The procedure allows a majority of Representatives 
(218) to sign a petition to discharge a committee of any bill 
held there longer than 30 days, at which point the bill is 
placed on a special calendar and may be called up by any of the 
signers on the second or fourthMonday of any month. Very 
limited debate is allowed on the question of whether to consider a bill 
on the calendar. But, if the House agrees by majority to a bill's 
consideration, then it is debated under its general rules.
    It is also possible to discharge a Senate committee by 
motion, but the procedure is rarely used. Instead, because the 
Senate does not generally require amendments to measures to be 
on the same subject as the measures, a Senator may offer the 
text of a measure buried in committee as an amendment to any 
measure being debated by the full Senate. This practice is not 
allowed in the House, where amendments must be relevant (called 
``germane'') to the measures they seek to amend.

90. Are committee hearings open to the public?

    Hearings by House committees and subcommittees are open to 
the public except when a committee, by majority vote while in 
public session, determines otherwise. This occurs, for 
instance, when national security matters are considered.

    The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 permitted, for 
the first time, radio and television broadcast of House 
committee and subcommittee hearings, but only when a majority 
of the committee so votes and only if decorum is observed in 
the broadcasting.

    Hearings by Senate committees and subcommittees are also 
open to the public. However, Senate committee hearings may be 
closed to the public if the committee determines by majority 
vote in open session that testimony must be secret for any of 
several reasons, including if it relates to national security 
matters, reflects adversely on the character or reputation of 
witnesses, or divulges information which is of a confidential 

    Hearings of public interest in the Senate have been 
broadcast for more than 40 years.

91. What is meant by the ``seniority rule''?

    It had been the custom whereby a member who served longest 
on the majority side of a committee became its chairman or if 
on the minority, its ranking member. Members were ranked from 
the chairman or ranking member down, according to length of 
service on the committee.

    Modifications--including party practices, term limits on 
chairmanships, and limits on the number of committees and 
subcommittees chaired--have caused the seniority rule to be 
less rigidly followed than previously. Nevertheless, length of 
service on a committee remains the predominant criterion for 
choosing its chairman and ranking member. In both Chambers, 
nominees for committee chairmen are subject to public votes, 
first in meetings of their party colleagues (in conference or 
caucus), then in the full Chamber. Members who interrupt their 
service in a Chamber but subsequently return to the Congress, 
start again at the bottom of a committee list. Returning 
Members outrank other new Members who have no prior service. 
New Members also earn seniority over other newly elected 
Members by having prior service in the other legislative 
Chamber. In some cases, in which two Members have equal time in 
service in a Chamber, prior service as a State Governor or 
State legislator also may contribute in the determination of 

                          THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH

92. How is the executive branch organized?

    The Federal executive branch is headed by the President and 
consists of various entities and organizations of largely an 
administrative, regulatory, or policy-implementing character. 
Most prominent among these are 14 departments, whose heads 
comprise the Cabinet. In addition, there are a number of 
agencies (such as the Central Intelligence Agency and 
Environmental Protection Agency) plus separate smaller boards, 
committees, commissions, and offices created by law or 
Presidential directive. Immediately assisting the President are 
the agencies and entities of the Executive Office of the 
President. Additional information on the White House and 
Presidential activities is at .

93. What is the Executive Office of the President?

    Formally established in 1939, the Executive Office of the 
President consists of satellite offices and agencies that 
assist the President in the exercise of various statutory 
responsibilities. Later, as conditions merited, such units were 
abolished or transferred to program departments and agencies of 
the executive branch. (See accompanying graphic, White House 
and Executive Office of the President.)


                    The President and Vice President

94. Is the U.S. President comparable to a reigning monarch, a prime 
        minister, or a premier?

    The American President has been compared to an elective 
monarch, but there are few kings or queens today who exercise 
the same degree of authority as does the President of the 
United States. The President simultaneously serves to perform 
functions that parallel the activities of a king or queen in a 
monarchy and the prime minister or premier in a parliamentary 

    The President is traditionally accorded the unofficial 
designation ``Chief of State,'' a position which most closely 
parallels that of a king or queen in a monarchy. As such the 
President is often recognized as the symbolic embodiment of the 
United States and its citizens.

    The President also performs many of the functions of a 
prime minister or premier in a parliamentary democracy. As 
Chief Executive, an office held under the Constitution, the 
President presides over the Cabinet and has responsibility for 
the management of the executive branch. The Constitution also 
vests the President with the power to make treaties, and to 
appoint ambassadors, U.S. officers, and judges of Federal 
courts, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The 
President also holds the position of Commander in Chief of the 
Armed Forces.

    Unlike a prime minister, the President is neither a member 
of the legislature nor is his tenure in office dependent upon 
the approval of a majority of legislators. Elected indirectly 
by the citizens through the electoral college, the President 
serves a definite term and can only be removed by the process 
of impeachment. Under the 22nd Amendment, presidential tenure 
is limited to no more than two elected four-year terms and a 
maximum of 10 years under special circumstances: i.e., if a 
twice-elected President serves an additional two years (or 
less) of the term of another elected President.

95. How is the President addressed?

    Simply as ``Mr. President.'' A letter sent to the Chief 
Executive is addressed ``The President, The White House.''

    One of the earliest congressional debates dealt with the 
title of the Chief Executive. A committee of the House of 
Representatives suggested the simple title ``The President of 
the United States.'' However, the Senate rejected this report 
in May 1789 at the behest of Vice President John Adams. Adams 
believed that ``titles and politically inspired elegance were 
essential aspects of strong government,'' and supported the 
title ``His Highness the President of the United States and 
protector of their Liberties.'' George Washington himself was 
annoyed by this debate and made known his annoyance at Adams's 
attempts to ``bedizen him with a superb but spurious title.'' 
The issue was resolved on May 27 when the Senate agreed that 
the Chief Executive should have the simple title ``the 
President of the United States.''

96. What are the enumerated or express constitutional powers of the 

    Article II of the Constitution vests the ``executive 
power'' in the President. There is dispute among scholars as to 
whether such executive power consists solely of the authorities 
enumerated for the President or whether it also includes powers 
that are implied in Article II. Most authorities lean toward 
the latter interpretation.

    These powers are those expressly granted to the President 
within the text of the Constitution. They are few in number and 
most are listed in Article II, sections 2 and 3 of the 
Constitution. The President is Commander in Chief of the Army, 
Navy, and Air Force, and of the State Militias (now called the 
National Guard) when called into the service of the United 
States. The President may require the written opinion of 
military executive officers, and is empowered to grant 
reprieves and pardons, except in the case of impeachment. The 
President receives ambassadors and other public ministers, 
ensures that the laws are faithfully executed, and commissions 
all officers of the United States. The President has power, by 
and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make 
treaties, provided that two-thirds of the Senators present 
concur. The President also nominates and appoints ambassadors, 
other public ministers and consuls, Justices of the Supreme 
Court, Federal judges, and other Federal officers whose 
appointments are established by law, by and with the advice and 
consent of the Senate. The President has the power to fill 
temporarily all vacancies that occur during the recess of the 
Senate. Also, the President may, on extraordinary occasions, 
convene ``emergency'' sessions of Congress. Furthermore, if the 
two Houses disagree as to the time of adjournment, the 
President himself may adjourn the bodies. In addition to these 
powers, the President also has enumerated powers that allow him 
to directly influence legislation. The Constitution directs the 
President periodically to inform Congress on the State of the 
Union, and to recommend legislation that is considered 
necessary and expedient. Also, in Article I, section 7, the 
Constitution grants the President the authority to veto acts of 

97. What are the implied constitutional powers of the President?

    In addition to express powers, the President possesses 
powers that are not enumerated within the Constitution's text. 
These implied powers have been, and continue to be, a subject 
of dispute and debate. The task of attributing implied powers 
to the President is complicated by three factors: the 
importance of the presidency in the political strategy of the 
Constitution; the President's extensive and vaguely defined 
authority in international relations; and the fact that the 
President is often said to have inherent or residual powers of 

    For example, although the Constitution does not grant to 
the President express power to remove administrators from their 
offices, as the chief executive, the President holds power over 
executive branch officers, unless such removal power is limited 
by public law. The President, however, does not have such 
implied authority over officers in independent establishments. 
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt removed a member of the 
Federal Trade Commission, an independent regulatory agency, and 
not part of the executive branch, the Supreme Court, in 1935, 
ruled the removal invalid. More recently, in 1988, the Supreme 
Court upheld the constitutionality of the independent counsel 
law. These independent counsels, whoinvestigate and prosecute 
alleged criminal conduct of high-ranking officials, can be removed only 
by the Attorney General (not by the President) and then only for ``good 
cause, physical disability, mental incapacity, or other impairing 

    Another implied constitutional power is derived from the 
President's authority as Commander in Chief. Though the 
Congress has the explicit power to declare war, the President 
not only has the responsibility to protect the Nation from 
sudden attack, but also has initiated military activities 
abroad without a formal declaration of war. American Presidents 
have authorized military force abroad more than 225 times, but 
only on five occasions has Congress declared war: The War of 
1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, 
and World War II. In recent years, most notably through the War 
Powers Resolution of 1973, Congress has sought to define more 
clearly the conditions under which Presidents unilaterally can 
authorize military action abroad.

98. It is constitutionally mandated that the President is Commander in 
        Chief of the Army and the Navy. What about the other military 

    Organizationally, the U.S. Marine Corps is a part of the 
U.S. Navy, and the military service that is now the U.S. Air 
Force was once part of the U.S. Army. These four military 
services are a part of the Department of Defense, an executive 
branch department. Congress, moreover, has provided that, 
subject to the direction of the President and applicable laws, 
the Secretary of Defense has authority, direction, and control 
over the Department of Defense and, thus, over the Armed 
Forces. During time of war or as directed by the President, the 
commissioned corps of the Public Health Service may be declared 
to be a military service by Executive order. Likewise, the 
Coast Guard, usually a part of the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, operates as part of the U.S. Navy in time of 
war or when directed by the President.

99. What is a Presidential veto?

    There are two types of vetoes available to the President. 
One, the regular veto, is a ``qualified negative veto,'' which 
is limited by the ability of Congress to muster the necessary 
two-thirds vote of each House for constitutional override. The 
other type of veto is not explicitly designated in the U.S. 
Constitution but is traditionally called a ``pocket veto.'' 
This veto is actually an ``absolute veto'' that cannot be 
overridden. It becomes effective when the President fails to 
sign a bill after Congress has adjourned and is unable to 
override the veto.

    The President's veto authority is one of the significant 
tools in legislative dealings with Congress. It is not only 
effective in directly preventing the passage of legislation 
undesirable to the President, but also as a threat, thereby 
bringing about changes in the content of legislation long 
before the bill is ever presented to the President.

100. Have many bills been vetoed by Presidents?

    As of August 1, 1999, U.S. Presidents have vetoed 2,538 
bills presented to them by Congress. Of that total number, 
1,473 were regular vetoes, and 1,065 were pocket vetoes. This 
may be appear to be a large number of vetoes, but it actually 
represents about 3 percent of the approximately 93,500 bills 
presented to U.S. Presidents since George Washington. (See the 
accompanying table, Vetoes by Presidents.)

                          VETOES BY PRESIDENTS
                        [Through August 1, 1999]
                                   Regular   Pocket   Total     Vetoes
            President               vetoes   vetoes   vetoes  overridden
George Washington................        2  .......        2  ..........
John Adams.......................  .......  .......        0  ..........
Thomas Jefferson.................  .......  .......        0  ..........
James Madison....................        5        2        7  ..........
James Monroe.....................        1  .......        1  ..........
John Quincy Adams................  .......  .......        0  ..........
Andrew Jackson...................        5        7       12  ..........
Martin Van Buren.................  .......        1        1  ..........
William Henry Harrison...........  .......  .......        0  ..........
John Tyler.......................        6        4       10          1
James K. Polk....................        2        1        3  ..........
Zachary Taylor...................  .......  .......        0  ..........
Millard Fillmore.................  .......  .......        0  ..........
Franklin Pierce..................        9  .......        9          5
James Buchanan...................        4        3        7  ..........
Abraham Lincoln..................        2        5        7  ..........
Andrew Johnson...................       21        8       29         15
Ulysses S. Grant.................       45       48       93          4
Rutherford B. Hayes..............       12        1       13          1
James A. Garfield................  .......  .......        0  ..........
Chester A. Arthur................        4        8       12          1
Grover Cleveland (1st term)......      304      110      414          2
Benjamin Harrison................       19       25       44          1
Grover Cleveland (2d term).......       42      128      170          5
William McKinley.................        6       36       42  ..........
Theodore Roosevelt...............       42       40       82          1
William H. Taft..................       30        9       39          1
Woodrow Wilson...................       33       11       44          6
Warren G. Harding................        5        1        6  ..........
Calvin Coolidge..................       20       30       50          4
Herbert C. Hoover................       21       16       37          3
Franklin Delano Roosevelt........      372      263      635          9
Harry S Truman...................      180       70      250         12
Dwight D. Eisenhower.............       73      108      181          2
John F. Kennedy..................       12        9       21  ..........
Lyndon B. Johnson................       16       14       30  ..........
Richard M. Nixon.................       26       17       43          7
Gerald R. Ford...................       48       18       66         12
James E. Carter..................       13       18       31          2
Ronald W. Reagan.................       39       39       78          9
George Bush......................       29   \1\ 15       44          1
William Clinton..................       25        0       25          2
        Totals...................     1473     1065     2538       106
\1\ President Bush asserted that two bills were not enacted into law
  under the pocket veto provisions of the Constitution because Congress
  was in recess. Congress, however, maintained that these were not
  vetoes because they required action within 10 days of receipt by the
  President; both ultimately were considered to be law. A third bill was
  asserted by President Bush to be pocket-vetoed during a congressional
  recess, but he returned a veto message to the originating House and it
  was treated as a regular veto. For further explanation, See U.S.
  Congress, Office of the Secretary of the Senate, Presidential Vetoes,
  1989-1996, S. Pub. 105-22 (Washington: GPO, September 1997), pp. 6,

101. Are acts often passed over the President's veto?

    This occurs very rarely, because pocket vetoes cannot be 
overridden and regular vetoes require a two-thirds vote in each 
House of Congress. As a consequence, regular vetoes have been 
overridden by Congress only 106 times in over 200 years. 
Presidents may also be anxious about a poor public image 
resulting from having a veto overridden by Congress and, 
depending on the circumstances, may be hesitant to use it 
unless reasonably assured of being sustained.

    The U.S. President with the highest percentage of veto 
overrides was Andrew Johnson (71.4 percent), followed by 
Presidents Pierce (55.5 percent), Nixon (26.9 percent), Ford 
(25.0 percent), Arthur (25.0 percent), and Reagan (22.9 

102. What important court cases relate to the pocket veto?

    In practice, Presidents have found the pocket veto to be a 
useful tool and have employed it frequently (42.5 percent of 
all vetoes), both because Congress has adjourned and because it 
precludes a potential override by Congress. Supporters of 
congressional prerogatives, on the other hand, object to 
unconstitutional use (in their view) of the pocket veto, 
because, as an absolute veto, it diminishes the capacity of 
Congress to function as a coequal branch of Government in 
legislative matters.

    Attempts in Federal courts to determine the limits of the 
pocket veto have satisfied neither the executive nor the 
legislative branch of Government. Federal court opinions have 
sustained the President's use of the pocket veto at the end of 
a complete congressional cycle. What remains in contention, 
despite various court rulings and agreements with two 
administrations, is whether the President can pocket veto a 
bill between the first and second sessions of a Congress or 
during intra session adjournments of more than 3 days.

    The Supreme Court has ruled in only two cases related to 
the pocket veto issue. The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 644 
(1929), is probably the most famous of the rulings. In this 
case, the Supreme Court ruled that the President may pocket 
veto a measure not only after the final adjournment of a 
Congress, but also during the adjournment after the first 
session. According to the Court, the intersession adjournment 
prevented the President (Coolidge) from returning the bill, and 
the measure did not become law.

    The second Supreme Court opinion came in Wright v. United 
States, 302 U.S. 583 (1938). The Supreme Court held in Wright 
that the bill in question had been properly returned to the 
Senate by the President and, in the absence of a congressional 
vote to override, it could not become law. In contrast to the 
views it had expressed in the Pocket Veto Case, the Wright 
opinion approved the President's return of a vetoed bill to an 
agent (official of the Senate) of the originating House, even 
though that body was not in session.

    Lower court opinions have also affected the use of the 
pocket veto. In 1974, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 
District of Columbia Circuit extended the decision in Wright by 
ruling that an intrasession adjournment of Congress does not 
prevent the President from returning a bill to Congress so long 
as appropriate arrangements are made for the receipt of veto 
message during an adjournment, Kennedy v. Sampson, 511 F.2d 430 
(D.C. Cir. 1974).

    In other litigation, two 1974 pocket vetoes, one by 
President Richard Nixon during a 29-day intersession 
adjournment and one by President Gerald Ford during a 31-day 
intrasession adjournment, were contested in court. These pocket 
vetoes were invalidated when the Justice Department agreed to 
the summary judgment in Kennedy v. Jones, 412 F. Supp. 353, 356 
(D.D.C. 1976).

    In Barnes v. Carmen, 582 F. Supp. 163 (D.D.C. 1984), a 
pocket veto by President Ronald Reagan between sessions of the 
98th Congress was upheld by the district court, following the 
ruling in the Pocket Veto Case. In a 2-to-1 decision in Barnes 
v. Kline, 759 F.2d 21 (D.C. Cir. 1985), the Court of Appeals 
for the District of Columbia Circuit found that use of the 
pocket veto during an intersession adjournment to be 
unconstitutional, and rested the decision on the reasoning in 
Wright and Kennedy v. Sampson. That decision was vacated as 
moot by the Supreme Court in Burke v. Barnes, 479 U.S. 361 
(1987). The Supreme Court did not reach the pocket veto issue 
since the bill in question (H.R. 4042, a bill requiring 
presidential certification of human rights progress by El 
Salvador as a condition of continuing United States aid) had 
expired by its own terms shortly after the court of appeals had 
rendered its decision.

103. What was the line item veto?

    The Line Item Veto Act of 1996 gave the President the 
authority to cancel certain new spending or entitlement 
projects, as well as the authority to cancel certain types of 
limited, targeted tax breaks. The President could make these 
cancellations within five days of the enactment of a money bill 
providing for such funds. These line item vetoes could then be 
subject to a two-thirds veto override by each the House and 
Senate. President Clinton used the line item veto to make 82 
cancellations, and Congress overrode 38 of the cancellations, 
all within a single military construction bill.

    In 1998, in Clinton v. City of New York, the Supreme Court 
held the line item veto unconstitutional, in violation of the 
Presentment Clause, found in Article I, section 7 of the 
Constitution. The Presentment Clause requires that every bill 
that passes the House and Senate must be presented to the 
President for either approval or disapproval. According to 
Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, this 
clause was violated because the line item veto authority gave 
the President a power which was ``the functional equivalent of 
partial repeals of acts of Congress,'' and the Constitution 
makes no such provision for this.

104. What is the date for the commencement of a President's term and 
        how is it set?

    When the Constitution was ratified, Congress was given 
power to determine the date for beginning the operations of the 
new administration. Congress set the date of March 4, 1789. 
Although George Washington did not take the oath of office 
until April 30, 1789, his term began March 4. Later, the 20th 
or so-called ``lame-duck'' amendment, ratified in 1933, 
established January 20 as the date on which Presidents would be 
inaugurated. In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became 
the first President to take the oath on January 20. When 
inauguration day falls on a Sunday, it is traditional practice 
for the President to take the oath privately on January 20 and 
to hold the public ceremony the following day.

105. What qualifications are prescribed for the President?

    According to Article II, section 1 of the Constitution, 
that person must be a natural-born citizen, at least 35 years 
old, and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. 
The question as to whether a child born abroad of an American 
parent is ``a natural-born citizen,'' in the sense of this 
clause, has been frequently debated. While several 
constitutional scholars have argued that such a person should 
qualify as a natural-born citizen, there is no definitive 

106. Did any presidential candidate win the popular vote but lose 
        election in the electoral college?

    Yes. In 1876 and 1888. In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes, a 
Republican, received 4,034,311 popular votes and 185 electoral 
college votes, as opposed to Samuel J. Tilden, a Democrat, who 
won 4,288,546 votes and only 184 electoral college votes. This 
election was further complicated by disputes over elections in 
Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, and Louisiana. A House 
commission was put in place to adjudicate the undecided and 
contested votes of a deadlocked electoral college. On the basis 
of the rulings by the House commission, the final electoral 
votes were 185 votes for Hayes and 184 for Tilden. The final 
tallies were not decided until March 2, 1877, two days before 
the inauguration. Neither candidate knew who would be President 
as each boarded a train for Washington the week before the 

    In 1888, Benjamin Harrison, a Republican, was elected 
President with 233 electoral votes to Grover Cleveland's 168 
votes, despite Cleveland's popular election victory of 
5,534,488 votes over Harrison's 5,443,892.

107. How often has the election of the President passed to the House of 

    Three times. This number includes the occurrence in 1876 in 
which Rutherford B. Hayes was selected over Samuel J. Tilden 
(described above in question 106). In 1800, Thomas Jefferson 
and Aaron Burr were tied with 73 electoral votes each. The 
House voted in favor of Jefferson.

    In 1824, Andrew Jackson won about 155,000 popular votes and 
99 electoral votes, but he lacked sufficient numbers to gain a 
clear majority over John Quincy Adams, who won approximately 
105,000 of the popular votes and only 84 electoral votes, and 
two third party candidates: William H. Crawford and Henry Clay, 
who had 78 electoral votes between them. The House voted in 
favor of John Quincy Adams.

108. What is the wording of the oath taken by the President? Who 
        administers it?

    The oath of office for the President is prescribed by 
Article II, section 1, clause 8 of the Constitution as follows: 
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute 
the office of President of the United States, and will, to the 
best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the 
Constitution of the United States.

    Usually, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court administers 
the oath, although there is no provision made for this within 
the Constitution. In fact, other judges have administered the 
oath at times of unexpected presidential succession.

109. What provision is made by the Constitution or by law for execution 
        of the duties of President in the event of death, resignation, 
        disability, or removal from office?

    The 25th amendment states:
          (1) in case of the removal of the President from 
        office or of his death or resignation, the Vice 
        President becomes President;
          (2) when there is a vacancy in the office of Vice 
        President, the President shall nominate a Vice 
        President who shall take office upon confirmation by a 
        majority vote of both Houses of Congress;
          (3) whenever the President transmits to the President 
        pro tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the House of 
        Representatives his written declaration that he is 
        unable to discharge the powers and duties of his 
        office, and until he transmits to them a written 
        declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties 
        shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting 
          (4) whenever the Vice President and a majority of 
        either the principal officers of the executive 
        departments or of such other body as Congress may by 
        law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of 
        the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives 
        their written declaration that the President is unable 
        to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the 
        Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and 
        duties of the office as Acting President.
          Thereafter, when the President transmits to the 
        President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of 
        the House of Representative his written declaration 
        that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers 
        and duties of his office unless the Vice President and 
        a majority of either the principal officers of the 
        executive departments or such other body as Congress 
        may by law provide, transmit within 4 days to the 
        President pro tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the 
        House of Representatives their written declaration that 
        the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties 
        of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, 
        assembling within 48 hours for that purpose, if not already 
        in session. If the Congress, within 21 days after receipt of 
        the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is required 
        to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that 
        the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of 
        his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the 
        same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall 
        assume the powers and duties of his office.

110. Who would succeed to the Presidency if the office becomes vacant 
        and there is no Vice President?

    Under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, it would be 
the Speaker of the House of Representatives, after resigning as 
Speaker and as a Representative. In the event the Speaker 
should not qualify, the President pro tempore of the Senate 
would discharge the powers and duties of the office of' 
President. Succession would then proceed in the following 
order, which has been modified over the years as new 
departments have been added: Secretary of State, Secretary of 
the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary 
of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of 
Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human 
Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary 
of Transportation, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Education, 
and Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

111. Has a President or Vice President ever resigned?

    Two Vice Presidents have resigned. John C. Calhoun resigned 
on December 28, 1832, three months before the expiration of his 
term, to become Senator from South Carolina. Spiro T. Agnew 
resigned October 10, 1973, subsequent to pleading nolo 
contendere (no contest) to a charge of Federal income tax 
evasion. Following Mr. Agnew's resignation, President Richard 
Nixon nominated Gerald R. Ford, the Minority Leader of the 
House, to fill the Vice Presidential vacancy. The Senate and 
House, in accordance with the provisions of the 25th Amendment, 
under which Mr. Ford had been nominated, approved the 
nomination. He was sworn into office on December 6, 1973. Less 
than a year later, on August 9, 1974, Gerald Ford became 
President following Richard Nixon's resignation. Shortly 
thereafter, Mr. Ford nominated Nelson A. Rockefeller to be Vice 
President; he was confirmed and sworn into office on December 
19, 1974. Thus, in about one year, two occasions arose for 
using the provisions of the 25th Amendment to fill a vacancy in 
the Vice Presidency.

112. How many Vice Presidents have succeeded to the Presidency by 
        reason of a vacancy in that office?

    Nine: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester 
A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S Truman, 
Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gerald R. Ford.

113. Of these successions, how many were caused by the assassination of 

    Four: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, 
and John F. Kennedy were assassinated. Andrew Johnson served as 
President all but 1 month of Lincoln's second term; Theodore 
Roosevelt served 3\1/2\ years of McKinley's second term; 
Chester A. Arthur served 3\1/2\ years of Garfield's term; and 
Lyndon B. Johnson served about 1\1/4\ years of Kennedy's term.

114. What would happen if the President-elect were to die before taking 

    In the event that the President-elect dies or resigns after 
the electoral vote is cast, then the Vice President-elect would 
be sworn in as President, as provided for in the 20th 

115. How are Vice Presidents elected?

    The 12th Amendment provides that the electors appointed by 
each State will name on distinct ballots the persons to be 
voted for as Vice President. A list of the electoral votes is 
then signed, certified, and transmitted ``sealed'' to the 
President of the U.S. Senate (i.e., the incumbent Vice 
President). These certificates are opened by the President of 
the Senate, in the presence of the Senate and House of 
Representatives, and the votes are then counted. The person 
having a majority of the Vice Presidential votes of the 
electors becomes Vice President. If no person has a majority, 
the Senate then chooses the Vice President from the two 
candidates receiving the largest number of votes. Two-thirds of 
the Senators must be present during the voting, with a majority 
necessary for election.

116. What are the qualifications for Vice President?

    The qualifications for Vice President are the same as 
President. Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution provides 
that a President must be a natural-born citizen, at least 35 
years old, and have been a resident of the United States for at 
least 14 years. The Vice President must meet these same 

117. Does a President have any control over the sessions of Congress?

    Under the Constitution the President may convene Congress, 
or either House, ``on extraordinary occasions.'' It is usual 
for the President in calling an extra session to indicate the 
exact matter that needs the attention of Congress. However, 
once convened, a Congress cannot be limited in the subject 
matter that it will consider.

    The President is also empowered by the Constitution to 
adjourn Congress ``at such time as he may think proper'' when 
the House and Senate disagree with respect to the time for 
adjournment. No President has exercised this power. Many 
constitutional experts believe the provision applies only in 
the case of extraordinary sessions.

118. Has it always been customary for Presidents to appear before joint 
        sessions of the House and Senate to deliver their annual State 
        of the Union message?

    Presidents George Washington and John Adams appeared before 
the two Houses in joint session to read their messages. Thomas 
Jefferson discontinued the practice in 1801, transmitting his 
message to the Capitol to be read by clerks in both Chambers. 
Jefferson's procedure was followed for a full century. In 1913, 
believing that the President should make appeals to the Nation 
and to Congress, Woodrow Wilson personally appeared before the 
two Houses and delivered a special message on finance. Later 
that same year, he delivered the ``Annual Message'' before both 
chambers, and, with the exception of President Herbert Hoover, 
the practice has been followed by subsequent Presidents.

119. What is the ``President's Cabinet''?

    The President's Cabinet has been commonly regarded as an 
institution whose existence has relied more upon custom than 
law. Article II, section 2 of the Constitution, gives some 
guidance in this matter, stating that the President ``may 
require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in 
each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to 
the Duties of their respective Offices.'' The historical 
origins of the Cabinet can be traced to the first President, 
George Washington. After the First Congress created the State, 
Treasury, and War Departments and established the Office of the 
Attorney General, Washington made appropriate appointments and, 
subsequently, found it useful to meet with the heads, also 
known as secretaries, of the executive departments. The Cabinet 
could act as the President's primary advisory group; in 
practice, however, Presidents have used it, along with other 
advisors and ad hoc arrangements, as they have seen fit.

120. What is the membership of the Cabinet?

    Traditionally, the membership of the Cabinet has consisted 
of the heads of the executive departments. Currently, there are 
14 departments: the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, 
Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing 
and Urban Development, the Interior, Justice, Labor, State, 
Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.

    From the earliest days, Presidents have accorded to others 
the privilege of attending and participating in Cabinet 
meetings. In recent years, the President's Chief of Staff, the 
Director of Central Intelligence, and the Director of the 
Office of Management and Budget, among others, have been 
accorded Cabinet rank.

                 The Executive Departments and Agencies

121. How are executive departments and agencies created?

    Executive departments must be created by statute. By 
comparison, agencies in the executive branch may be created by 
a variety of means: statute, internal departmental 
reorganizations, or, in some instances, Presidential directive. 
Deriving from the constitutional capacity as Chief Executive, 
Commander in Chief, or by delegation of authority by Congress, 
the President can create various agencies or units by Executive 
order. All agencies, however, must ultimately be given a 
statutory authority if they are to receive appropriations or 
their decisions are to have legal force.

122. How are executive departments and agencies funded?

    Most depend on annual appropriations passed by Congress. In 
some cases, though, the appropriation is permanent and requires 
no annual action by Congress. Certain agencies also operate 
from revenue received when loans are repaid and from 
nonappropriated funds such as money received from theaters, 
post exchanges on military bases, and various other types of 
user fees.

123. Who oversees the operations of executive departments and agencies?

    Oversight of the executive departments is shared among the 
three branches of Government. It is exercised by Congress as a 
consequence of its constitutional authority to enact laws, 
appropriate funds, and make rules for the Government. Congress 
monitors departmental administration and operations and reviews 
past activities, in order to ensure compliance with legislative 
intent, among other reasons. Congressional oversight is 
conducted largely through the committees and subcommittees of 
the House of Representatives and Senate. These panels are 
assisted by their own staff and congressional support agencies.

    The Federal courts also exert a degree of control over the 
executive departments through judgments as to the legality of 
actions or orders compelling compliance with the laws.

    Within the executive branch, the President exercises 
control over departments and the agencies through appointments 
of officials, as well as through the Office of Management and 
Budget. In addition, other offices, such as chief financial 
officers and inspectors general, are involved in overseeing 
agency operations and activities.

124. Why is there a merit system for Federal employees?

    The Federal merit system was established to ensure that any 
personnel actions, such as hiring, promotion, demotion, or 
firing, are taken on the basis of an individual's ability and 
performance. It replaced the ``spoils system'' whereby 
political patronage controlled hiring and firing practices. By 
contrast, the merit system is designed to ensure that the best 
candidates are hired for Federal positions, that they will be 
treated fairly, and that they will have the opportunity to rise 
as far as their abilities take them. Important merit system 
principles include the selection and advancement for Federal 
positions on the basis of knowledge, ability and skills, under 
fair and open competition; and personnel management conducted 
without regard to politics, race, color, religion, national 
origin, sex, marital status, age or handicapping condition.

125. Are all Federal employees covered by a merit system?

    More than 90 percent of federal employees are covered under 
one of four merit systems. The Civil Service System is the 
largest merit system and is managed by theOffice of Personnel 
Management. It covers approximately three-fifths of all Federal 
employees. The Senior Executive Service system covers only the upper 
stratum of civil servants. Some agencies, including the U.S. Postal 
Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have separate merit 
systems, and these systems account for approximately 30 percent of all 
federal employees. The remainder of the federal employees covered by 
merit systems are under the Excepted Service.

126. What are the roles of the Office of Personnel Management, the 
        Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Federal Labor Relations 

    The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 created three separate 
agencies to replace the U.S. Civil Service Commission. The 
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the central personnel 
agency for the Federal Government. Among other 
responsibilities, it advises the President on civilian 
employment matters; executes, administers, and enforces civil 
service laws, rules, and regulations; and provides leadership 
and assistance to Federal agencies in carrying out Federal 
personnel policies.

    The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is a quasi-
judicial agency designed to protect the integrity of the 
Federal merit system against prohibited personnel practices. An 
Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which until 1989 was part of 
MSPB, but is now an independent entity, is an investigative and 
prosecutorial agency charged with protecting employees from 
prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for 
whistleblowing. The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) 
adjudicates labor-management disputes in Federal agencies. It 
is responsible for conducting hearings and deciding complaints 
of unfair labor practices.


127. What are independent agencies and regulatory commissions?

    In general, the independent agencies comprise all Federal 
administrative agencies not included under the executive 
departments or under the direct, immediate authority of the 
President. These many and diverse organizations range from 
regulatory commissions, to Government corporations, such as the 
U.S. Postal Service, to a wide variety of boards and 
foundations. Some of these, such as the Smithsonian 
Institution, are of long standing, while others have been 
created in recent years, as the Federal Government has 
increased its responsibilities. Independent regulatory 
commissions have been established by Congress--beginning in the 
1880s with the now defunct Interstate Commerce Commission--to 
regulate some aspect of the U.S. economy. Among these are the 
Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications 
Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission.

    Such agencies are not independent of the U.S. Government 
and are subject to the laws that are approved by Congress and 
executed by the President.

128. To whom are independent agencies and commissions responsible? How 
        do they report on their activities?

    Independent regulatory commissions, Government 
corporations, and various other Government-sponsored 
enterprises are bodies headed by several commissioners, 
directors, or governors, who are appointed by the President and 
confirmed by the Senate. Unlike administrators of executive 
agencies, regulatory commissioners serve for fixed terms and 
cannot be removed at the pleasure of the President. In some 
cases, Government-sponsored enterprises may also have directors 
who are private citizens. While all of the independent 
regulatory commissions and most of the Government-sponsored 
enterprises submit their budget requests to OMB for review and 
clearance, the degree of dependence on these budgets varies 
considerably. While nearly all of the Government-sponsored 
enterprises generate a substantial part of their financial 
resources from outside sources, almost all the independent 
regulatory commissions rely on the Government for their 

    Activities of all of these entities are presented in public 
reports which are prepared annually. In addition, they are 
subject to periodic authorization and appropriations hearings 
in Congress, where their activities and operations can be 

                          THE JUDICIAL BRANCH

129. What is the ``supreme law of the land''?

    The Constitution, laws of the United States made pursuant 
to the Constitution, and treaties made under authority of the 
United States comprise the ``supreme law of the land.'' Judges 
throughout the country are bound by them, regardless of 
anything in separate State constitutions or laws.

130. What is the main principle of the system of justice in the United 

    The guiding principle of the U.S. system of justice, 
``Equal Justice Under Law,'' is engraved in the marble pediment 
above the entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court Building.

                    The Courts of the United States

131. By what authority are the Federal courts established?

    Article III of the Constitution provides that there shall 
be one Supreme Court and such inferior courts as Congress may 
``ordain and establish.'' Additionally, Article 1, Section 8 
provides that Congress has the power ``to constitute tribunals 
inferior to the Supreme Court.'' The Judiciary Act of 1789 
formally established the Supreme Court and Federal court 
system. Additional information about the federal court system 
may be found at .

132. What is the highest court and how is it organized?

    As mandated by the Constitution, the Supreme Court of the 
United States is the highest court. The Court has been composed 
of the Chief Justice of the United States and, since 1869, 
eight Associate Justices. Congress, which governs the Court's 
organization by legislation, varied the number of Justices 
between five and 10 in the period prior to 1869. Congress 
requires six Justices for a quorum to transact the business of 
the Court.

133. What is the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

    The Constitution provides that in all cases affecting 
ambassadors to the United States, other public ministers and 
consuls, and those in which a State is party, the Supreme Court 
has original jurisdiction. The 11th amendment, moreover, 
precludes citizens of one State from suing another State. 
Additionally, the Constitution provides that Congress may 
regulate the appellate jurisdiction of the Court. Congress has 
authorized the Supreme Court, among other things, to review 
judgements of lower Federal courts and the highest courts of 
the States.

134. What is the process by which the Supreme Court reaches a decision 
        and who sets this process or procedure?

    The internal review process of the Court has largely 
evolved by custom while the procedures to be followed by 
petitioners to the Court are established in rules set forth by 
the Court.

    After initially examining each case submitted, the Justices 
hold a private conference to decide which cases to schedule for 
oral argument, which to decide without argument, and which to 
deny. If at least four Justices agree, a case will be taken by 
the Court for a decision, with or without oral argument, and 
the other petitions for review will be denied. If oral argument 
is heard, the parties are generally allowed a total of one hour 
to argue the issues and respond to questions from the Justices. 
Later, in conference, the Justices make their decision by 
simple majority or plurality vote. A tie vote means that the 
decision of the lower court is allowed to stand. Such a vote 
could occur when one or three Justices do not take part in a 

135. How does the Supreme Court cope with the large number of decisions 
        which it receives on appeal from State and Federal courts?

    Each year the Court receives more than 7,000 petitions from 
State and lower Federal courts. While examining all of the 
cases submitted, the Court agrees to hear oral arguments on 
about 90 each term. Also, the Justices, without hearing oral 
arguments, decide a limited number of other cases--usually 
fewer than 75. The rest of the petitions are denied.

136. Who writes the opinions of the Supreme Court?

    When the Justices have decided a case, the Chief Justice, 
if voting with the majority, may write the opinion himself or 
assign an Associate Justice to write the opinion of the Court. 
If the Chief Justice is in the minority, the senior Associate 
Justice in the majority may write the opinion himself or 
herself or assign another Associate Justice in the majority to 
write the opinion. The individual Justices may write their own 
concurring or dissenting opinions in any decision.

137. Why is so much importance placed on a Supreme Court decision?

    Article VI of the Constitution provides that the 
Constitution and the laws of the United States made ``in 
Pursuance thereof '' shall be the supreme law of the land. 
Thus, when the Supreme Court decides a case, particularly on 
constitutional grounds, it becomes guidance for all the lower 
courts and legislators when a similar question arises. Under 
its power of judicial review, the Court can declare laws 
unconstitutional, thus making them null and void.

138. What are the Federal District Courts and how are they organized?

    The 94 district courts, created by Congress, are the trial 
courts in the Federal judicial system. It is in these courts 
that most Federal cases are first tried and decided. There is 
at least one district court in each State for a total of 89 in 
the 50 States. In addition, there is one court for each of the 
following five jurisdictions: District of Columbia, Puerto 
Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana 
Islands. The number of judges varies in each court from two to 
28. Trials in these courts are generally heard by a single 

139. What are the Courts of Appeals and how are they organized?

    Often called circuit courts, they are divided 
geographically into 12 circuits, each having from 6 to 28 
judges. The jurisdiction of these courts covers appeals from 
the district courts and appeals from actions of Government 
agencies. Cases are generally presented to the courts sitting 
in panels consisting of three judges. There also is a Court of 
Appeals for the Federal Circuit with a nationwide jurisdiction, 
which reviews lower court rulings in, among other things, 
patent, trademark, and copyright cases.

140. What other Federal courts are there?

    There are several special courts of the United States that 
have jurisdiction over specialized subjects. The jurisdiction 
of each court is indicated by its title: The U.S. Court of 
Federal Claims hears various kinds of claims against the United 
States; the Court of International Trade hears claims against 
the Government arising from Federal laws governing import 
transactions; the Tax Court adjudicates controversies involving 
deficiencies or overpayment of taxes; the U.S. Court of Appeals 
for the Armed Forces reviews court-martial convictions of all 
of the armed services; and the Court of Veterans Appeals 
reviews decisions of the Board of Veterans Appeals. There are a 
few other courts composed of regular U.S. district and 
appellate judges who render this service in addition to their 
regular duties.

                        The Justices and Judges

141. What are the qualifications required to be a Justice of the 
        Supreme Court?

    There are neither constitutional nor statutory 
qualifications for appointees to the Supreme Court. Determining 
the qualifications of the individuals selected is left up to 
the President, who nominates, and the Members of the Senate, 
who confirm individuals to the Court.

142. What is the tenure of a Federal judge?

    Judges of the Court of Federal Claims, Tax Court, Court of 
Appeals for the Armed Forces, and Court of Veterans Appeals 
have terms of 15 years, and judges of the territorial District 
Courts in Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana 
Islands have 10-year terms. Otherwise, the judges of the courts 
mentioned in the preceding questions, including the Supreme 
Court, courts of appeals, and most Federal district courts, 
have ``good behaviour'' tenure as specified in the 
Constitution, which is generally considered to be life tenure.

143. Why do most Federal judges have ``good behaviour'' tenure?

    The Framers of the Constitution believed that by allowing 
for a ``good behaviour'' tenure and prohibiting the diminution 
of a judge's compensation while in office, the independence of 
the Federal judiciary could be preserved. Thus, if a judicial 
decision displeased the Executive or legislature, or a majority 
of the population, the judges could not be punished for it. 
This judicial independence was considered to be a key part of 
the system of checks and balances established by the 

144. How and for what reasons may judges with ``good behaviour'' tenure 
        be removed from office?

    Such judges may be removed from office by impeachment for 
treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. One 
statute specifically states that Justices or judges appointed 
under the authority of the United States who engage in the 
practice of law are guilty of a high misdemeanor. Otherwise, it 
is up to Congress to determine if certain judicial misbehavior 
meets the understanding of a high crime and misdemeanor.

145. What is the oath of office for Federal judges and Justices?

    A Federal statute provides that each Justice or judge of 
any court created by enactment of Congress shall take the 
following oath before performing the duties of office: I do 
solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice 
without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and 
to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially 
discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as * * * 
under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help 
me God.''

                         THE ELECTORAL PROCESS

146. How are Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States 

    Candidates for President and Vice President are nominated 
either through individual declaration or by the action of a 
major or minor political party.

    Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates nominated by 
the major parties are chosen at the national conventions of 
their respective parties. Delegates to these conventions are 
chosen on the State level by a variety of methods, including 
Presidential primaries, caucuses, conventions, or some 
combination of two or more of these elements. The process of 
delegate selection begins early in the Presidential election 
year, usually in late January or early February, and is 
completed well in advance of the national conventions, usually 
by June. National party conventions traditionally meet in July 
or August of Presidential election years, with the party ``out 
of power'' in the White House usually convening about one month 
prior to the other party.

    The prenomination campaign may begin within the major 
parties as early as a candidate wishes to announce and begin 
organizing and fundraising. However, only funds raised after 
January 1 of the year preceding the Presidential election year 
qualify for Federal matching funds, however.

147. How are Presidents and Vice Presidents elected?

    The President and Vice President of the United States are 
chosen every four years, in even-numbered years divisible by 
the number four, by a majority vote of Presidential electors 
who are elected by popular vote in each State.

    Candidates for the Presidency, Vice Presidency, and the 
office of elector representing the major political parties are 
automatically accorded ballot access in all of the States, 
while minor party candidates must satisfy various State 
requirements, such as gaining a requisite degree of public 
support, through petition signatures, establishing a State-
mandated organizational structure, or having polled a required 
number of votes in the most recent statewide election.

    All States also provide for inclusion of independent 
candidates on the general election ballot. In almost every 
case, candidates must submit a requisite number of petitions 
signed by registered voters in order to gain ballot access. 
Some States also provide for write-in votes for candidates not 
included on the ballot.

    Although the major political parties dominate Presidential 
election contests, there are usually a number of independent 
and minor party candidates. In 1996, for example, 19 minor 
party candidates for President were listed on the ballot in at 
least one state, including the Reform Party candidate, who 
received 8.4% of the popular vote. The same candidate had also 
run in 1992 on the Reform Party ticket and won 18.9% of the 
vote, the highest minor party vote total since the 1912 
election, when former President Theodore Roosevelt won 27.4% as 
the Progressive Party candidate. None of the minor party 
candidates in either 1992 or 1996 won any electoral votes.

    The general election campaign for independent or minor 
party candidates may begin as early as the candidates wish. 
Major-party Presidential campaigns traditionally begin on Labor 
Day and, therefore, last approximately two months.

148. What is the ``electoral college''? What is its role in the 
        election of the President and Vice President of the United 

    The President and Vice President of the United States are 
elected by electors, individuals who are chosen in the November 
general election in Presidential election years. The electors 
meet in their respective States on the first Monday after the 
second Wednesday in December to vote, separately, for President 
and Vice President. Although the term does not appear in the 
Constitution, the electors are collectively known as the 
electoral college.

    Each State is assigned a number of electors equal to the 
total of its Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress. 
The District of Columbia, under the 23rd Amendment, chooses a 
number equal to that assigned to the least populous State 
(three). The electoral college currently comprises 538 members 
when constituted. The Constitution requires that candidates for 
President and Vice President receive an absolute majority of 
electoral votes in order to be elected (270 of the current 
total of 538).

    The Constitution, in Article II, Section 1, provides that, 
``No Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of 
trust or profit under the United States shall be appointed an 
elector.'' Aside from this disqualification, any person is 
qualified to be an elector for President and Vice President.

    While the Constitution (Article II, Section 1) empowers the 
States to appoint electors ``in such manner as the legislature 
thereof may direct,'' all 50 States and the District of 
Columbia currently provide that Presidential electors be 
elected by popular vote. Forty-eight States and the District of 
Columbia provide for winner-take-all, at-large elections, known 
as the general ticket system; it awards all electoral votes to 
the candidate who receives a plurality of popular votes cast in 
the State. Maine, beginning in 1972, and Nebraska, beginning in 
1992, comprise the only current exceptions to this arrangement, 
using the district system to award electoral votes. Under the 
district system, popular votes are tallied in each 
congressional district and on a statewide basis. The popular 
vote winner in each district is awarded one electoral vote, 
while the statewide popular vote winner is awarded two 
additional votes, reflecting the two ``senatorial'' electors 
assigned to each State regardless of population.

    The modern electoral college almost always reflects the 
preelection pledges of its members and does not, as the 
Founding Fathers anticipated, make independent judgments 
concerning who should be elected President and Vice President. 
Between 1820 and 1988, only 16 electors cast their votes for 
candidates other than those to whom they were pledged. This is 
known as the phenomenon of the ``unfaithful'' or ``faithless'' 
elector. While a number of States have enacted legislation that 
seeks to bind electors to the popular vote winners, the 
preponderance of opinion among constitutional scholars holds 
that electors remain free agents.

    The electoral college never meets as one body, but in 51 
State electoral colleges, usually in the State capital. 
Separate votes are cast for President and Vice President. Once 
the electors have voted and the results have been certified by 
the Governor of each State, the results are forwarded to the 
President of the U.S. Senate (the Vice President). The 
electoral vote certificates are opened and tallied at a joint 
session of Congress held on the sixth day of January succeeding 
every meeting of the electors, or, by custom, on the following 
day if the sixth falls on a Sunday, with the Vice President 
presiding. The winning candidates are then declared to have 
been elected.

    If no candidate for President or Vice President has 
received a majority, the House of Representatives, voting by 
States, elects the President, and the Senate, voting as 
individuals, elects the Vice President.

149. Did the electoral college ever vote unanimously for any President?

    The electors voted unanimously on only two occasions, both 
for George Washington, for the terms beginning in 1789 and 
1793. In the Presidential election of 1820, all the electors 
except one voted to reelect James Monroe.

150. How are Senators and Representatives nominated and elected?

    Senate and House candidates of major political parties are 
nominated by primary election in most States. Some States also 
provide for a party convention or committee recommendation in 
conjunction with a primary. In many States, no primary election 
is held for a particular office if the candidate is unopposed 
for nomination. Minor-party candidates in most States are 
nominated according to individual party rules and procedures. 
Independent candidates are nominated by self-declaration.

    Major-party candidates are afforded automatic ballot access 
in all States, while minor-party and independent candidates 
must meet various State requirements, such as submission of 
petition signatures of registered voters, in order to be placed 
on the general election ballot.

    Senators are elected by plurality vote of eligible voters 
in their State. A plurality means that the candidate with the 
largest number of votes, usually, but not necessarily a 
majority, is the victor. Representatives are elected by 
plurality vote in the congressional district in which they are 
candidates. The only major exceptions to this rule in Federal 
general elections are found in the District of Columbia, for 
its Delegate to the House, and Georgia, which require that a 
candidate receive a majority of popular votes in order to be 
elected. A runoff election is scheduled in the event no 
candidate receives the requisite majority. In addition, 
Louisiana requires that all candidates, including those for the 
U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, compete in an all-
party primary election. A candidate winning a majority of votes 
under this arrangement is declared elected, and the general 
election is canceled for that office.

151. What are the qualifications to vote in a national election?

    In practice, all U.S. citizens 18 years of age or older who 
meet certain additional qualifications established by the 
States are eligible to vote in national elections.
    The Constitution originally provided for a limited degree 
of public participation in the electoral process, requiring 
that Members of the House of Representatives be chosen by 
electors having ``the Qualifications requisite for Electors of 
the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature''; that 
Senators be elected by the State legislature; and that electors 
for President be chosen, as previously noted, ``in such a 
Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.''

    Prior to the Civil War, State action extended the franchise 
to a point where all white males, 21 years of age or older, and 
some black males, in certain nonslave States, were eligible to 
vote. Since the Civil War, Congress and the States have, 
through a series of constitutional amendments and legislative 
enactments, progressively extended the franchise. The 15th 
Amendment (1870) guaranteed the right to vote regardless of 
``race, color, or previous condition of servitude''; the 17th 
Amendment (1913) provided for direct popular election to the 
Senate; the 19th Amendment (1920) extended the vote to women; 
the 23rd Amendment (1961) established the right to vote in 
Presidential elections for citizens of the District of 
Columbia; the 24th Amendment (1964) prohibited the payment of 
any tax as a prerequisite for voting in Federal elections; and 
the 26th Amendment (1971) extended the vote to citizens 18 
years of age or older.

    Since 1957, Congress has enacted laws designed to prevent 
racial discrimination in the election process, namely, the 
Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964. In 1965, Congress 
also passed the Voting Rights Act which suspended for a stated 
period of time all tests and similar devices, which had been 
used to discriminate against minority groups, particularly 
black citizens. This same legislation authorized Federal 
officers to register voters and to observe elections to insure 
that there was no discrimination. In 1970, Congress extended 
for an additional period of time the test suspension features 
of the 1965 Act and reduced the residence requirements imposed 
by States as a prerequisite for voting for Presidential 
electors. The Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970 provided for 
the abolition of continual residency requirements for voting in 
Presidential elections and required the States to provide for 
absentee registration and voting in Presidential elections.

    In 1975, Congress again extended the Voting Rights Act; 
placed a permanent nationwide ban on the use of literacy tests 
and devices; expanded the act to provide coverage for minority 
groups not literate in English; and required affected States 
and jurisdictions to offer certain kinds of bilingual 
assistance to voters. Congress again extended the Voting Rights 
Act in 1982 and amended it, to enable jurisdictions to seek 
release from its coverage, but only if they could meet certain 
conditions. Section 2 of the Act was also amended to provide 
that the courts could judge an election law to be 
discriminatory without proof that it was intended to be so, so 
long as the law resulted in abridging or diluting minority 
voting power.

    The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 
1987 guarantees the right of persons in military service or 
living abroad to vote by absentee ballot in Federal elections. 
The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 
1984 mandates Federal standards of physical accessibility for 
polling places and registration sites and requires the 
availability of large type ballots and hearing devices for the 

    Voters must also meet State requirements in order to vote, 
the most common of which is registration. Citizens in 46 States 
and the District of Columbia must register between 10 and 50 
days in advance of election day, while the States of Maine, 
Minnesota, and Wisconsin provide for registration on election 
day. In addition, North Dakota does not require registration of 
voters, relying instead on presentation of personal 
identification at the polls. Thirty States and the District of 
Columbia require that voters be residents for a period of 
between 1 and 50 days prior to election day. In addition, most 
States bar registration and voting by convicted felons and 
those judged mentally incompetent.

152. Who is responsible for the administration of elections in the 
        United States?

    The administration of elections, including regulation of 
political parties, ballot access, and registration procedures, 
establishment of polling places, provision of election-day 
workers, counting and certification of the vote, and all costs 
associated with these activities, are the responsibility of the 
States. In performing these functions, the States are subject 
to the requirements of the Constitution and Federal law, as 
noted above.

153. How was the choice of a national election day made?

    The Constitution (Article II, Section 1) provides that 
``Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and 
the Day on which they shall give their votes; which Day shall 
be the same throughout the United States.'' In 1792, Congress 
enacted legislation establishing the first Wednesday in 
December as the day on which Presidential electors were to 
assemble and vote, and further required the States to appoint 
electors within 34 days prior to the date set for the electors 
to vote. In 1845, Congress enacted legislation providing a 
uniform date for the choice of electors in all States, 
establishing ``Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month 
of November of the year in which they are to be appointed.''

    In 1872, Congress extended the November election day to 
cover elections for Members and Delegates to the U.S. House of 
Representatives. In 1915, following ratification of the 17th 
amendment, which established direct popular election of 
Senators, the Tuesday after the first Monday in November was 
also designated as election day for Senators.

    The decision to create a single day for the selection of 
Presidential electors was intended, in part, to prevent 
election abuses resulting from electors being selected on 
separate days in neighboring States. Several other reasons are 
also traditionally cited as being responsible for the selection 
of November as the time for Federal elections. In a largely 
rural and agrarian nation, harvesting of crops was completed by 
November, so farmers were able to take the time necessary to 
vote. Travel was also easier before the onset of winter weather 
throughout the northern States. Tuesday was chosen partly 
because it gave a full day's travel time between Sunday, which 
was widely observed by religious denominations as a strict day 
of rest, precluding most travel, and voting day. This interval 
was considered necessary when travel was either on foot or by 
horse in many areas, and the only polling place in most rural 
areas wasat the county seat. The choice of Tuesday after the 
first Monday prevented elections from falling on the first day of the 
month, which was often reserved for court business at the county seat.

154. What federal laws regulate the financing of election campaigns?

    The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971, as 
amended, regulates the financing of campaigns for election to 
federal office. The Act regulates fund raising and expenditures 
related to primary, general, and special elections.

    The FECA, as amended, establishes three major aspects of 
campaign finance regulation applicable to all candidates for 
federal office and to others who spend money to influence 
federal elections (under standards created by statute and 
judicial ruling):

          Disclosure of receipts and expenditures on a regular basis, 
        including both aggregate data and detailed information on 
        contributions and expenditures in amounts greater than $200;
          Prohibition on spending of treasury funds by corporations, 
        labor unions, and national banks to influence federal elections 
        (as opposed to the creation of political action committees, 
        called PACs, by such entities to raise voluntary contributions 
        from specific, restricted classes); and
          Limitations on amounts that can be contributed to candidates, 
        PACs, and political parties.
In contrast with contributions, expenditures for communications 
directly with voters are generally not subject to federal limits.
    Provisions initially enacted in the Revenue Act of 1971 offer 
optional public financing, for candidates in presidential primary and 
general elections and for political parties' presidential nominating 
    The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the principal enforcement 
agency, with primary civil jurisdiction and investigatory authority in 
criminal cases. The FEC has the power to prescribe regulations to 
implement and clarify campaign laws, to issue advisory opinions to 
facilitate compliance with the law, and to disseminate information on 
campaign finances to the public.

155. Who pays for the campaigns of candidates for federal office?

    Most of the funding for federal candidates comes from 
voluntary contributions by individuals, groups, and political 
parties. Since 1976, Presidential candidates have also had the 
option--which most have accepted--of public funding for their 
campaigns, which is supported by taxpayer designations against 
their tax liability of $3 ($6 on joint returns). Public funding 
is not available to candidates for Congress.

156. How much can individuals contribute to candidates' campaigns for 
        federal office?

    Under federal election law, individuals are subject to 
contribution limits of $1,000 per candidate per election 
(primary and general elections are counted separately), $5,000 
per year to a political action committee (PAC), and $20,000 per 
year to a political party's national committee. An individual's 
total contributions to candidates, PACs, and parties for 
federal election campaigns may not exceed $25,000 per year.

157. How much may interest groups contribute to candidates' campaigns 
        for federal office?

    Through PACs, interest groups may contribute up to $5,000 
per candidate per election--if the PAC meets, as most do, the 
law's criteria for a multicandidate committee (a political 
committee that has been registered with the FEC for at least 6 
months, has received contributions from more than 50 people, 
and has made contributions to at least 5 Federal candidates).

158. How much may political parties contribute to candidates' campaigns 
        for federal office?

    Political parties are essentially treated as PACs for 
purposes of contribution limits: they may contribute up to 
$5,000 per candidate per election. They may also make 
coordinated expenditures on behalf of their general election 
candidates, subject to higher limits that are indexed for 

159. How much may candidates spend on their campaign for federal 

    Candidates may spend unlimited amounts of their own 
personal funds on their campaigns, except Presidential and Vice 
Presidential candidates who accept public funds may spend no 
more than $50,000 from personal and immediate family funds.

160. How does public funding of Presidential elections work, and how 
        may candidates qualify to receive it?

    Under federal election law, presidential candidates may 
choose to accept public funds if they agree to abide by 
specified expenditure limits and meet other eligibility 
criteria. Primary election campaigns are funded through the 
Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account, general election 
campaigns and conventions through the Presidential Election 
Campaign Fund. These funds come from a $3 per taxpayer optional 
check-off designation on Federal income tax returns.

    A primary candidate may be eligible for matching funds 
after raising $100,000, in amounts of $5,000 from each of 20 
States, in donations from individuals of $250 or less. 
Thereafter, the Fund matches each contribution of $250 or less 
until the total amount of public funds equals 50% of the 
candidate's primary spending limit. By linking the level of 
funds received to that of private funds raised in the 
primaries, the law seeks to insure receipt of public funds only 
by serious candidates (i.e., those who demonstrate public 
support by raising a sizable number of private contributions).

    In the general election, nominees of the major parties for 
President and Vice President are automatically eligible for a 
flat stipend from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. In 
1996, the major-party candidates, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, 
each received $61.8 million for the general election (an amount 
which is adjusted every four years for cost-of-living changes). 
No private contributions may beaccepted by major-party 
candidates who receive general election public funding, except for a 
specified amount from their parties' national committees.

    Third-party candidates may get public funds in an amount 
proportionate to votes received by that party as compared with 
the major parties in the previous presidential election. In 
1996, Ross Perot became the first third-party candidate to be 
eligible and received $29.1 million as a Reform Party 
candidate. Independent or new party candidates may receive 
retroactive public funds after the election, if they get at 
least 5% of the popular votes. John Anderson, in 1980, was the 
only candidate to date who received this benefit--some $4.2 

    Parties may receive public funds for their national 
nominating conventions. The two major parties each received 
$12.4 million in 1996. This amount, also, is subject to cost-
of-living increases. No minor parties have qualified to date 
for this subsidy.

161. What about spending outside of a candidate's control? Does federal 
        law regulate such efforts to influence elections?

    Spending money to communicate with voters independent of a 
candidate's campaign is generally subject to Federal regulation 
only if the message contains express advocacy (i.e., expressly 
advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified 
candidate through such words as ``vote for Smith'' or ``defeat 
Jones''). If a communication contains express advocacy and has 
not been made in coordination with an affected candidate, it is 
considered an independent expenditure under the FECA. All 
principles of Federal regulation apply to these expenditures, 
but there are no limits on the amounts that may be spent on 
such communications. If a non-coordinated communication does 
not contain express advocacy such as specific words advocating 
the election or defeat of a candidate, courts have generally 
held that funding for these communications are not subjected to 
Federal contribution limits, because such speech is protected 
by the First Amendment. Courts have held such ads may discuss a 
candidate's actions, voting record or position on an issue, so 
long as they do not contain express advocacy. These messages 
are often called issue ads or issue advocacy.

162. What is ``soft money''?

    ``Soft money'' is a term often used for funds raised and 
spent by political parties, corporations, labor unions and 
other groups that is not subject to regulation by the Federal 
Election Commission. This money comes from corporations, labor 
unions, and individuals in amounts greater than those permitted 
by the Federal contribution limits.

    One example of soft money is funds raised and spent by 
political parties for state, as opposed to Federal campaign 
activities. Such funds are currently regulated by state law. 
When political parties spend money for activities that could 
impact both state and federal elections, such as generic party 
advertising, voter registration and get-out-the vote programs, 
FEC rules require these activities to be paid for with a mix of 
funds raised under federal and state law. Those percentages are 
determined by the ratio of federal and state candidates on the 
ballot in a particular election. Some state contribution limits 
are more restrictive than Federal law, while others are less 

    Another example of soft money is funds spent by 
corporations to communicate with their executives and 
stockholders, and spent by unions to communicate with their 
members. Large amounts of money are spent, particularly by 
unions to educate, register, and turn out union members and 
their families. Courts have held that dues paying union workers 
who are not union members are not required to pay for political 
activities of the union if they do not wish to, however that 
principle does not apply to full union members.

                          Campaign Disclosure

    Federal law requires that all contributions to Federal 
election campaigns must be periodically disclosed to the 
Federal Election Commission. The public may examine these 
reports by national political parties, Federal PACs, and 
federal candidates on the FEC's website WWW.FEC.GOV. A new law 
requires that such reports filed directly with the FEC must be 
filed electronically via the Internet, or by similar means.

                         INFORMATION RESOURCES

163. What is the Office of the Federal Register?

    The Office of the Federal Register was established in 1935 
by the Federal Register Act and is administered by the National 
Archives and Records Administration. It is responsible for the 
periodic publication of laws or acts of Congress, Presidential 
documents, regulations that Federal agencies have issued under 
authority delegated by Congress, and the U.S. Government Manual 
(official handbook of the Federal Government). The Manual 
provides information on Federal agencies as well as on quasi-
official agencies, on international organizations in which the 
United States participates, and on boards, committees, and 
commissions. The Office of the Federal Register Web site is 
located at .

    Laws consist of both public laws, which have general 
applicability in the society, and private laws, which normally 
affect a particular individual or organization. Each Act of 
Congress is numbered and published upon enactment in ``slip 
law'' or pamphlet form, and they are cumulated for each session 
of Congress in the U.S. Statutes at Large. Regulations of 
Government agencies, Presidential proclamations, and Executive 
orders having general applicability and legal effect are 
published in the Federal Register, which appears usually five 
times a week. All regulations currently in force are published 
in codified form in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is 
updated annually. Presidential speeches, statements, messages, 
and other materials made public by the White House are 
published currently in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential 
Documents and annually in the Public Papers of the Presidents.

164. What kinds of documents are published in the Federal Register?

    Four types of documents must be published in the Federal 
Register before they are considered legally binding: (1) 
Presidential proclamations and Executive orders of general 
interest, and any other document the President submits or 
orders to be published; (2) every document issued under proper 
authority, which prescribes a penalty or course of conduct, 
confers a right, privilege, authority, or immunity, or which 
imposes an obligation relevant or applicable to the general 
public, members of a class of people, or persons of a locality; 
(3) documents or classes of documents required by Act of 
Congress to be filed and published; and (4) other documents 
deemed by the Director of the Office of the Federal Register to 
be of sufficient interest. These materials are reproduced in 
the Federal Register under one of the following sections: (1) 
Presidential Documents; (2) Rules and Regulations; (3) Proposed 
Rules; and (4) Notices. Although the Federal Register is 
unknown to many citizens, it constitutes a major means of 
regulating and governing the United States.

165. What are the other responsibilities of the National Archives?

    Statutorily chartered in 1934, the National Archives, 
headed by the Archivist of the United States, maintains the 
historically valuable records of the Federal Government, 
including materials dating to the Revolutionary War era. Its 
staff arranges and preserves Federal records and prepares 
inventories, guides, and other finding aids to facilitate their 
use by Government personnel, scholars, and the public. Its 
collections are available for use in research rooms in all of 
its facilities, and copies may be purchased. Most of the 
historically valuable records in the agency's custody are 
maintained in facilities in the Washington, DC, area. Records 
that are primarily of regional or local interest, however, are 
maintained in 11 regional archives; and there are, as well, 10 
specialized Presidential libraries, which are managed by the 
National Archives.

166. What are these Presidential libraries and where are they located?

    The Presidential libraries managed by the National Archives 
began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the current 
program was established with the Presidential Libraries Act of 
1955. Under the terms of this law, a former President or heirs 
may purchase land, usually near the former President's 
birthplace or hometown, erect a library edifice, place his 
papers and records in it, and deed the facility to the Federal 
Government. These libraries and their holdings are open to both 
scholars and the public. Presidential libraries have been 
established for Herbert Hoover (West Branch, IA), Franklin D. 
Roosevelt (Hyde Park, NY), Harry S Truman (Independence, MO), 
Dwight D. Eisenhower (Abilene, KS), John F. Kennedy (Boston, 
MA), Lyndon B. Johnson (Austin, TX), Gerald R. Ford (Ann Arbor, 
MI), Jimmy Carter (Atlanta, GA), Ronald Reagan (Simi Valley, 
CA), and George Bush (College Station, TX). A Richard M. Nixon 
Presidential Library has been built (Yorba Linda, CA), but it 
is a private facility and has not been deeded to the Federal 
Government. The Nixon Presidential records, however, remain in 
Washington, DC, due to a special 1974 Act of Congress placing 
them in the custody of the Archivist. A library also is being 
planned for William Clinton in Little Rock, AR. Web sites for 
Presidential libraries maintained by the Archivist of the 
United States may be found at .

167. Are there libraries across the United States that regularly 
        receive copies of Federal Government publications as they are 

    Many years ago, Congress recognized the desirability of 
making Government publications available to the public. The 
depository library program was created by Congress in order to 
promote the American public's awareness of the activities of 
their Government. Under this program, which is administered by 
the Superintendent of Documents of the Government Printing 
Office, nearly 1,400 libraries throughout the country receive 
Federal Government publications free of charge, and, in return, 
pledge to provide free access to all library patrons. 
Depository libraries are designated by law, by the 
Superintendent of Documents, and by Members of Congress. The 
Superintendent prepares lists of documents that are available 
to the depositories; and they, on the basis of patron interest, 
select publications for their collections. A congressional 
Member's office, a Federal information center, or a local 
reference librarian can usually help to identify the locations 
of depository libraries. A Government Printing Office Web site 
located at  may also 
be consulted to locate depository libraries.

168. What is the Federal Information Center Program?

    Established in 1966 and managed by the Administrator of the 
General Services Administration, the Federal Information Center 
(FIC) is a single point of contact for people who have 
questions about Federal agencies, programs, and services. The 
FIC currently responds to about 2 million calls per year via 
its nationwide, toll-free number: 800-688-9889. The Center is 
open for public inquiries from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET each 
workday, except Federal holidays. Among the most frequent 
public inquiries are those having to do with workplace safety 
issues, State government matters, immigration and 
naturalization, Federal taxes, Federal employment, Government 
publications, disaster assistance, and consumer matters. A FIC 
Web site may be found at .

169. What special information resources may be found at the Library of 

    The Library of Congress in Washington, DC--which was 
established by an act of April 24, 1800 appropriating $5,000 
``for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the 
use of Congress''--is now a library both for the Congress and 
for the Nation. It was restarted in 1814, when Congress 
purchased Thomas Jefferson's personal library of 6,500 books to 
replace the 3,000 volumes that burned in the Capitol fire 
during the War of 1812. The Library serves Congress in numerous 
ways, especially through its collections, reference resources, 
and research and analysis provided by the Congressional 
Research Service, the Law Library, and other departments and 

    The Library's vast multimedia holdings include books, 
papers, maps, prints, photographs, motion pictures, and sound 
recordings. Among them are the mostcomprehensive collections of 
Chinese, Japanese, and Russian language books outside Asia and the 
Commonwealth of Independent States; volumes relating to science and 
legal materials outstanding for American and foreign law; the world's 
largest collection of published aeronautical literature; the most 
extensive collection in the Western Hemisphere of books printed before 
1501 A.D.; and manuscript collections relating to manifold aspects of 
American history and civilization, including the personal papers of the 
Presidents from George Washington through Calvin Coolidge. No 
introduction or special credentials are required for persons over high-
school age to use the general reading rooms; special collections, 
however, may be used only by those with a serious purpose for doing so. 
The Library of Congress Web site is located at .

170. What special information resources are found in other Federal 

    The national medical collection is located at the National 
Library of Medicine  in Bethesda, MD, and the 
national agricultural collection is housed at the National 
Agricultural Library  in Beltsville, MD.

171. How may someone get access to unpublished Federal records that are 
        still in agency files?

    Enacted in 1966, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
statutorily established a presumptive right of the people to 
know about the activities and operations of the Federal 
departments and agencies. The law provides any person, 
individual or corporation, regardless of nationality, with 
access to identifiable, existing agency records without having 
to demonstrate a need or even give a reason for such a request. 
The burden of proof for withholding material sought by the 
public is placed upon the Government. The law specifies nine 
categories of information, including certain law enforcement 
records, confidential business information, and properly 
classified national security documents, that may permissibly be 
exempted from the rule of disclosure. Disputes over the 
accessibility of requested records may be ultimately settled in 
Federal court.

172. How is a request for records made under the Freedom of Information 

    A request for records under the Freedom of Information Act 
should be made by letter indicating as specifically as possible 
what is being sought. The requester should state that he or she 
is using the FOI Act. This letter should be sent to the Federal 
agency or agencies thought to possess the desired records. The 
lower left-hand corner of the envelope should be marked ``FOIA 
Request.'' If a special form is needed to process your request, 
it will be sent by the agency. An access professional from the 
agency may telephone to clarify the request or discuss 
responsive materials. A requester may also appeal if the 
original request is denied.

173. Must a fee be paid to make a Freedom of Information Act request?

    There is no fee to make a FOI Act request. Nonetheless, an 
individual, who is not making a request for records for 
commercial, scholarly, or news media use, may be asked to pay 
reasonable standard charges only for document search and 
duplication. The law states, however, that in the case of an 
average individual's request, the first 2 hours of search time 
or the first 100 pages of duplication shall be provided free of 
charge. No agency may require advance payment of any fee unless 
the requester has previously failed to pay fees in a timely 
fashion, or the agency has determined that the fee will exceed 
$250. The law also has a public interest standard allowing the 
waiving of fees in whole or in part.

174. Will the Freedom of Information Act allow access to one's own 
        personal records on file with a Federal agency?

    The FOI Act provides any person with presumptive access to 
topical agency records. Personal access to one's own records is 
more effectively pursued under the Privacy Act. It provides 
presumptive access for U.S. citizens and permanent resident 
aliens to their own personal records on file with most Federal 
agencies. The law specifies certain categories of information, 
such as on-going criminal investigation records, that may be 
exempted from its rule of disclosure. In the event an 
individual finds such personal records to be erroneous, a 
supplemental correction may be placed in the file. Access 
requests under the Privacy Act are made in the same manner as 
FOI Act requests. The request envelope should be marked 
``Privacy Act Request.''

175. What kinds of documents and publications are produced by Congress?

    Congress produces various kinds of publications in the 
course of conducting its work. The daily Chamber activities and 
events of the House of Representatives and the Senate are 
recorded and published in the Congressional Record. When the 
committees and subcommittees of each House of Congress hold 
hearings on legislation, to examine some matter, or, in the 
case of the Senate, to consider a nomination or treaty, a 
transcript of these proceedings is made and is later often 
published. Studies and other supplemental materials aiding the 
hearings process are sometimes published as so-called committee 
prints. House and Senate reports, sequentially numbered, 
usually result when a committee completes action on 
legislation, concludes an investigation, or, in the case of the 
Senate, votes on a nomination or treaty. Other auxiliary 
materials of importance to each congressional Chamber, such as 
Presidential messages or official submissions by congressional 
officers, may be published as House or Senate documents, 
another sequentially numbered series. Finally, proposals 
introduced by Representatives and Senators are published as 
bills and resolutions.

    Congress produces many other publications, such as the 
Congressional Directory, the primary source of information on 
the Congress. Others include the Congressional Pictorial 
Directory; How Our Laws Are Made; Our Flag; The Capitol; The 
Constitution Rules and Manual of the United States Senate; 
Constitution, Jefferson's Manual and Rules of the House of 
Representatives; high-school and college debate books; and 
various historical documents.

176. Where are these congressional publications available?

    All Members receive a limited allotment of most 
congressional publications and documents. Committees also 
maintain a limited supply of hearings transcripts,committee 
prints, reports, documents, bills, and resolutions. The House and 
Senate each have a document room that is open to the public where 
bills, reports, public laws, and certain documents may be obtained free 
of charge. Some congressional publications and documents are available 
for purchase from the Superintendent of Documents of the Government 
Printing Office (GPO). Also, the GPO operates 24 regional bookstores in 
16 States and the District of Columbia. Original or microform copies of 
the items may also be found, to varying extents, in major public 
libraries, Federal depository libraries, and university and law 
libraries throughout the United States. Congressional publications are 
available, as well, through websites of the Government Printing Office 
(), the Library of Congress (), and the House () and the Senate 
(), the latter two sites providing avenues to 
committee Web sites where documents may be posted.

177. How may someone obtain access to unpublished records of Congress?

    Congress routinely transfers its noncurrent, unpublished 
official records, consisting mostly of committee files, to the 
Center for Legislative Archives of the National Archives. 
Senate records are available there 20 years after they are 
created, although some are opened earlier by action of the 
committee that created them. House records become available 30 
years after their creation, with permission from the Clerk of 
the House. A small group of House and Senate records involving 
national security or personal privacy issues remain closed for 
50 years. The National Archives publishes guides that provide 
full descriptions of these valuable collections.

    The office files of individual Senators and Representatives 
are considered their personal property. Most Members donate 
their papers to a historical research institution in their home 
state. Guides to the locations of these papers are available 
from the House and Senate historical offices.

178. What is the correct form for letters to elected Federal officials?

                        Correct Form for Letters
The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

            Very respectfully,
                             Vice President
The Vice President
Old Executive Office Bldg.
17h St. & Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20501

Dear Mr. Vice President:

The Honorable ____
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator ____
The Honorable ____
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. (Mrs. or Ms.) ____





    Act--Legislation which has passed both Houses of Congress, 
approved by the President, or passed over his veto, thus 
becoming law. Also used technically for a bill that has been 
passed by one House and engrossed.

    Adjournment--Action taken by either House of Congress to 
end a legislative day, which can last longer than 24 hours. 
(See also sine die).

    Advice and Consent--A process of Senate approval of 
executive and judicial appointments, and for treaties 
negotiated by the executive branch and signed by the President. 
Advice and consent of treaties requires approval by a two-
thirds majority of Senators present and voting, while 
appointments require approval by a simple majority.

    Amendment--A proposal by a Member (in committee or floor 
session of the respective Chamber) to alter the language or 
provisions of a bill or act. It is voted on in the same manner 
as a bill.

    Appropriation--A formal approval to draw funds from the 
Treasury for specific purposes. This may occur through an 
annual appropriations act, an urgent or supplemental 
appropriations act, a continuing resolution, or on a permanent 

    Authorization--A law creating or sustaining a program, 
delegating power to implement it, and outlining its funding. 
Following authorization, an appropriation actually draws funds 
from the Treasury.

    Bill--Formally introduced legislation. Most legislative 
proposals are in the form of bills and are designated as H.R. 
(House of Representatives) or S. (Senate), depending on the 
House in which they originate, and are numbered consecutively 
in the order in which they are introduced during each Congress. 
Public bills deal with general questions and become Public 
Laws, or Acts, if approved by Congress and signed by the 
President. Private bills deal with individual matters such as 
claims against the Federal Government, immigration and 
naturalization cases, land titles, et cetera, and become 
private laws if approved and signed.

    Bipartisanship--Cooperation between Members of both 
political parties in either or both Houses, or between the 
President and Members of Congress representing the other party 
in addressing a particular issue or proposal. Bipartisan action 
usually results when party leaders agree that an issue is of 
sufficient national importance as to preclude normal 
considerations of partisan advantage.

    Budget--The President's annual proposal to Congress, 
submitted in January, outlining executive branch plans for 
Federal expenditures and revenue for the coming year. The 
budget is subject to substantial revision and amendment as part 
of its consideration by Congress.

    Budget Authority--Allows Federal agencies to incur a 
financial liability. The basic types of budget authority are 
appropriations, contract authority, and borrowing authority.

    Budget Resolution--House and Senate guidelines, and later 
caps, on budget authority and outlays. The budget resolution is 
not submitted to the President for approval, as it is 
considered a matter of internal congressional rules. Bills that 
would exceed budget caps are subject to a point of order, 
although waivers have been granted regularly in both Houses of 

    Calendar--A list of bills, resolutions, or other matters to 
be considered before committees or on the floor of either House 
of Congress.

  House legislation is placed on one of five calendars:

          Corrections Calendar--Members of the House may place 
        on the Corrections Calendar any bill appearing on the 
        Union or House Calendar. Customarily, these bills are 
        noncontroversial and are normally called on the second 
        and fourth Tuesday of each month.

          Discharge Calendar--Calendar to which written motions 
        to discharge bills from committees are referred when 
        the necessary 218 (one-half of the full House 
        membership) signatures have been obtained. Matters on 
        the Discharge Calendar are considered on the second and 
        fourth Monday of each month.

          House Calendar--A list of public bills and joint 
        resolutions, other than revenue measures and measures 
        appropriating money directly or indirectly, awaiting 
        action by the House.

          Private Calendar--Private bills in the House dealing 
        with individual matters (such as claims against the 
        Government, immigration, and land titles) are put on 
        this calendar. The Private Calendar is called on the 
        first and third Tuesday of each month.

          Union Calendar--Bills and joint resolutions that 
        directly or indirectly appropriate money or raise 
        revenue are placed on this House Calendar 
        chronologically according to the date reported from 

  Unlike the House, the Senate has only two calendars for 
        matters pending in the Senate Chamber:

          Senate Legislative Calendar--Listing of bills, both 
        public and private, which have been reported from 
        committee, have been discharged from committee, or 
        which have been placed directly without referral to 

          Senate Executive Calendar--Listing of Presidential 
        nominations to Federal Government positions and 
        treaties, both of which under the Constitution require 
        the approval of the Senate.

    Caucus--A meeting of Democratic Party members in the House, 
which elects party leaders and makes decisions on legislative 
business. (See also conference.)

    Cloture--A parliamentary device used in the Senate (Rule 
22) by which debate on a particular measure can be limited. The 
Senate otherwise has a tradition of unlimited debate. The 
action of 16 Senators is necessary to initiate a petition for 
cloture, and a vote of at least 60 Senators is required to 
invoke it.

    Committee--Subsidiary organizations of both Houses of 
Congress established for the purpose of considering 
legislation, conducting investigations, or carrying out other 
assignments, as instructed by the parent Chamber. Committee 
memberships are determined by party leadership in each House, 
with the seniority (time in service) of a Member being 
generally a prominent factor in committee assignments. 
Congressional committees generally fall into one of four 
categories: (1) Standing committees--Permanent organizations 
within each House specializing in consideration of bills 
falling in particular subject areas. Most of these panels 
establish subcommittees or other subunits to handle some of the 
workload and conduct hearings. Membership on committees 
generally reflects party strength in each House; the majority 
party usually provides a majority of members, and a senior 
member of the majority party is usually elected chair. (2) 
Joint committees--committees including membership from both 
Houses. Joint committees are usually established with a narrow 
jurisdiction and normally lack authority to report legislation 
to the floor of either House. (3) Select or special 
committees--committees usually established for a limited time 
period to perform a particular function and without authority 
to report legislation to the floor of its Chamber. These panels 
may be organized by either House, to conduct an investigation 
or to make a study and recommendations about a particular 
problem. (4) Conference committees--Ad hoc committees composed 
of Members of both Houses who are appointed for the specific 
purpose of reconciling similar bills which have passed the 
House and Senate in different form.

    Committee of the Whole (Committee of the Whole House on the 
State of the Union)--A practice widely used by the House of 
Representatives to expedite the consideration of legislation. 
Advantages include lower quorum requirements (100 Members, 
rather than 218)--and streamlined procedures, including 
limitations on debate. All decisions taken in the Committee of 
the Whole require approval by the full House.

    Conference--Republican Members' organization in the House 
and Senate and Democratic Members' organization in the Senate, 
which elects party leaders and makes decisions on legislative 
business. (See also caucus.)

    Confirmation--Action by the Senate approving Presidential 
nominees for the executive branch, regulatory commissions, and 
certain other positions.

    Contempt of Congress--Willful obstruction of the 
legislative process. Persons cited for contempt of Congress by 
either House or one of their committees are subject to 
prosecution in Federal courts.

    Continuing Resolution--A joint appropriations measure 
providing emergency funding for agencies whose regular 
appropriations bill has not been passed.

    Discharge Petition--Process in the House of Representatives 
by which a bill may be brought to the floor 30 days after 
referral to a committee (or 7 days in the case of the Rules 
Committee) by majority vote, despite the failure of the 
relevant committee to report it.

    Filibuster--Under the Rules of the Senate and as a matter 
of tradition, debate on any measure or matter is generally 
unlimited. A filibuster is typically characterized by 
individual Senators or groups of Senators speaking at extended 
length against a pending measure, often with the objective of 
frustrating action on the pending legislative proposals.

    Five-Minute Rule--Under House Rules, a measure considered 
in the Committee of the Whole is governed by the 5-minute rule. 
A Member offering an amendment is recognized to speak in favor 
of it for 5 minutes; another Member can claim 5 minutes of time 
to speak against the amendment. Pro forma amendments may be 
offered to extend debate time in additional 5-minute blocks.

    Germaneness--A House rule that amendments to a bill must 
relate to the subject matter under consideration.

    Gerrymandering--Drawing of district lines to maximize the 
electoral advantage of a political party or faction. The term 
was first used in 1812, when Efbridge Gerry was Governor of 
Massachusetts, to characterize the State redistricting plan.

    Hearing--A meeting or session of a committee of Congress--
usually open to the public--to obtain information and opinions 
on proposed legislation, to conduct an investigation, or 
oversee a program.

    Joint Meeting--A meeting of both Houses of Congress, in 
which each Chamber recesses to meet for an occasion or 
ceremony, usually in the House Chamber. The Members of each 
Chamber agree by unanimous consent agreements to meet, but 
without formally adjourning the legislative session for the 
day. Foreign dignitaries visiting the Capitol frequently 
address joint meetings of the Congress.

    Joint Session--A meeting of both Houses of Congress, 
customarily held in the House Chamber. Joint sessions are held 
for necessary administrative and official purposes: e.g., the 
purpose of counting electoral votes, attending inaugurations, 
and to hear presidential State of the Union messages. In recent 
years, concurrent resolutions have been passed to set the time 
and place for joint sessions. Before attending a joint session, 
each Chamber first adjourns its legislative session.

    Lame Duck Session--A session of Congress meeting after 
elections have been held, but before the newly elected Congress 
has convened.

    Legislative Day--A formal meeting of a House of Congress 
which begins with the call to order and opening of business and 
ends with adjournment. A legislative day may cover a period of 
several calendar days, with the Senate recessing at the end of 
each calendar day, rather than adjourning.

    Markup--The process in which congressional committees and 
subcommittees amend and rewrite proposed legislation in order 
to prepare it for consideration on the floor.

    Memorial--A petition to Congress from State legislatures, 
usually requesting some sort of legislation, or expressing the 
sense of the State legislature on a particular question.

    Nomination--Two distinct uses of this term are: (1) the 
process by which candidates for an elected office gain 
political party approval and status as the party nominee on the 
general election ballot; (2) appointments to office by the 
President that are subject to Senate confirmation.

    One-Hour Rule--The rule stipulating debate limits in the 
House of Representatives. Measures brought up for consideration 
in the House are debated for 1 hour, with the majority 
supporters of the bill customarily yielding half of the debate 
time to the opposing party.

    One-Minute Speech--By custom (and not by rule of the 
House), Members may be recognized at the beginning of a daily 
session, after the Chaplain's prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, 
and the approval of the Journal for the previous day's session. 
Sometime these speeches are made at the end of the day, after 
legislative business. Members address the House on subjects of 
their choice for not more than 1 minute each.

    Other Body--The practices of the House and Senate prohibit 
direct reference in floor debate to actions taken in the other 
Chamber. Members typically refer to actions taken in ``the 
other body,'' rather than to name the House or Senate 

    Petition--A request or plea sent to one or both Houses from 
an organization or private citizens' group asking support of 
particular legislation or favorable consideration of a matter. 
Petitions are referred to appropriate committees for action.

    Point of Order--An objection by a Member of either House 
that a pending matter or proceeding is in violation of the 

    Political Action Committee (PAC)--A group organized to 
promote its members' views on selected issues, usually through 
raising money that is contributed to the campaign funds of 
candidates who support the group's position.

    President Pro Tempore--(Latin for the time being). The 
officer who presides over the Senate when its President (the 
Vice President of the United States) is absent. Tradition vests 
this office in the senior Senator of the majority party.

    Previous Question--A motion in the House to cut off debate 
and force a vote on a pending measure.

    Public Law--A bill or joint resolution (other than for 
amendments to the Constitution) passed by both Houses of 
Congress and approved by the President. Bills and joint 
resolutions vetoed by the President, but overridden by the 
Congress also become public law.

    Quorum--The number of Members in each House necessary to 
conduct business (218 in the House, 100 in the Committee of the 
Whole, 51 in the Senate).

    Ratification--Two uses of this term are: (1) the act of 
approval of a proposed constitutional amendment by the 
legislatures of the States; (2) the Senate process of advice 
and consent to treaties negotiated by the President.

    Reapportionment--The process by which seats in the House of 
Representatives are reassigned among the States to reflect 
population changes following the decennial census.

    Recess--An interruption in the session of the House or 
Senate of a less formal nature than an adjournment. Typically, 
the Senate recesses at the end of most daily sessions in order 
to move more quickly into legislative business when it convenes 
again. In the House, the Speaker is authorized to declare 
short-term recesses during the daily session, but the House 
typically adjourns at the end of each day's meeting.

    Redistricting--The process within the States of redrawing 
legislative district boundaries to reflect population changes 
following the decennial census.

    Report--The printed record of a committee's actions, 
including its votes, recommendations, and views on a bill or 
question of public policy or its findings and conclusions based 
on oversight inquiry, investigation, or other study.

    Resolution--A proposal approved by either or both Houses 
which, except for joint resolutions signed by the President, 
does not have the force of law. Resolutions generally fall into 
one of three categories: (1) Simple resolutions, designated H. 
Res. or S. Res., deal with matters entirely within the 
prerogatives of the respective House. (2) Concurrent 
resolutions, designated H. Con. Res., or S. Con. Res., must be 
passed by both Houses, but are not presented for signature by 
the President. Concurrent resolutions generally are used to 
make or amend rules applicable to both Houses, or to express 
the sentiment of the two Houses. (3) Joint Resolutions, 
designated H.J. Res. or S.J. Res., require the approval of both 
Houses, and, with one exception, the signature of the 
President, and have the force of law if approved. There is no 
real difference between a bill and a joint resolution. The 
latter is generally used in dealing with limited matters, such 
as a single appropriation for a specific purpose, or for the 
declaration of war. Joint resolutions are also used to propose 
amendments to the Constitution, but these do not require the 
President's signature.

    Rider--An unrelated amendment attached to a pending bill in 
order to improve its chances for passage. Requirements of 
germaneness limit the use of riders in House bills.

    Session--The period during which Congress assembles and 
carries on its regular business. Each Congress generally has 
two regular sessions, based on the constitutional mandate that 
Congress assemble at least once each year. In addition, the 
President is empowered to call Congress into special session.

    Sine Die--The final adjournment (sine die being translated 
from Latin literally as ``without a day'') used to conclude a 
session of Congress.

    Special Rule--Also known as a ``rule from the Rules 
Committee.'' Special rules are presented in the form of a House 
resolution by the Rules Committee to make House consideration 
of a particular bill in order, to set time limits for debate, 
and to regulate which amendments, if any, may be offered during 
House or Committee of the Whole consideration of the measure. 
Special rules are agreed to by the House by majority vote.

    Statute Law--Bills and joint resolutions (except for those 
proposing constitutional amendments) enacted by Congress and 
approved by the President (or his veto overridden).

    Suspension of the Rules--A House procedure which expedites 
consideration of legislation by limiting debate on a bill and 
prohibiting floor amendments, but which also requires a two-
thirds majority for passage.

    Tabling Motion--A motion to stop action on a pending 
proposal and to lay it aside indefinitely. When the Senate or 
House agrees to a tabling motion, the measure which has been 
tabled is effectively defeated.

    Unanimous Consent--A practice in the House and Senate to 
set aside a rule of procedure, so as to expedite proceedings. 
It is usually connected with noncontroversial matters.

    Unanimous Consent Agreement--An agreement in the Senate, 
formulated by party leaders and other Senators, to regulate 
when important bills will be taken up on the floor and to limit 
debate on amendments. Sometimes referred to as a ``time-
limitation'' agreement.

    Veto--The constitutional procedure by which the President 
refuses to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevents 
its enactment into law. A regular veto occurs when the 
President returns the legislation to the originating House 
without approval. It can be overridden only by a two-thirds 
vote in each House. A pocket veto occurs after Congress has 
adjourned and is unable to override the President's action.


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Charles Scribner's Sons, 1987.

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the Information You Need. Englewood, CO, Libraries Unlimited, 

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United States, 1789-1989. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

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Alfred A. Knopf, 1961.

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    ------. The End of the Republic Era. Norman, OK, University 
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Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to 
Reagan. New York, Free Press, 1990.

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    World Wide Web Sites:
          www.congress.gov [Legislative Information System of 
          www.fedworld.gov [clearinghouse for information at 
        many federal sites]
          www.loc.gov [Library of Congress site, including 
        Thomas and legislation]
          www.nara.gov/fedreg [Office of Federal Register 
          www.uscoursts.gov [federal judiciary, including 
        Supreme Court]
          www.whitehouse.gov [White House and presidential 

                                    STATE POPULATION AND HOUSE APPORTIONMENT
                                       [Based on the Official 1990 Census]
                                                                         Percent      Seats (and
                State                      1980            1990        change from  apportionment  Apportionment
                                      population \1\  population \2\      1980        from 1990)     difference
Alabama.............................      3,890,061       4,062,608           4.25              7  .............
Alaska..............................        400,481         551,947          27.44              1  .............
Arizona.............................      2,717,866       3,677,985          26.10              6           (+1)
Arkansas............................      2,285,513       2,362,239           3.25              4  .............
California..........................     23,668,562      29,839,250          20.68             52           (+7)
Colorado............................      2,888,834       3,307,912          12.67              6  .............
Connecticut.........................      3,107,576       3,295,669           5.71              6  .............
Delaware............................        595,225         668,696          10.99              1  .............
Florida.............................      9,739,992      13,003,362          25.10             23           (+4)
Georgia.............................      5,464,265       6,508,419          16.04             11           (+1)
Hawaii..............................        965,000       1,115,274          13.47              2  .............
Idaho...............................        943,935       1,011,986           6.72              2  .............
Illinois............................      1,418,461      11,466,682           0.42             20           (-2)
Indiana.............................      5,490,179       5,564,228           1.33             10  .............
Iowa................................      2,913,387       2,787,424          -4.52              5           (-1)
Kansas..............................      2,363,208       2,485,600           4.92              4           (-1)
Kentucky............................      3,661,433       3,698,969           1.01              6           (-1)
Louisiana...........................      4,203,972       4,238,216           0.81              7           (-1)
Maine...............................      1,124,660       1,233,223           8.80              2  .............
Maryland............................      4,216,446       4,798,622          12.13              8  .............
Massachusetts.......................      5,737,037       6,029,051           4.84             10           (-1)
Michigan............................      9,258,344       9,328,784           0.76             16           (-2)
Minnesota...........................      4,077,148       4,387,029           7.06              8  .............
Mississippi.........................      2,520,638       2,586,443           2.54              5  .............
Missouri............................      4,917,444       5,137,804           4.29              9  .............
Montana.............................        786,690         803,655           2.11              1           (-1)
Nebraska............................      1,570,006       1,584,617           0.92              3  .............
Nevada..............................        799,184       1,206,152          33.74              2  .............
New Hampshire.......................        920,610       1,113,915          17.35              2  .............
New Jersey..........................      7,364,158       7,748,634           4.96             13           (-1)
New Mexico..........................      1,299,968       1,521,779          14.58              3  .............
New York............................     17,557,288      18,044,505           2.70             31           (-3)
North Carolina......................      5,874,429       6,657,630          11.76             12           (+1)
North Dakota........................        652,695         641,364          -1.77              1  .............
Ohio................................     10,797,419      10,887,325           0.83             19           (-2)
Oklahoma............................      3,025,266       3,157,604           4.19              6  .............
Oregon..............................      2,632,663       2,853,733           7.75              5  .............
Pennsylvania........................     11,866,728      11,924,710           0.49             21           (-2)
Rhode Island........................        947,154       1,005,984           5.85              2  .............
South Carolina......................      3,119,208       3,505,707          11.02              6  .............
South Dakota........................        690,178         699,999           1.40              1  .............
Tennessee...........................      4,590,750       4,896.641           6.25              9  .............
Texas...............................     14,228,383      17,059,805          16.60             30           (+3)
Utah................................      1,461,037       1,727,784          15.44              3  .............
Vermont.............................        511,456         564,964           9.47              1  .............
Virginia............................      5,346,279       6,216,568          14.00             11           (+1)
Washington..........................      4,130,163       4,887,941          15.50              9           (+1)
West Virginia.......................      1,949,644       1,801,625          -8.22              3           (-1)
Wisconsin...........................      4,705,335       4,906,745           4.10              9  .............
Wyoming.............................        470,816         455,975          -3.25              1  .............
        Fifty State Total:..........    225,867,174     249,022,783           9.30            435          (19)
\1\ The 1980 apportionment population is from U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. 1980 Population and
  Number of Representatives by State. Memorandum by Vincent P. Barabba, December 31, 1981.
\2\ The 1990 apportionment population is from U.S. House of Representatives. Apportionment Population and State
  Representation, 102d Cong., 1st Sess. Doc 102-18. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1991. The percent differences and
  the apportionment totals were calculated by the Congressional Research Service. The 1990 apportionment
  population includes foreign-based Federal employees; the 1980 population does not.

                                                   [All Figures Reflect Immediate Result of Elections]
                                                                             Senate                                  House of Representatives
                 Congress                      Years     Number                                           Number
                                                           of    Democrats  Republicans  Other  Vacancy     of    Democrats  Republicans  Other  Vacancy
                                                        Members                                          Members
34th......................................   1855-1857      62        42          15         5       0       234        83        108        43       0
35th......................................   1857-1859      64        39          20         5       0       237       131         92        14       0
36th......................................   1859-1861      66        38          26         2       0       237       101        113        23       0
37th......................................   1861-1863      50        11          31         7       1       178        42        106        28       2
38th......................................   1863-1865      51        12          39         0       0       183        80        103         0       0
39th......................................   1865-1867      52        10          42         0       0       191        46        145         0       0
40th......................................   1867-1869      53        11          42         0       0       193        49        143         0       1
41st......................................   1869-1871      74        11          61         0       2       243        73        170         0       0
42d.......................................   1871-1873      74        17          57         0       0       243       104        139         0       0
43d.......................................   1873-1875      74        19          54         0       1       293        88        203         0       2
44th......................................   1875-1877      76        29          46         0       1       293       181        107         3       2
45th......................................   1877-1879      76        36          39         1       0       293       156        137         0       0
46th......................................   1879-1881      76        43          33         0       0       293       150        128        14       1
47th......................................   1881-1883      76        37          37         2       0       293       130        152        11       0
48th......................................   1883-1885      76        36          40         0       0       325       200        119         6       0
49th......................................   1885-1887      76        34          41         0       1       325       182        140         2       1
50th......................................   1887-1889      76        37          39         0       0       325       170        151         4       0
51st......................................   1889-1891      84        37          47         0       0       330       156        173         1       0
52d.......................................   1891-1893      88        39          47         2       0       333       231         88        14       0
53d.......................................   1893-1895      88        44          38         3       3       356       220        126        10       0
54th......................................   1895-1897      88        39          44         5       0       357       104        246         7       0
55th......................................   1897-1899      90        34          46        10       0       357       134        206        16       1
56th......................................   1899-1901      90        26          53        11       0       357       163        185         9       0
57th......................................   1901-1903      90        29          56         3       2       357       153        198         5       1
58th......................................   1903-1905      90        32          58         0       0       386       178        207         0       1
59th......................................   1905-1907      90        32          58         0       0       386       136        250         0       0
60th......................................   1907-1909      92        29          61         0       2       386       164        222         0       0
61st......................................   1909-1911      92        32          59         0       1       391       172        219         0       0
62d.......................................   1911-1913      92        42          49         0       1       391       228        162         1       0
63d.......................................   1913-1915      96        51          44         1       0       435       290        127        18       0
64th......................................   1915-1917      96        56          39         1       0       435       231        193         8       3
65th......................................   1917-1919      96        53          42         1       0       435   \1\ 210        216         9       0
66th......................................   1919-1921      96        47          48         1       0       435       191        237         7       0
67th......................................   1921-1923      96        37          59         0       0       435       132        300         1       2
68th......................................   1923-1925      96        43          51         2       0       435       207        225         3       0
69th......................................   1925-1927      96        40          54         1       1       435       183        247         5       0
70th......................................   1927-1929      96        47          48         1       0       435       195        237         3       0
71st......................................   1929-1931      96        39          56         1       0       435       163        267         1       4
72d.......................................   1931-1933      96        47          48         1       0       435   \2\ 216        218         1       0
73d.......................................   1933-1935      96        59          36         1       0       435       313        117         5       0
74th......................................   1935-1937      96        69          25         2       0       435       322        103        10       0
75th......................................   1937-1939      96        75          17         4       0       435       333         89        13       0
76th......................................   1939-1941      96        69          23         4       0       435       262        169         4       0
77th......................................   1941-1943      96        66          28         2       0       435       267        162         6       0
78th......................................   1943-1945      96        57          38         1       0       435       222        209         4       0
79th......................................   1945-1947      96        57          38         1       0       435       243        190         2       0
80th......................................   1947-1949      96        45          51         0       0       435       188        246         1       0
81st......................................   1949-1951      96        54          42         0       0       435       263        171         1       0
82d.......................................   1951-1953      96        48          47         1       0       435       234        199         2       0
83d.......................................   1953-1955      96        46          48         2       0       435       213        221         1       0
84th......................................   1955-1957      96        48          47         1       0       435       232        203         0       0
85th......................................   1957-1959      96        49          47         0       0       435       234        201         0       0
86th......................................   1959-1961      98        64          34         0       0   \3\ 436       283        153         0       0
87th......................................   1961-1963     100        65          35         0       0   \4\ 437       263        174         0       0
88th......................................   1963-1965     100        68          32         0       0       435       258        176         0       1
89th......................................   1965-1967     100        68          32         0       0       435       295        140         0       0
90th......................................   1967-1969     100        64          36         0       0       435       248        187         0       0
91st......................................   1969-1971     100        57          43         0       0       435       243        192         0       0
92d.......................................   1971-1973     100        54          44         2       0       435       255        180         0       0
93d.......................................   1973-1975     100        56          42         2       0       435       242        192         1       0
94th......................................   1975-1977     100        61          37         2       0       435       291        144         1       0
95th......................................   1977-1979     100        61          38         1       0       435       292        143         0       0
96th......................................   1979-1981     100        58          41         1       0       435       277        158         0       0
97th......................................   1981-1983     100        46          53         1       0       435       242        192         1       0
98th......................................   1983-1985     100        46          54         0       0       435       269        169         0       0
99th......................................   1985-1987     100        47          53         0       0       435       253        182         0       0
100th.....................................   1987-1989     100        55          45         0       0       435       258        177         0       0
101st.....................................   1989-1991     100        55          45         0       0       435       260        175         0       0
102d......................................   1991-1993     100        56          44         0       0       435       267        167         1       0
103d......................................   1993-1995     100        57          43         0       0       435       258        176         1       0
104th.....................................   1995-1997     100        46          54         0       0       435       203        231         1       0
105th.....................................   1997-1999     100        45          55         0       0       435       207        227         1       0
106th.....................................   1999-2001     100        45          55         0       0       435       211        223         1      0
\1\ Democrats organized House with help of other parties.
\2\ Democrats organized House due to Republican deaths.
\3\ Proclamation declaring Alaska a State issued January 3, 1959.
\4\ Proclamation declaring Hawaii a State issued August 21, 1959.

                       In Congress, July 4, 1776.

                             The Unanimous


                                 of the


    WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary 
for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have 
connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of 
the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of 
Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to 
the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the 
causes which impel them to the Separation.

    We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are 
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with 
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, 
and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, 
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just 
Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form 
of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the 
Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute 
new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and 
organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most 
likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, 
will dictate that Governments long established should not be 
changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all 
Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to 
suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by 
abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a 
long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the 
same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute 
Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off 
such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future 
Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these 
Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them 
to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the 
present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries 
and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment 
of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let 
Facts be submitted to a candid World.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and 
necessary for the public Good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate 
and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation 
till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he 
has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of 
large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish 
the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right 
inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.
    He has called together Legislative Bodies at Places 
unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of 
their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them 
into Compliance with his Measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for 
opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the 

    He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to 
cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, 
incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large 
for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time 
exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and 
Convulsions within.

    He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these 
States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for 
Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to 
encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions 
of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by 
refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the 
Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their 

    He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither 
Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their 

    He kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, 
without the consent of our Legislatures.

    He has affected to render the Military independent of and 
superior to the Civil Power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction 
foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; 
giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for 
any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of 
these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial 
by Jury:

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended 

    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a 
neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary 
Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as torender it at 
once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute 
Rule into these Colonies:

    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable 
Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring 
themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases 

    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of 
his Protection and waging War against us.

    He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our 
Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

    He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign 
Mercenaries to compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and 
Tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and 
Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and 
totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.

    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the 
high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the 
Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall 
themselves by their Hands.

    He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has 
endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the 
merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an 
undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for 
Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have 
been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose 
Character is thus marked by every act which may define a 
Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.

    Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British 
Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by 
their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over 
us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our 
Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their 
native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by 
the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, 
which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and 
Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice 
and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the 
Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we 
hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF 
AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the 
Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, 
do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these 
Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United 
Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent 
States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the 
British Crown, and that all political Connection between them 
and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally 
dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have 
full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, 
establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which 
Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this 
Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine 
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our 
Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

                                           JOHN HANCOCK, President.

  According to the Authenticated List Printed by Order of Congress of 
                            January 18, 1777

                             John Hancock.

Georgia,                    Button Gwinnett,                    New-York,                   WM. Floyd,
                            Lyman Hall,                                                     Phil. Livingston,
                            Geo. Walton.                                                    FranS. Lewis,
                                                                                            Lewis Morris.

North-Carolina,             WM. Hooper,                         New-Jersey,                 RichD. Stockton,
                            Joseph Hewes,                                                   Jno. Witherspoon,
                            John Penn.
                                                                                            FraS. Hopkinson,
                                                                                            John Hart,
                                                                                            Abra. Clark.

South-Carolina,             Edward Rutledge,                    New-Hampshire,              Josiah Bartlett,
                            ThoS. Heyward, JunR.,                                           WM. Whipple,
                            Thomas Lynch, JunR.,                                            Matthew
                            Arthur Middleton.                                                 Thornton.

Maryland,                   Samuel Chase,                       Massachusetts-Bay,          SamL. Adams,
                            WM. Paca,                                                       John Adams,
                            ThoS. Stone,                                                    RobT. Treat Pane,
                            Charles Carroll,                                                Elbridge Gerry.
                              Of Carrollton.

Virginia,                   George Wythe,                       Rhode-Island and            Step. Hopkins,
                            Richard Henry Lee,                  Providence &C.,             William Ellery.
                            THS. Jefferson,
                            BenjA. Harrison,
                            ThoS. Nelson, jr.,
                            Francis Lightfoot Lee,
                            Carter Braxton.                                                 ....................

Pennsylvania,               RobT. Morris,                       Connecticut,                Roger Sherman,
                            Benjamin Rush,                                                  SamL.
                            Benja. Franklin,                                                  Huntington,
                            John Morton,                                                    WM. Williams,
                            Geo. Clymer,                                                    Oliver Wolcott.
                            JaS. Smith,
                            Geo. Taylor,
                            James Wilson,
                            Geo. Ross.

Delaware,                   Caesar Rodney,
                            Geo. Read.

                     In CONGRESS, January 18, 1777.
That an authenticated Copy of the DECLARATION of INDEPENDENCY, with 
Names of the MEMBERS of CONGRESS, subscribing the same, be sent to each 
of the UNITED STATES, and that they be desired to have the same put on 
            By Order of CONGRESS,
                                   John Hancock, President.
Attest. Chas Thomson, Secy

[Explanatory Note: On January 18, 1777, Congress, then sitting in 
Baltimore, Maryland, ordered that authenticated copies of the 
Declaration be sent to the States. This version was printed by Mary 
Katherine Goddard of Baltimore and is known as the Goddard Broadside. 
Earlier, on July 19, 1776, Congress had ``Resolved, That the 
Declaration passed on the 4th, be fairly engrossed on parchment, with 
the title and stile of `The unanimous declaration of the thirteen 
United States of America,' and the same, when engrossed, be signed by 
every member of Congress.'' The name of Thomas McKean, then a member 
from Delaware, however, does not appear on the Goddard Broadside, as he 
did not sign the engrossed copy until after January 18, 1777.]
                   Constitution of the United States


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more 
        perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic 
        Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote 
        the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of 
        Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and 
        establish this Constitution for the United States of 

                              Article. I.

    Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be 
vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist 
of a Senate and House of Representatives.\1\
    \1\ This text of the Constitution follows the engrossed copy signed 
by Gen. Washington and the deputies from 12 States. The small superior 
figures preceding the paragraphs designate clauses, and were not in the 
original and have reference to footnotes.
    The Constitution was adopted by a convention of the States on 
September 17, 1787, and was subsequently ratified by the several 
States, on the following dates: Delaware, December 7, 1787; 
Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; 
Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, 
February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 
1788; New Hampshire, June 21,1788.
    Ratification was completed on June 21, 1788.
    The Constitution was subsequently ratified by Virginia, June 25, 
1788; New York, July 26, 1788; North Carolina, November 21, 1789; Rhode 
Island, May 29, 1790; and Vermont, January 10, 1791.
    In May 1785, a committee of Congress made a report recommending an 
alteration in the Articles of Confederation, but no action was taken on 
it, and it was left to the State legislatures to proceed in the matter. 
In January 1786, the Legislature of Virginia passed a resolution 
providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who, or any three 
of them, should meet such commissioners as might be appointed in the 
other States of the Union, at a time and place to be agreed upon, to 
take into consideration the trade of the United States; to consider how 
far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary 
to their common interest and their permanent harmony; and to report to 
the several States such an act, relative to this object, as, when 
ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress effectually 
to provide for the same. The Virginia commissioners, after some 
correspondence, fixed the first Monday in September as the time, and 
the city of Annapolis as the place for the meeting, but only four other 
States were representative, viz: Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and 
Pennsylvania; the Commissioners appointed by Massachusetts, New 
Hampshire, North Carolina, and Rhode Island failed to attend. Under 
circumstances of so partial a representation, the commissioners present 
a agreed upon a report, (drawn by Mr. Hamilton, of New York), 
expressing their unanimous conviction that it might essentially tend to 
advance the interests of the Union if the States by which they were 
respectively delegated would concur, and use their endeavors to procure 
the concurrence of the other States, in the appointment of 
commissioners to meet at Philadelphia on the Second Monday of May 
following, to take into consideration the situation of the United 
States; to devise such further provisions as should appear to them 
necessary to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate 
the exigencies of the Union; and to report such an act for that purpose 
to the United State in Congress assembled as, when agreed to by them 
and afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every State, would 
effectually provide for the same.
    Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787, adopted a resolution in 
favor of a convention, and the Legislatures of those States which had 
not already done so (with the exception of Rhode Island) promptly 
appointed delegates. On the 25th of May, seven States having convened, 
George Washington, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and 
the consideration of the proposed constitution was commenced. On the 
17th of September, 1787, the Constitution as engrossed and agreed upon 
was signed by all the members present, except Mr. Gerry of 
Massachusetts, and Messrs. Mason and Randolph, of Virginia. The 
president of the convention transmitted it to Congress, with a 
resolution stating how the proposed Federal Government should be put in 
operation, and an explanatory letter. Congress, on 28th of September, 
1787, directed the Constitution so framed, with the resolutions and 
letter concerning the same, to ``be transmitted to the several 
Legislatures in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates 
chosen in each State by the people thereof, in conformity to the 
resolves of the convention.''
    On the 4th of March, 1789, the day which had been fixed for 
commencing the operations of Government under the new Constitution, it 
had been ratified by the conventions chosen in each State to consider 
it, as follows: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12, 
1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; 
Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; 
Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, 
June 21, 1788; Virginia, June 25, 1788; and New York, July 26, 1788.
    The President informed Congress, on the 28th of January, 1790, that 
North Carolina had ratified the Constitution November 21, 1789; and he 
informed Congress on the 1st of June, 1790, that Rhode Island had 
ratified the Constitution May 29, 1790. Vermont, in convention, 
ratified the Constitution January 10, 1791, and was, by an act of 
Congress approved February 18, 1791, ``received and admitted into this 
Union as a new and entire member of the United States.''
    Section. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed 
of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the 
several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the 
Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous 
Branch of the State Legislature.
    No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have 
attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years 
a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when 
elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be 
    Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among 
the several States which may be included within this Union, 
according to their respective Numbers, which shall be 
determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, 
including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and 
excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other 
Persons.\2\ The actual Enumeration shall be made within three 
Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United 
States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such 
Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of 
Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, 
but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and 
until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New 
Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts 
eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut 
five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, 
Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, 
South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
    \2\ The part of this clause relating to the mode of apportionment 
of representatives among the several States has been affected by 
section 2 of amendment XIV, and as to taxes on incomes without 
apportionment by amendment XVI.
    When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, 
the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election 
to fill such Vacancies.
    The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and 
other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
    Section. 3. The Senate of the United States shall be 
composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the 
Legislature thereof,\3\ for six Years; and each Senator shall 
have one Vote.
    \3\ This clause has been affected by clause 1 of amendment XVII.
    Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of 
the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be 
into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first 
Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of 
the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of 
the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that 
one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies 
happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the 
Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make 
temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the 
Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.\4\
    \4\ This clause has been affected by clause 2 of amendment XVIII.
    No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to 
the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the 
United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an 
Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
    The Vice President of the United States shall be President 
of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally 
    The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a 
President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or 
when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United 
    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all 
Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on 
Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is 
tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be 
convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members 
    Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further 
than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and 
enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United 
States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable 
and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, 
according to Law.
    Section. 4. The Times, Places and Manner of holding 
Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed 
in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may 
at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to 
the Places of chusing Senators.
    The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, 
and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December,\5\ 
unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
    \5\ This clause has been affected by amendment XX.
    Section. 5. Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, 
Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority 
of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller 
Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to 
compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and 
under such Penalties as each House may provide.
    Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, 
punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the 
Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
    Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and 
from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may 
in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the 
Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of 
one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
    Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, 
without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three 
days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses 
shall be sitting.
    Section. 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive 
a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, 
and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.\6\ They 
shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the 
Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the 
Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and 
returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either 
House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
    \6\ This clause has been affected by amendment XXVII.
    No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for 
which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under 
the Authority of the United States, which shall have been 
created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased 
during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the 
United States, shall be a Member of either House during his 
Continuance in Office.
    Section. 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate 
in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or 
concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
    Every Bill which shall have passed the House of 
Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, 
be presented to the President of 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 two 
thirds 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 
    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.
    Section. 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and 
collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts 
and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the 
United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be 
uniform throughout the United States;
    To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the 
several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform 
Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United 
    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign 
Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the 
Securities and current Coin of the United States;
    To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by 
securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the 
exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the 
high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and 
make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money 
to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
    To provide and maintain a Navy;
    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land 
and naval Forces;
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the 
Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the 
Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed 
in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States 
respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the 
Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline 
prescribed by Congress;
    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, 
over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by 
Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, 
become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to 
exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the 
Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall 
be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, 
and other needful Buildings;-- And
    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for 
carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other 
Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the 
United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
    Section. 9. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as 
any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, 
shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one 
thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be 
imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each 
    The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be 
suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the 
public Safety may require it.
    No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
    No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless 
in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before 
directed to be taken.\7\
    \7\ This clause has been affected by amendment XVI.
    No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any 
    No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce 
or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor 
shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to 
enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
    No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in 
Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular 
Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all 
public Money shall be published from time to time.
    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: 
And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, 
shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any 
present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, 
from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
    Section. 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty. 
Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and 
Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but 
gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any 
Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the 
Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
    No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay 
any Impost or Duties on Import or Exports, except what may be 
absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and 
the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on 
Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the 
United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the 
Revision and Controul of the Congress.
    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any 
Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, 
enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with 
a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or 
in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

                              Article. II.

    Section. 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a 
President of the United States of America. He shall hold his 
Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the 
Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as 
    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature 
thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole 
Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may 
be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, 
or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United 
States, shall be appointed an Elector.
    The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and 
vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not 
be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they 
shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the 
Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and 
certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of 
the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The 
President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate 
and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and 
the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest 
Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a 
Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if 
there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an 
equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall 
immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if 
no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the 
List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. 
But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by 
States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A 
quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members 
from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States 
shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice 
of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of 
Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there 
should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate 
shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.\8\
    \8\ This clause has been superseded by amendment XII.
    The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the 
Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; 
which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of 
the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this 
Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; 
neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall 
not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been 
fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
    In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of 
his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers 
and Duties of the said Office,\9\ the Same shall devolve on the 
Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the 
Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the 
President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then 
act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until 
the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
    \9\ This clause has been affected by amendment XXV.
    The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his 
Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor 
diminished during the Period for which he shall have been 
elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other 
Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
    Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall 
take the following Oath or Affirmation:--``I do solemnly swear 
(or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of 
President of the United States, and will to the best of my 
Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the 
United States.''
    Section. 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of 
the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of 
the several States, when called into the actual Service of the 
United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the 
principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon 
any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, 
and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for 
Offences against the United States, except in Cases of 
    He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of 
the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the 
Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with 
the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint 
Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the 
supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, 
whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and 
which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law 
vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think 
proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the 
Heads of Departments.
    The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies 
that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting 
Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next 
    Section. 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress 
Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their 
Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and 
expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both 
Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between 
them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn 
them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive 
Ambassadors and other Public Ministers; he shall take Care that 
the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the 
Officers of the United States.
    Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil 
Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on 
Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other 
high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

                             Article. III.

    Section. 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall 
be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as 
the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The 
Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold 
their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated 
Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall 
not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
    Section. 2. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, 
in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of 
the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, 
under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, 
other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty 
and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the 
United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two 
or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State; 
\10\--between Citizens of different States;--between Citizens 
of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different 
States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and 
foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
    \10\ This clause has been affected by amendment XI.
    In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers 
and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the 
supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the 
other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have 
appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such 
Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall 
    The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, 
shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State 
where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not 
committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or 
Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
    Section. 3. Treason against the United States, shall 
consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to 
their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be 
convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses 
to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of 
Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of 
Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person 

                              Article. IV.

    Section. 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each 
State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of 
every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws 
prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and 
Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
    Section. 2. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to 
all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several 
    A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or 
other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in 
another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of 
the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to 
the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
    No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the 
Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of 
any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service 
or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to 
whom such Service or Labour may be due.\11\
    \11\ This clause has been affected by amendment XII.
    Section. 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into 
this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within 
the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by 
the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without 
the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well 
as of the Congress.
    The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all 
needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other 
Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this 
Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims 
of the United States, or of any particular State.
    Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every 
State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall 
protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of 
the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature 
cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

                              Article. V.

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem 
it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, 
or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the 
several States, shall call a Convention for proposing 
Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all 
Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when 
ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several 
States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as a of 
Ratification may be proposed by the one or the other Mode 
Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to 
the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any 
Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section 
of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, 
shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

                              Article. VI.

    All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before 
the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against 
the United States under this Constitution, as under the 
    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which 
shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or 
which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, 
shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every 
State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or 
Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the 
Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive 
and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the 
several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to 
support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be 
required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under 
the United States.

                             Article. VII.

    The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall 
be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution 
between the States so ratifying the Same.

 done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the 
Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven 
 hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States 
                        of America the Twelfth.

          In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our 
             GO. WASHINGTON--Presidt.
                                           and deputy from Virginia

            [Signed also by the deputies of twelve States.]

New Hampshire                       Delaware

  John Langdon                        Geo: Read
  Nicholas Gilman                     Gunning Bedford jun
                                      John Dickinson
                                      Richard Bassett
                                      Jaco: Broom

Massachusetts                       Maryland

  Nathaniel Gorham                    James MCHenry
  Rufus King                          Dan of 
                                    ST ThoS Jenife
                                      DanL Carroll

Connecticut                         Virginia
WM SamL Johnso
n                                     John Blair
  Roger Sherman                       James Madison Jr.

New York

  Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey                          North Carolina

  Wil: Livingston                     WM Blount
  David Brearley.                     RichD Dobbs Spaight.
  WM Paterson.             Hu Williamson
  Jona: Dayton

Pennsylvania                        South Carolina

  B Franklin                          J. Rutledge
  Thomas Mifflin                      Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
  RobT Morris              Charles Pinckney
  Geo. Clymer                         Pierce Butler.
  ThoS Fitzsimons          
  Jared Ingersoll                   Georgia
  James Wilson                        
  Gouv Morris                         William Few
                                      Abr Baldwin

Attest: William Jackson, Secretary


                          Amendment [I.] \13\

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of 
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or 
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right 
of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the 
Government for a redress of grievances.
    \12\ The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United 
States (and two others, one of which failed of ratification and the 
other which later became the 27th amendment) were proposed to the 
legislatures of the several States by the First Congress on September 
25, 1789. The first ten amendments were ratified by the following 
States, and the notifications of ratification by the Governors thereof 
were successively communicated by the President to Congress: New 
Jersey, November 20, 1789; Maryland, December 19, 1789; North Carolina, 
December 22, 1789; South Carolina, January 19, 1790; New Hampshire, 
January 25, 1790; Delaware, January 28, 1790; New York, February 24, 
1790; Pennsylvania, March 10, 1790; Rhode Island, June 7, 1790; 
Vermont, November 3, 1791; and Virginia, December 15, 1791.
    Ratification was completed December 15, 1791.
    The amendments were subsequently ratified by legislatures of 
Massachusetts, March 2, 1939: Georgia, March 18, 1939; and Connecticut, 
April 19, 1939.
    \13\ Only the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th amendments had numbers 
assigned to them at the time of ratification.

                            Amendment [II.]

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security 
of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, 
shall not be infringed.

                            Amendment [III.]

    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any 
house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, 
but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

                            Amendment [IV.]

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, 
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and 
seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, 
but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and 
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the 
persons or things to be seized.

                             Amendment [V.]

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or 
otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment 
of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval 
forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of 
War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the 
same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor 
shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against 
himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without 
due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for 
public use, without just compensation.

                            Amendment [VI.]

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the 
right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the 
State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, 
which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, 
and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; 
to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have 
compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to 
have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

                            Amendment [VII.]

    In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy 
shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall 
be preserved, and no fact tried by jury, shall be otherwise re-
examined in any Court of the United States, than according to 
the rules of the common law.

                           Amendment [VIII.]

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines 
imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

                            Amendment [IX.]

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, 
shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by 
the people.

                             Amendment [X.]

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the 
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved 
to the States respectively, or to the people.

                            Amendment [XI.]

    The Judicial power of the United States shall not be 
construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or 
prosecuted against one of the United States of another State, 
or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The eleventh amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States 
by the Third Congress, on the 4th of March 1794; and was 
declared in a message from the President to Congress, dated the 
8th of January, 1798, to have been ratified by the legislatures 
of three-fourths of the States. The dates of ratification were: 
New York, March 27, 1794: Rhode Island, March 31, 1794; 
Connecticut, May 8, 1794; New Hampshire, June 16, 1794; 
Massachusetts, June 26, 1794; Vermont, between October 9, 1794 
and November 9, 1794; Virginia, November 18, 1794; Georgia, 
November 29, 1794; Kentucky, December 7, 1794; Maryland, 
December 26, 1794; Delaware, January 23, 1795; North Carolina, 
February 7, 1795.
    Ratification was completed on February 7, 1795.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by South Carolina 
on December 4, 1797. New Jersey and Pennsylvania did not take 
action on the amendment.

                            Amendment [XII.]

    The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and 
vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, 
at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with 
themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted 
for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for 
as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all 
persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as 
Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which 
lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the 
seat of the government of the United States, directed to the 
President of the Senate;--The President of the Senate shall, in 
the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open 
all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;--The 
person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall 
be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole 
number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such 
majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not 
exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, 
the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by 
ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes 
shall be taken by states, the representation from each state 
having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a 
member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority 
of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the 
House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever 
the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth 
day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act 
as President, as in the case of the death or other 
constitutional disability of the President.\14\--The person 
having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be 
the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole 
number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, 
then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall 
choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall 
consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a 
majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. 
But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of 
President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the 
United States.
    \14\ This sentence has been superseded by section 3 of amendment 

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The twelfth amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States 
by the Eighth Congress, on the 9th of December, 1803, in lieu 
of the original third paragraph of the first section of the 
second article; and was declared in a proclamation of the 
Secretary of State, dated the 25th of September, 1804, to have 
been ratified by the legislatures of 13 of the 17 States. The 
dates of ratification were: North Carolina, December 21, 1803; 
Maryland, December 24, 1803; Kentucky, December 27, 1803; Ohio, 
December 30, 1803; Pennsylvania, January 5, 1804; Vermont, 
January 30, 1804; Virginia, February 3, 1804; New York, 
February 10, 1804; New Jersey, February 22, 1804; Rhode Island, 
March 12, 1804; South Carolina, May 15, 1804; Georgia, May 19, 
1804; New Hampshire, June 15, 1804.
    Ratification was completed on June 15, 1804.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Tennessee, July 
27, 1804.
    The amendment was rejected by Delaware, January 18, 1804; 
Massachusetts, February 3, 1804; Connecticut, at its session 
begun May 10, 1804.

                            Amendment XIII.

    Section. 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, 
except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have 
been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or 
any place subject to their jurisdiction.
    Section. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this 
article by appropriate legislation.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States 
by the Thirty-eighth Congress, on the 31st day of January, 
1865, and was declared, in a proclamation of the Secretary of 
State, dated the 18th of December, 1865, to have been ratified 
by the legislatures of twenty-seven of the thirty-six States. 
The dates of ratification were: Illinois, February 1, 1865; 
Rhode Island, February 2, 1865; Michigan, February 2, 1865; 
Maryland, February 3, 1865; New York, February 3, 1865; 
Pennsylvania, February 3, 1865; West Virginia, February 3, 
1865; Missouri, February 6, 1865; Maine, February 7, 1865; 
Kansas, February 7, 1865; Massachusetts, February 7, 1865; 
Virginia, February 9, 1865; Ohio, February 10, 1865; Indiana, 
February 13, 1865; Nevada, February 16, 1865; Louisiana, 
February 17, 1865; Minnesota, February 23, 1865; Wisconsin, 
February 24, 1865; Vermont, March 9, 1865; Tennessee, April 7, 
1865; Arkansas, April 14, 1865; Connecticut, May 4, 1865; New 
Hampshire, July 1, 1865; South Carolina, November 13, 1865; 
Alabama, December 2, 1865; North Carolina, December 4, 1865; 
Georgia, December 6, 1865.
    Ratification was completed on December 6, 1865.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Oregon, December 
8, 1865; California, December 19, 1865; Florida, December 28, 
1865 (Florida again ratified on June 9, 1868, upon its adoption 
of a new constitution); Iowa, January 15, 1866; New Jersey, 
January 23, 1866 (after having rejected the amendment on March 
16, 1865); Texas, February 18, 1870; Delaware, February 12, 
1901 (after having rejected the amendment on February 8, 1865); 
Kentucky, March 18, 1976 (after having rejected it on February 
24, 1865).
    The amendment was rejected (and not subsequently ratified) 
by Mississippi, December 4, 1865.

                             Amendment XIV.

    Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United 
States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens 
of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No 
State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the 
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor 
shall any State depriveany person within its jurisdiction the 
equal protection of the laws.
    Section. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the 
several States according to their respective numbers, counting 
the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians 
not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the 
choice of electors for President and Vice President of the 
United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and 
Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature 
thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such 
State, being twenty-one years of age,\15\ and citizens of the 
United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation 
in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation 
therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of 
such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male 
citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
    \15\ See amendment XIX and section 1 of amendment XXVI.
    Section. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative 
in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or 
hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or 
under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a 
member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or 
as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or 
judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of 
the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or 
rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the 
enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of 
each House, remove such disability.
    Section. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United 
States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment 
of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing 
insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither 
the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or 
obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against 
the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of 
any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be 
held illegal and void.
    Section. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by 
appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States 
by the Thirty-ninth Congress, on the 13th of June, 1866. It was 
declared, in a certificate of the Secretary of State dated July 
28, 1868 to have been ratified by the legislatures of 28 of the 
37 States. The dates of ratification were: Connecticut, June 
25, 1866; New Hampshire, July 6, 1866; Tennessee, July 19, 
1866; New Jersey, September 11, 1866 (subsequently the 
legislature rescinded its ratification, and on March 24, 1868, 
readopted its resolution of rescission over the Governor's 
veto, and on November 12, 1980, expressed support for the 
amendment); Oregon, September 19, 1866 (and rescinded its 
ratification on October 15, 1868); Vermont, October 30, 1866; 
Ohio, January 4, 1867 (and rescinded its ratification on 
January 15, 1868); New York, January 10, 1867; Kansas, January 
11, 1867; Illinois, January 15, 1867; West Virginia, January 
16, 1867; Michigan, January 16, 1867; Minnesota, January 16, 
1867; Maine, January 19, 1867; Nevada, January 22, 1867; 
Indiana, January 23, 1867; Missouri, January 25, 1867; Rhode 
Island, February 7, 1867; Wisconsin, February 7, 1867; 
Pennsylvania, February 12, 1867; Massachusetts, March 20, 1867; 
Nebraska, June 15, 1867; Iowa, March 16, 1868; Arkansas, April 
6, 1868; Florida, June 9, 1868; North Carolina, July 4, 1868 
(after having rejected it on December 14, 1866); Louisiana, 
July 9, 1868 (after having rejected it on February 6, 1867); 
South Carolina, July 9, 1868 (after having rejected it on 
December 20, 1866).
    Ratification was completed on July 9, 1868.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Alabama, July 
13, 1868; Georgia, July 21, 1868 (after having rejected it on 
November 9, 1866); Virginia, October 8, 1869 (after having 
rejected it on January 9, 1867); Mississippi, January 17, 1870; 
Texas, February 18, 1870 (after having rejected it on October 
27, 1866); Delaware, February 12, 1901 (after having rejected 
it on February 8, 1867); Maryland, April 4, 1959 (after having 
rejected it on March 23, 1867); California, May 6, 1959; 
Kentucky, March 18, 1976 (after having rejected it on January 
8, 1867).

                             Amendment XV.

    Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to 
vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by 
any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of 
    Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this 
article by appropriate legislation.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States 
by the Fortieth Congress, on the 26th of February 1869, and was 
declared, in a proclamation of the Secretary of State, dated 
March 30, 1870, to have been ratified by the legislatures of 
twenty-nine of the thirty-seven States. The dates of 
ratification were: Nevada, March 1, 1869; West Virginia, March 
3, 1869; Illinois, March 5, 1869; Louisiana, March 5, 1869; 
North Carolina, March 5, 1869; Michigan, March 8, 1869; 
Wisconsin, March 9, 1869; Maine, March 11, 1869; Massachusetts, 
March 12, 1869; Arkansas, March 15, 1869; South Carolina, March 
15, 1869; Pennsylvania, March 25, 1869; New York, April 14, 
1869 (and the legislature of the same State passed a resolution 
January 5, 1870, to withdraw its consent to it, which action it 
rescinded on March 30, 1970); Indiana, May 14, 1869; 
Connecticut, May 19, 1869; Florida, June 14, 1869; New 
Hampshire, July 1, 1869; Virginia, October 8, 1869; Vermont, 
October 20, 1869; Missouri, January 7, 1870; Minnesota, January 
13, 1870; Mississippi, January 17, 1870; Rhode Island, January 
18, 1870; Kansas, January 19, 1870; Ohio, January 27, 1870 
(after having rejected it on April 30, 1869); Georgia, February 
2, 1870; Iowa February 3, 1870.
    Ratification was completed on February 3, 1870, unless the 
withdrawal of ratification by New York was effective; in which 
event ratification was completed on February 17, 1870, when 
Nebraska ratified.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Texas, February 
18, 1870; New Jersey, February 15, 1871 (after having rejected 
it on February 7, 1870); Delaware, February 12, 1901 (after 
having rejected it on March 18, 1869); Oregon, February 24, 
1959; California, April 3, 1962 (after having rejected it on 
January 28, 1870); Kentucky, March 18, 1976 (after having 
rejected it on March 12, 1869).
    The amendment was approved by the Governor of Maryland, May 
7, 1973; Maryland having previously rejected it on February 26, 
    The amendment was rejected (and not subsequently ratified) 
by Tennessee, November 16, 1869.

                             Amendment XVI.

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on 
incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment 
among the several States, and without regard to any census or 
                       Proposal and Ratification
    The sixteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States 
was proposed to the legislatures of the several States by the Sixty-
first Congress on the 12th of July, 1909, and was declared, in a 
proclamation of the Secretary of State, dated the 25th of February, 
1913, to have been ratified by 36 of the 48 States. The dates of 
ratification were: Alabama, August 10, 1909; Kentucky, February 8, 
1910; South Carolina, February 19, 1910 Illinois, March 1, 1910; 
Mississippi, March 7, 1910; Oklahoma, March 10, 1910; Maryland, April 
8, 1910; Georgia, August 3, 1910; Texas, August 16, 1910; Ohio, January 
19, 1911; Idaho, January 20, 1911; Oregon,January 23, 1911; Washington, 
January 26, 1911; Montana, January 30, 1911; Indiana, January 30, 1911; 
California, January 31, 1911; Nevada, January 31, 1911; South Dakota, 
February 3, 1911; Nebraska, February 9, 1911; North Carolina, February 
11, 1911; Colorado, February 15, 1911; North Dakota, February 17, 1911; 
Kansas, February 18, 1911; Michigan, February 23, 1911; Iowa, February 
24, 1911; Missouri, March 16, 1911; Maine, March 31, 1911; Tennessee, 
April 7, 1911; Arkansas, April 22, 1911 (after having rejected it 
earlier); Wisconsin, May 26, 1911; New York, July 12, 1911; Arizona, 
April 6, 1912; Minnesota, June 11, 1912; Louisiana, June 28, 1912; West 
Virginia, January 31, 1913; New Mexico, February 3, 1913.
    Ratification was completed on February 3, 1913.
    The amendment as subsequently ratified by Massachusetts, March 4, 
1913; New Hampshire, March 7, 1913 (after having rejected it on March 
2, 1911).
    The amendment was rejected (and not subsequently ratified) by 
Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Utah.

                           Amendment [XVII.]

    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two 
Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for 
six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors 
in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for 
electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
    When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in 
the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue 
writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the 
legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to 
make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies 
by election as the legislature may direct.
    This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the 
election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid 
as part of the of the Constitution.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The seventeenth amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States 
by the Sixty-second Congress on the 13th of May, 1912, and was 
declared, in a proclamation of the Secretary of State, dated 
the 31st of May, 1913, to have been ratified by the 
legislatures of 36 of the 48 States. The dates of ratification 
were: Massachusetts, May 22, 1912; Arizona, June 3, 1912; 
Minnesota, June 10, 1912; New York, January 15, 1913; Kansas, 
January 17, 1913; Oregon, January 23, 1913; North Carolina, 
January 25, 1913; California, January 28, 1913; Michigan, 
January 28, 1913; Iowa, January 30, 1913; Montana, January 30, 
1913; Idaho, January 31, 1913; West Virginia, February 4, 1913; 
Colorado, February 5, 1913; Nevada, February 6, 1913; Texas, 
February 7, 1913; Washington, February 7, 1913; Wyoming, 
February 8, 1913; Arkansas, February 11, 1913; Maine, February 
11, 1913; Illinois, February 13, 1913; North Dakota, February 
14, 1913; Wisconsin, February 18, 1913; Indiana, February 19, 
1913; New Hampshire, February 19, 1913; Vermont, February 19, 
1913; South Dakota, February 19, 1913; Oklahoma, February 24, 
1913; Ohio, February 25, 1913; Missouri, March 7, 1913; New 
Mexico, March 13, 1913; Nebraska, March 14, 1913; New Jersey, 
March 17, 1913; Tennessee, April 1, 1913; Pennsylvania, April 
2, 1913; Connecticut, April 8, 1913.
    Ratification was completed on April 8, 1913.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Louisiana, June 
11, 1914.
    The amendment was rejected by Utah (and not subsequently 
ratified) on February 26, 1913.

                        Amendment [XVIII.] \16\

    \16\ Repealed by section 1 of amendment XXI.
    Section. 1. After one year from the ratification of this 
article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of 
intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or 
the exportation thereof from the United States and all 
territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage 
purposes is hereby prohibited.
    Section. 2. The Congress, and the several States shall have 
concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate 
    Section. 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it 
shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by 
the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the 
Constitution, within seven years from the date of the 
submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The eighteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States 
by the Sixty-fifth Congress, on the 18th of December, 1917, and 
was declared, in a proclamation of the Secretary of State, 
dated the 29th of January, 1919, to have been ratified by the 
legislatures of 36 of the 48 States. The dates of ratification 
were: Mississippi, January 8, 1918; Virginia, January 11, 1918; 
Kentucky, January 14, 1918; North Dakota, January 25, 1918; 
South Carolina, January 29, 1918; Maryland, February 13, 1918; 
Montana, February 19, 1918; Texas, March 4, 1918; Delaware, 
March 18, 1918; South Dakota, March 20, 1918; Massachusetts, 
April 2, 1918; Arizona, May 24, 1918; Georgia, June 26, 1918; 
Louisiana, August 3, 1918; Florida, December 3, 1918; Michigan, 
January 2, 1919; Ohio, January 7, 1919; Oklahoma, January 7, 
1919; Idaho, January 8, 1919; Maine, January 8, 1919; West 
Virginia, January 9, 1919; California, January 13, 1919; 
Tennessee, January 13, 1919; Washington, January 13, 1919; 
Arkansas, January 14, 1919; Kansas, January 14, 1919; Alabama, 
January 15, 1919; Colorado, January 15, 1919; Iowa, January 15, 
1919; New Hampshire, January 15, 1919; Oregon, January 15, 
1919; Nebraska, January 16, 1919; North Carolina, January 16, 
1919; Utah, January 16, 1919; Missouri, January 16, 1919; 
Wyoming, January 16, 1919.
    Ratification was completed on January 16, 1919. See Dillon 
v. Gloss, 256 U.S. 368, 376 (1921).
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Minnesota on 
January 17, 1919; Wisconsin, January 17, 1919; New Mexico, 
January 20, 1919; Nevada, January 21, 1919; New York, January 
29, 1919; Vermont, January 29, 1919; Pennsylvania, February 25, 
1919; Connecticut, May 6, 1919; and New Jersey, March 9, 1922.
    The amendment was rejected (and not subsequently ratified) 
by Rhode Island.

                            Amendment [XIX.]

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall 
not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State 
on account of sex.
    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by 
appropriate legislation.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The nineteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States 
by the Sixty-sixth Congress, on the 4th of June, 1919, and was 
declared, in a proclamation of the Secretary of State, dated 
the 26th of August, 1920, to have been ratified by the 
legislatures of 36 of the 48 States. The dates of ratification 
were: Illinois, June 10, 1919 (and that State readopted its 
resolution of ratification June 17, 1919); Michigan, June 10, 
1919; Wisconsin, June 10, 1919; Kansas, June 16, 1919; New 
York, June 16, 1919; Ohio, June 16, 1919; Pennsylvania, June 
24, 1919; Massachusetts, June 25, 1919; Texas, June 28, 1919; 
Iowa, July 2, 1919; Missouri, July 3, 1919; Arkansas, July 28, 
1919; Montana, August 2, 1919; Nebraska, August 2, 1919; 
Minnesota, September 8, 1919; New Hampshire, September 10, 
1919; Utah, October 2, 1919; California, November 1, 1919; 
Maine, November 5, 1919; North Dakota, December 1, 1919; South 
Dakota, December 4, 1919; Colorado, December 15, 1919; 
Kentucky, January 6, 1920; Rhode Island, January 6, 1920; 
Oregon, January 13, 1920; Indiana, January 16, 1920; Wyoming, 
January 27, 1920; Nevada, February 7, 1920; New Jersey, 
February 9, 1920; Idaho, February 11, 1920; Arizona, February 
12, 1920; New Mexico, February 21, 1920; Oklahoma, February 28, 
1920; West Virginia, March 10, 1920; Washington, March 22, 
1920; Tennessee, August 18, 1920.
    Ratification was completed on August 18, 1920.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Connecticut on September 
14, 1920 (and that State reaffirmed on September 21, 1920); Vermont, 
February 8, 1921; Delaware, March 6, 1923 (after having rejected it on 
June 2, 1920); Maryland, March 29, 1941 (after having rejected it on 
February 24, 1920, ratification certified on February 25, 1958); 
Virginia, February 21, 1952 (after having rejected it on February 12, 
1920); Alabama, September 8, 1953 (after having rejected it on 
September 22, 1919); Florida, May 13, 1969; South Carolina, July 1, 
1969 (after having rejected it on January 28, 1920, ratification 
certified on August 22, 1973); Georgia, February 20, 1970 (after having 
rejected it on July 24, 1919); Louisiana, June 11, 1970 (after 
havingrejected it on July 1, 1920); North Carolina, May 6, 1971; 
Mississippi, March 22, 1984 (after having rejected it on March 29, 

                            Amendment [XX.]

    Section. 1. The terms of the President and Vice President 
shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of 
Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, 
of the years in which such terms would have ended if this 
article had not been ratified; and the terms of their 
successors shall then begin.
    Section. 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in 
every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day 
of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
    Section. 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the 
term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the 
Vice President elect shall become President. If a President 
shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the 
beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have 
failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as 
President until a President shall have qualified; and the 
Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a 
President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have 
qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the 
manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such 
person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice 
President shall have qualified.
    Section. 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of 
the death of any of the persons from whom the House of 
Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of 
choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the 
death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a 
Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved 
upon them.
    Section. 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th 
day of October following the ratification of this article.
    Section. 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it 
shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by 
the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within 
seven years from the date of its submission.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The twentieth amendment to the Constitution was proposed to 
the legislatures of the several States by the Seventy-Second 
Congress, on the 2d day of March, 1932, and was declared, in a 
proclamation by the Secretary of State, dated on the 6th day of 
February, 1933, to have been ratified by the legislatures of 36 
of the 48 States. The dates of ratification were: Virginia, 
March 4, 1932; New York, March 11, 1932; Mississippi, March 16, 
1932; Arkansas, March 17, 1932; Kentucky, March 17, 1932; New 
Jersey, March 21, 1932; South Carolina, March 25, 1932; 
Michigan, March 31, 1932; Maine, April 1, 1932; Rhode Island, 
April 14, 1932; Illinois, April 21, 1932; Louisiana, June 22, 
1932; West Virginia, July 30, 1932; Pennsylvania, August 11, 
1932; Indiana, August 15, 1932; Texas, September 7, 1932; 
Alabama, September 13, 1932; California, January 4, 1933; North 
Carolina, January 5, 1933; North Dakota, January 9, 1933; 
Minnesota, January 12, 1933; Arizona, January 13, 1933; 
Montana, January 13, 1933; Nebraska, January 13, 1933; 
Oklahoma, January 13, 1933; Kansas, January 16, 1933; Oregon, 
January 16, 1933; Delaware, January 19, 1933; Washington, 
January 19, 1933; Wyoming, January 19, 1933; Iowa, January 20, 
1933; South Dakota, January 20, 1933; Tennessee, January 20, 
1933; Idaho, January 21, 1933; New Mexico, January 21, 1933; 
Georgia, January 23, 1933; Missouri, January 23, 1933; Ohio, 
January 23, 1933; Utah, January 23, 1933.
    Ratification was completed on January 23, 1933.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Massachusetts on 
January 24, 1933; Wisconsin, January 24, 1933; Colorado, 
January 24, 1933; Nevada, January 26, 1933; Connecticut, 
January 27, 1933; New Hampshire, January 31, 1933; Vermont, 
February 2, 1933; Maryland, March 24, 1933; Florida, April 26, 

                            Amendment [XXI.]

    Section. 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
    Section. 2. The transportation or importation into any 
State, Territory, or possession of the United States for 
delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation 
of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
    Section. 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it 
shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by 
conventions in the several States, as provided in the 
Constitution, within seven years from the date of the 
submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    The twenty-first amendment to the Constitution was proposed 
to the several States by the Seventy-Second Congress, on the 
20th day of February, 1933, and was declared, in a proclamation 
by the Secretary of State, dated on the 5th day of December, 
1933, to have been ratified by 36 of the 48 States. The dates 
of ratification were: Michigan, April 10, 1933; Wisconsin, 
April 25, 1933; Rhode Island, May 8, 1933; Wyoming, May 25, 
1933; New Jersey, June 1, 1933; Delaware, June 24, 1933; 
Indiana, June 26, 1933; Massachusetts, June 26, 1933; New York, 
June 27, 1933; Illinois, July 10, 1933; Iowa, July 10, 1933; 
Connecticut, July 11, 1933; New Hampshire, July 11, 1933; 
California, July 24, 1933; West Virginia, July 25, 1933; 
Arkansas, August 1, 1933; Oregon, August 7, 1933; Alabama, 
August 8, 1933; Tennessee, August 11, 1933; Missouri, August 
29, 1933; Arizona, September 5, 1933; Nevada, September 5, 
1933; Vermont, September 23, 1933; Colorado, September 26, 
1933; Washington, October 3, 1933; Minnesota, October 10, 1933; 
Idaho, October 17, 1933; Maryland, October 18, 1933; Virginia, 
October 25, 1933; New Mexico, November 2, 1933; Florida, 
November 14, 1933; Texas, November 24, 1933; Kentucky, November 
27, 1933; Ohio, December 5, 1933; Pennsylvania, December 5, 
1933; Utah, December 5, 1933.
    Ratification was completed on December 5, 1933.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Maine, on 
December 6, 1933, and by Montana, on August 6, 1934.
    The amendment was rejected (and not subsequently ratified) 
by South Carolina, on December 4, 1933.

                           Amendment [XXII.]

    Section. 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the 
President more than twice, and no person who has held the 
office of President, or acted as President, for more than two 
years of a term to which some other person was elected 
President shall be elected to the office of the President more 
than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person 
holding the office of President when this Article was proposed 
by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be 
holding the office of President, or acting as President, during 
the term within which this Article becomes operative from 
holding the office of President or acting as President during 
the remainder of such term.
    Section. 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it 
shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by 
the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within 
seven years from the date of its submission to the States by 
the Congress.
                       Proposal and Ratification
    This amendment was proposed to the legislatures of the several 
States by the Eightieth Congress on March 21, 1947 by House Joint Res. 
No. 27, and was declared by the Administrator of General Services, on 
March 1, 1951, to have been ratified by the legislatures of 36 of the 
48 States. The dates of ratification were: Maine, March 31, 1947; 
Michigan, March 31, 1947; Iowa, April 1, 1947; Kansas, April 1, 1947; 
New Hampshire, April 1, 1947; Delaware, April 2, 1947; Illinois, April 
3, 1947; Oregon, April 3, 1947; Colorado, April 12, 1947; California, 
April 15, 1947; New Jersey, April 15, 1947; Vermont, April 15, 1947; 
Ohio,April 16, 1947; Wisconsin, April 16, 1947; Pennsylvania, April 29, 
1947; Connecticut, May 21, 1947; Missouri, May 22, 1947; Nebraska, May 
23, 1947; Virginia, January 28, 1948; Mississippi, February 12, 1948; 
New York, March 9, 1948; South Dakota, January 21, 1949; North Dakota, 
February 25, 1949; Louisiana, May 17, 1950; Montana, January 25, 1951; 
Indiana, January 29, 1951; Idaho, January 30, 1951; New Mexico, 
February 12, 1951; Wyoming, February 12, 1951; Arkansas, February 15, 
1951; Georgia, February 17, 1951; Tennessee, February 20, 1951; Texas, 
February 22, 1951; Nevada, February 26, 1951, Utah, February 26, 1951; 
Minnesota, February 27, 1951.
    Ratification was completed on February 27, 1951.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by North Carolina on 
February 28, 1951; South Carolina, March 13, 1951; Maryland, March 14, 
1951; Florida, April 16, 1951; Alabama, May 4, 1951.
    The amendment was rejected (and not subsequently ratified) by 
Oklahoma in June 1947, and Massachusetts on June 9, 1949.
                       Certification of Validity
    Publication of the certifying statement of the Administrator of 
General Services that the amendment had become valid was made on March 
1, 1951, F.R. Doc. 51-2940, 16 F.R. 2019.

                           Amendment [XXIII.]

    Section. 1. The District constituting the seat of 
Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as 
the Congress may direct:
    A number of electors of President and Vice President equal 
to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress 
to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but 
in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be 
in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be 
considered, for the purposes of the election of President and 
Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State and they 
shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided 
by the twelfth article of amendment.
    Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this 
article by appropriate legislation.

                        Proposal and Ratification

    This amendment was proposed by the Eighty-sixth Congress on 
June 17, 1960 and was declared by the Administrator of General 
Services on April 3, 1961, to have been ratified by 38 of the 
50 States. The dates of ratification were: Hawaii, June 23, 
1960 (and that State made a technical correction to its 
resolution on June 30, 1960); Massachusetts, August 22, 1960; 
New Jersey, December 19, 1960; New York, January 17, 1961; 
California, January 19, 1961; Oregon, January 27, 1961; 
Maryland, January 30, 1961; Idaho, January 31, 1961; Maine, 
January 31, 1961; Minnesota, January 31, 1961; New Mexico, 
February 1, 1961; Nevada, February 2, 1961; Montana, February 
6, 1961; South Dakota, February 6, 1961; Colorado, February 8, 
1961; Washington, February 9, 1961; West Virginia, February 9, 
1961; Alaska, February 10, 1961; Wyoming, February 13, 1961; 
Delaware, February 20, 1961; Utah, February 21, 1961; 
Wisconsin, February 21, 1961; Pennsylvania, February 28, 1961; 
Indiana, March 3, 1961; North Dakota, March 3, 1961; Tennessee, 
March 6, 1961; Michigan, March 8, 1961; Connecticut, March 9, 
1961; Arizona, March 10, 1961; Illinois, March 14, 1961; 
Nebraska, March 15, 1961; Vermont, March 15, 1961; Iowa, March 
16, 1961; Missouri, March 20, 1961; Oklahoma, March 21, 1961; 
Rhode Island, March 22, 1961; Kansas, March 29, 1961; Ohio, 
March 29, 1961.
    Ratification was completed on March 29, 1961.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by New Hampshire on 
March 30, 1961 (when that State annulled and then repeated its 
ratification of March 29, 1961).
    The amendment was rejected (and not subsequently ratified) 
by Arkansas on January 24, 1961.

                       Certification of Validity

    Publication of the certifying statement of the 
Administrator of General Services that the amendment had become 
valid was made on April 3, 1961, F.R. Doc. 61-3017, 26 F.R. 

                           Amendment [XXIV.]

    Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to 
vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice 
President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for 
Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or 
abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure 
to pay any poll tax or other tax.
    Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this 
article by appropriate legislation.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    This amendment was proposed by the Eighty-seventh Congress 
by Senate Joint Resolution No. 29, which was approved by the 
Senate on March 27, 1962, and by the House of Representatives 
on August 27, 1962. It was declared by the Administrator of 
General Services on February 4, 1964, to have been ratified by 
the legislatures of 38 of the 50 States.
    This amendment was ratified by the following States:
    Illinois, November 14, 1962; New Jersey, December 3, 1962; 
Oregon, January 25, 1963; Montana, January 28, 1963; West 
Virginia, February 1, 1963; New York, February 4, 1963; 
Maryland, February 6, 1963; California, February 7, 1963; 
Alaska, February 11, 1963; Rhode Island, February 14, 1963; 
Indiana, February 19, 1963; Utah, February 20, 1963; Michigan, 
February 20, 1963; Colorado, February 21, 1963; Ohio, February 
27, 1963; Minnesota, February 27, 1963; New Mexico, March 5, 
1963; Hawaii, March 6, 1963; North Dakota, March 7, 1963; 
Idaho, March 8, 1963; Washington, March 14, 1963; Vermont, 
March 15, 1963; Nevada, March 19, 1963; Connecticut, March 20, 
1963; Tennessee, March 21, 1963; Pennsylvania, March 25, 1963; 
Wisconsin, March 26, 1963; Kansas, March 28, 1963; 
Massachusetts, March 28, 1963; Nebraska, April 4, 1963; 
Florida, April 18, 1963; Iowa, April 24, 1963; Delaware, May 1, 
1963; Missouri, May 13, 1963; New Hampshire, June 12, 1963; 
Kentucky, June 27, 1963; Maine, January 16, 1964; South Dakota, 
January 23, 1964; Virginia, February 25, 1977.
    Ratification was completed on January 23, 1964.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by North Carolina 
on May 3, 1989.
    The amendment was rejected by Mississippi (and not 
subsequently ratified) on December 20, 1962.

                       Certification of Validity

    Publication of the certifying statement of the 
Administrator of General Services that the amendment had become 
valid was made on February 5, 1964, F.R. Doc. 64-1229, 29 F.R. 

                            Amendment [XXV.]

    Section. 1. In case of the removal of the President from 
office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall 
become President.
    Section. 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of 
the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice 
President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority 
vote of both Houses of Congress.
    Section. 3. Whenever the President transmits to the 
President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the 
House of Representatives his written declaration that he is 
unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and 
until he transmits to them a written declaration to the 
contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the 
Vice President as Acting President.
    Section. 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of 
either the principal officers of the executive departments or 
of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to 
the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the 
House of Representatives their written declaration that the 
President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his 
office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers 
and duties of the office as Acting President.
    Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President 
pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives his written declaration that no inability 
exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office 
unless the Vice President and a majority of either the 
principal officers of the executive department \17\ or of such 
other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four 
days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker 
of the House of Representatives their written declaration that 
the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of 
his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, 
assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in 
session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt 
of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in 
session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to 
assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the 
President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his 
office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same 
as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the 
powers and duties of his office.
    \17\ So in original. Probably be ``departments''.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    This amendment was proposed by the Eighty-ninth Congress by 
Senate Joint Resolution No. 1, which was approved by the Senate 
on February 19, 1965, and by the House of Representatives, in 
amended form, on April 13, 1965. The House of Representatives 
agreed to a Conference Report on June 30, 1965, and the Senate 
agreed to the Conference Report on July 6, 1965. It was 
declared by the Administrator of General Services, on February 
23, 1967, to have been ratified by the legislatures of 39 of 
the 50 States.
    This amendment was ratified by the following States:
    Nebraska, July 12, 1965; Wisconsin, July 13, 1965; 
Oklahoma, July 16, 1965; Massachusetts, August 9, 1965; 
Pennsylvania, August 18, 1965; Kentucky, September 15, 1965; 
Arizona, September 22, 1965; Michigan, October 5, 1965; 
Indiana, October 20, 1965, California, October 21, 1965; 
Arkansas, November 4, 1965; New Jersey, November 29, 1965; 
Delaware, December 7, 1965; Utah, January 17, 1966; West 
Virginia, January 20, 1966; Maine, January 24, 1966; Rhode 
Island, January 28, 1966; Colorado, February 3, 1966; New 
Mexico, February 3, 1966; Kansas, February 8, 1966; Vermont, 
February 10, 1966; Alaska, February 18, 1966; Idaho, March 2, 
1966; Hawaii, March 3, 1966; Virginia, March 8, 1966; 
Mississippi, March 10, 1966; New York, March 14, 1966; 
Maryland, March 23, 1966; Missouri, March 30, 1966; New 
Hampshire, June 13, 1966; Louisiana, July 5, 1966, Tennessee, 
January 12, 1967; Wyoming, January 25, 1967; Washington, 
January 26, 1967; Iowa, January 26, 1967; Oregon, February 2, 
1967; Minnesota, February 10, 1967; Nevada, February 10, 1967.
    Ratification was completed on February 10, 1967.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Connecticut, 
February 14, 1967; Montana, February 15, 1967; South Dakota, 
March 6, 1967; Ohio, March 7, 1967; Alabama, March 14, 1967; 
North Carolina, March 22, 1967; Illinois, March 22, 1967; 
Texas, April 25, 1967; Florida, May 25, 1967.

                       Certification of Validity

    Publication of the certifying statement of the 
Administrator of General Services that the amendment had become 
valid was made on February 25, 1967, F.R. Doc. 67-2208, 32 F.R. 

                           Amendment [XXVI.]

    Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who 
are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied 
or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of 
    Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this 
article by appropriate legislation.

                       Proposal and Ratification

    This amendment was proposed by the Ninety-second Congress 
by Senate Joint Resolution No. 7, which was approved by the 
Senate on March 10, 1971, and by the House of Representatives 
on March 23, 1971. It was declared by the Administrator of 
General Services on July 5, 1971, to have been ratified by the 
legislatures of 39 of the 50 States.
    This amendment was ratified by the following States: 
Connecticut, March 23, 1971; Delaware, March 23, 1971; 
Minnesota, March 23, 1971; Tennessee, March 23, 1971; 
Washington, March 23, 1971; Hawaii, March 24, 1971; 
Massachusetts, March 24, 1971; Montana, March 29, 1971; 
Arkansas, March 30, 1971; Idaho, March 30, 1971, Iowa, March 
30, 1971; Nebraska, April 2, 1971; New Jersey, April 3, 1971; 
Kansas, April 7, 1971; Michigan, April 7, 1971; Alaska, April 
8, 1971; Maryland, April 8, 1971; Indiana, April 8, 1971, 
Maine, April 9, 1971; Vermont, April 16, 1971; Louisiana, April 
17, 1971; California, April 19, 1971; Colorado, April 27, 1971; 
Pennsylvania, April 27, 1971, Texas, April 27, 1971; South 
Carolina, April 28, 1971; West Virginia, April 28, 1971, New 
Hampshire, May 13, 1971; Arizona, May 14, 1971; Rhode Island, 
May 27, 1971; New York, June 2, 1971; Oregon, June 4, 1971; 
Missouri, June 14, 1971; Wisconsin, June 22, 1971; Illinois, 
June 29, 1971; Alabama, June 30, 1971; Ohio, June 30, 1971; 
North Carolina, July 1, 1971; Oklahoma, July 1, 1971.
    Ratification was completed on July 1, 1971.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Virginia, July 
8, 1971; Wyoming, July 8, 1971; Georgia, October 4, 1971.

                       Certification of Validity

    Publication of the certifying statement of the 
Administrator of General Services that the amendment had become 
valid was made on July 7, 1971, F.R. Doc. 71-9691, 36 F.R. 

                           Amendment [XXVII.]

    Article the Second . . . No law, varying the compensation 
for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall 
take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have 

                       Proposal and Ratification

    This amendment, being the second of twelve articles 
proposed by the First Congress on September 25, 1789, was 
declared by the Archivist of the United States on May 18, 1992, 
to have been ratified by the legislatures of 40 of the 50 
    This amendment was ratified by the following States: 
Maryland, December 19, 1789; North Carolina, December 22, 1789; 
South Carolina, January 19, 1790; Delaware, January 28, 1790; 
Vermont, November 3, 1791; Virginia, December 15, 1791; Ohio, 
May 6, 1873; Wyoming, March 6, 1978; Maine, April 27, 1983; 
Colorado, April 22, 1984; South Dakota, February 21, 1985; New 
Hampshire, March 7, 1985; Arizona, April 3, 1985; Tennessee, 
May 23, 1985; Oklahoma, July 10, 1985; New Mexico, February 14, 
1986; Indiana, February 24, 1986; Utah, February 25, 1986; 
Arkansas, March 6, 1987; Montana, March 17, 1987; Connecticut, 
May 13, 1987; Wisconsin, July 15, 1987; Georgia, February 2, 
1988; West Virginia, March 10, 1988; Louisiana, July 7, 1988; 
Iowa, February 9, 1989; Idaho, March 23, 1989; Nevada, April 
26, 1989; Alaska, May 6, 1989; Oregon, May 19, 1989; Minnesota, 
May 22, 1989; Texas, May 25, 1989; Kansas, April 5, 1990; 
Florida, May 31, 1990; North Dakota, March 25, 1991; Alabama, 
May 5, 1992; Missouri, May 5, 1992; Michigan, May 7, 1992; New 
Jersey, May 7, 1992.
    Ratification was completed on May 7, 1992.
    The amendment was subsequently ratified by Illinois on May 
12, 1992, and by California on June 26, 1992.

                       Certification of Validity

    Publication of the certifying statement of the Archivist of 
the United States that the amendment had become valid was made 
on May 18, 1992, F.R. Doc. 92-11951, 57 F.R. 21187.

    [Editorial note: There is some conflict as to the exact 
dates of ratification of the amendments by the several States. 
In some cases, the resolutions of ratification were signed by 
the officers of the legislatures on dates subsequent to that on 
which the second house had acted. In other cases, the Governors 
of several of the States ``approved'' the resolutions (on a 
subsequent date), although action by the Governor is not 
contemplated by article V, which required ratification by the 
legislatures (or conventions) only. In a number of cases, the 
journals of the State legislatures are not available. The dates 
set out in this document are based upon the best information 


    During the course of our history, in addition to the 27 
amendments that have been ratified by the required three-
fourths of the States, six other amendments have been submitted 
to the States but have not been ratified by them.
    Beginning with the proposed Eighteenth Amendment, Congress 
has customarily included a provision requiring ratification 
within seven years from the time of the submission to the 
States. The Supreme Court in Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 
(1939), declared that the question of the reasonableness of the 
time within which a sufficient number of States must act is a 
political question to be determined by the Congress.
    In 1789, twelve proposed articles of amendment were 
submitted to the States. Of these, Articles III-XII were 
ratified and became the first ten amendments to the 
Constitution, popularly known as the Bill of Rights. In 1992, 
proposed Article II was ratified and became the 27th amendment 
to the Constitution. Proposed Article I which was not ratified 
is as follows:

                          ``Article the first

    ``After the first enumeration required by the first article 
of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for 
every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one 
hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by 
Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred 
Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every 
forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives 
shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall 
be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than 
two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative 
for every fifty thousand persons.''

    Thereafter, in the 2d session of the Eleventh Congress, the 
Congress proposed the following article of amendment to the 
Constitution relating to acceptance by citizens of the United 
States of titles of nobility from any foreign government.
    The proposed amendment, which was not ratified by three-
fourths of the States, is as follows:

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, two thirds of 
both houses concurring, That the following section be submitted 
to the legislatures of the several states, which, when ratified 
by the legislatures of three fourths of the states, shall be 
valid and binding, as a part of the constitution of the United 
    If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, 
receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall, 
without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, 
pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any 
emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease 
to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of 
holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of 

    The following amendment to the Constitution relating to 
slavery was proposed by the 2d session of the Thirty-sixth 
Congress on March 2, 1861, when it passed the Senate, having 
previously passed the House on February 28, 1861. It is 
interesting to note in this connection that this is the only 
proposed (and not ratified) amendment to the Constitution to 
have been signed by the President. The President's signature is 
considered unnecessary because of the constitutional provision 
that on the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses of 
Congress the proposal shall be submitted to the States for 

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, That the 
following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the 
several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the 
United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said 
Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as 
part of the said Constitution, viz:

                           ``Article Thirteen

    ``No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will 
authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or 
interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions 
thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by 
the laws of said State.''

    A child labor amendment was proposed by the lst session of 
the Sixty-eighth Congress on June 2, 1926, when it passed the 
Senate, having previously passed the House on April 26, 1926. 
The proposed amendment, which has been ratified by 28 States, 
to date, is as follows:

  Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the 
                             United States

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of 
each House concurring therein), That the following article is 
proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States, which, when ratified by the legislatures of three-
fourths of the several States, shall be valid to all intents 
and purposes as a part of the Constitution:


    ``Section 1. The Congress shall have power to limit, 
regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen 
years of age.
    ``Section 2. The power of the several States is unimpaired 
by this article except that the operation of State laws shall 
be suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to 
legislation enacted by the Congress.''

    An amendment relative to equal rights for men and women was 
proposed by the 2d session of the Ninety-second Congress on 
March 22, 1972, when it passed the Senate, having previously 
passed the House on October 12, 1971. The seven-year deadline 
for ratification of the proposed amendment was extended to June 
30, 1982, by the 2d session of the Ninety-fifth Congress. The 
proposed amendment, which was not ratified by three-fourths of 
the States by June 30, 1982, is as follows:

  Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the 
        United States Relative to Equal Rights for Men and Women

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of 
each House concurring therein), That the following article is 
proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as 
part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of 
three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the 
date of its submission by the Congress:


    ``Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be 
denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on 
account of sex.
    ``Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, 
by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
    ``Section 3. amendment shall take effect two years after 
the date of ratification.''

    An amendment relative to voting rights for the District of 
Columbia was proposed by the 2d session of the Ninety-fifth 
Congress on August 22, 1978, when it passed the Senate, having 
previous passed the House on March 2, 1978. The proposed 
amendment, which was not ratified by three-fourths of the 
States within the specified seven-year period, is as follows:

   Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution on to 
Provide For Representation of the District of Columbia in the Congress.

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of 
each House concurring therein), That the following article is 
proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as 
part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of 
three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the 
date of its submission by the Congress:


    ``Section 1. For purposes of representation in the 
Congress, election of the President and Vice President, and 
article V of this Constitution, the District constituting the 
seat of government of the United States shall be treated as 
though it were a State.
    ``Section 2. The exercise of the rights and powers 
conferred under this article shall be by the people of the 
District constituting the seat of government, and as shall be 
provided by the Congress.
    ``Section 3. The twenty-third article of amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
    ``Section 4. This article shall be inoperative, unless it 
shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by 
the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within 
seven years from the date of its submission.''

                               I N D E X


 [The terms are cross-referenced to the question numbers in the text. 
  The terms with an asterisk (*) are also included in the Glossary of 
                  Legislative Terms in the Appendix.]

Acts of Congress*.........47-50, 66, 67, 70-74, 88-89, 99-103, 175, 176
Adjournment of Congress*.....................................71, 99-103
Amendments to the Constitution* (See Constitution. The complete 
  text of the U.S. Constitution, with its amendments, is printed 
  in the Appendix.)
Annals of Congress (See also Congressional Record)...............    75
Apportionment (See also State Population and House Apportionment, 
  in the Appendix)...............................................18, 19
Appropriation*...............................................48-50, 122
Armed Forces..........................................53, 56, 57, 96-98
Architect of the Capitol.........................................    42
Articles of Confederation........................................     5
Authorization*...................................................    49
Bill of Rights* (See also Constitution. The complete text of the 
  U.S. Constitution, with its amendments, is printed in the 
  Appendix).....................................................5, 7, 8
Bills in Congress*..................................70-75, 80, 175, 176
Budget*..............................................42, 43, 44, 51, 52
Cabinet...........................................53, 54, 110, 119, 120
Calendar*......................................................175, 176
Caucus*..........................................................36, 37
    House....................................................26, 27, 64
    Senate.......................................................32, 64
Checks and Balances.............................................13, 143
Civil Service System............................................124-126
Citizenship......................................................3, 151
Clerk of House...................................................26, 27
Cloture* (See Senate, Debate)
Code of Federal Regulations......................................   163
Committee of the Whole*..........................................61, 72
Confirmation*....................................................53, 54
Congress* (See also Congressional Committees, Congressional 
  Process, Congressional Rules, House, Senate)................... 14-91
    Constitutional Powers........................................ 53-57
    Joint Sessions*..............................................    76
    Office Space.................................................    41
    Term.........................................................    16
Congressional Budget Office and Process..............42, 43, 44, 51, 52
Congressional Caucuses and Conferences:
    Party Caucuses and Conferences...............................    36
    Other types..................................................    37
Congressional Committees......................................... 79-91
    Appropriations Committees.................................... 48-50
    Budget Committee.........................................43, 51, 52
    Chairmanship.................................................    91
    Conference Committee.........................................    80
    Hearings..................................................... 88-90
    Joint Committees.............................................    87
    Legislation............................................47-53, 70-74
    Ranking Minority Member......................................    91
    Rules Committee (House and Senate)...........................    59
    Select Committees............................................79, 86
    Seniority Rule...............................................    91
    Standing Committees.......................................79, 81-85
Congressional Districts..........................................18, 19
    Redistricting* (See State Population and House Apportionment, 
      in the Appendix)
Congressional Documents...........................75, 167, 169, 175-177
Congressional Globe..............................................    75
Congressional Interns and Volunteers.............................    45
C47-78 99-103, 106-107, 117-118, 121-123, 128, 131, 132, 138-141, 143, 
    Appropriations*..........................................48-50, 122
    Authorizations*.............................................49, 122
    Budget..................................................51, 52, 103
    Confirmation.................................................    54
    Hearings*.................................................... 88-90
    Oversight..............................................14, 123, 128
    Tax Bills....................................................    47
Congressional Record.......................................75, 175, 176
Congressional Research Service................................... 42-44
Congressional Rules*............................................. 58-78
    Acts of Congress................................70-75, 80, 175, 176
    Bills and other measures........................70-75, 80, 175, 176
    Calendars*.................................................175, 176
    Debate (and Cloture).........................................68, 69
    Parliamentarians.............................................    62
    Point of Order*
    Quorum*......................................................    60
    Rules Committee..............................................    59
    Special Rules*
    Suspension of Rules*
    Tabling Motion*
    Unanimous Consent*...........................................    66
    Voting in Congress...........................................    67
Congressional Service Organizations and Caucuses.................    37
Congressional Support Agencies................................... 42-44
Congressional Staff and Services................................. 42-46
Constitution* (See also the complete text of the U.S. 
  Constitution, with its amendments, in the Appendix)............  1-13
    Amending Process*.........................................9, 10, 12
    Amendments........................................5-8, 11, 109, 151
    Principles Behind..........................................1, 6, 13
    Supreme Law of the Land......................................5, 129
Contacting Elected Officials.....................................   178
Contempt of Congress*
Continuing Resolution*
Courts (See Judicial Branch)
Democracy........................................................     2
Depository Libraries.............................................   167
Discharge Petition*
Election Campaign and Financing.................................154-162
Election to Office (See also Electoral College).................146-153
    Administration of Elections..................................   152
    Election Day.................................................   153
    President....................................106, 107, 114, 146-149
    Representatives.................................15, 18, 19, 23, 150
    Senators................................................15, 23, 150
    Vice President....................................114, 115, 146-148
    Voter Qualifications.........................................   151
Electoral College......................................114-115, 147-149
``Equal Justice Under the Law''..................................   130
Executive Branch.................................................92-126
Executive Departments and Agencies (See also Cabinet)...........121-126
Executive Journal of House and Senate............................    75
Executive Office of the President................................    93
Federal Information Center.......................................   168
Federal Register...............................................163, 164
Federalism.......................................................     2
Federalist Papers................................................    13
Filibuster (See Senate, Debate)
Freedom of Information Act......................................171-174
General Accounting Office........................................ 42-44
Gerrymandering* (See Congressional Districts)
Government Printing Office......................................42, 176
House of Representatives...............................14-30, 33-38, 41
    Legislative Counsel..........................................    44
    Officers of House............................................ 26-30
    Majority Party........................................33-36, 64, 65
    Minority Party........................................33-36, 64, 65
    Quorum*......................................................    60
    Whips........................................................    35
Impeachment and Removal from Office:
Justices and Judges.....................................53, 55, 142-144
    President, Vice President and other U.S. Officers.......53, 55, 109
Independent Agencies and Commissions...........................127, 128
Information Resources...........................................163-178
Judicial Branch (See also Justices and Judges)..................129-145
    Appeals Courts..............................................131-139
    District Courts............................................131, 138
    Justice System.............................................129, 130
    Special Courts...............................................   140
    Supreme Court...............................................131-137
Justices and Judges.............................................141-145
    Impeachment and Removal.....................................142-144
    Oath of Office...............................................   145
    Opinions and Rulings.......................................136, 137
    Qualifications...............................................   141
``Lame Duck'' Amendment.........................................11, 104
Legislative Branch (See also Congress)........................... 14-91
Legislative Counsel in House and Senate..........................    44
Legislative Day*
Legislative Reorganization Acts..................................    79
    Library of Congress.....................................42, 43, 169
    National Agricultural Library................................   170
    National Library of Medicine.................................   170
    Presidential Libraries.......................................   166
Members of Congress:
    Delegates....................................................18, 21
    Misconduct and Punishments...................................24, 25
    Qualifications...............................................    15
    Representatives..............................14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 38
    Resident Commissioner........................................18, 21
    Senators.....................................16, 17, 19, 22, 41, 42
Merit Systems...................................................124-126
National Archives..................................74, 75, 163-166, 177
Nomination (See Confirmation)
Oaths of Office:
    Members of Congress..........................................    24
    Justices and Judges..........................................   145
    President....................................................   108
One-Minute Speech*
Oversight of Executive...........................................   123
Pages in Congress................................................    46
Parliamentarians.................................................    62
Pocket Veto* (See Veto by President)
Political Action Committee*
President of the Senate (See Senate; Vice President)
President of the United States
    Addresses to Congress........................................   118
    Assassinations of............................................   113
    Constitutional Powers.......................54, 56, 57, 96-103, 117
    Election.................................106, 107, 112-114, 146-149
    Executive Office of the President............................    93
    Impeachment..................................................    55
    Inauguration.................................................    87
    Nomination Power.............................................    54
    Oath.........................................................   108
    Powers and Roles.........................................94, 96, 97
    Presidential Libraries.......................................   166
    President-Elect..............................................   114
    Qualifications...............................................   105
    Resignation..................................................   111
    Term....................................................11, 94, 104
    Vacancy, Disability, Succession.............................109-114
President Pro Tempore of Senate*.............................31, 36, 65
Presidential Libraries...........................................   166
Public Law*
    Members of Congress..........................................    15
    Justices.....................................................   141
    President..................................................105, 116
    Vice President...............................................   116
    Voters.......................................................   151
Quorum*..........................................................    60
Reapportionment* (See Apportionment)
Redistricting* (See Congressional Districts)
Register of Debates in Congress..................................    75
Regulatory Commissions (See Independent Agencies)
Removal from Office:
    Members of Congress..........................................    24
    President, Vice President, Justices, Judges, and others (See 
Representation...................................................     2
Representatives (See Members of Congress)
Republic.........................................................     2
Rider Amendments*
Secretary for the Senate Majority................................    32
Secretary for the Senate Minority................................    32
Secretary of the Senate..........................................    32
Senate.......................................................14, 16, 17
    Confirmation Power...........................................    54
    Debate (and Cloture).........................................68, 69
    Legislative Counsel..........................................    44
    Majority Party............................................31-36, 65
    Minority Party............................................31-36, 65
    Officers.....................................................    32
    President of Senate (See also Vice President)................31, 65
    Quorum*......................................................    60
    Treaties.....................................................    53
    Whips........................................................    35
Senators (See Members of Congress)
Separation of Powers.............................................    13
Sequestration....................................................    52
Sergeant at Arms:
    House....................................................26, 27, 67
    Senate.......................................................    32
Sine Die* (See Adjournment)
Speaker of the House............26, 28-30, 36, 38, 41, 64, 69, 109, 110
State of the Union Address.......................................   118
Statutes at Large* (See also Acts of Congress)................... 72-74
Supreme Court...................................................130-137
    Opinions and Decisions.....................................136, 137
    Procedures.................................................134, 135
Suspension of the Rules*
Unanimous Consent Requests*
United States Code...............................................    74
Vacancies in Office:
    House........................................................    23
    Senate.......................................................    23
    President-Elect..............................................   114
    Vice President..............................................109-113
    Vice President-Elect.........................................   114
Veto by President*...................................72, 73, 96, 99-103
Vice President:
    Election...............................................115, 146-148
    Impeachment..................................................53, 55
    President of Senate..........................................31, 65
    Qualifications...............................................   116
    Resignation..................................................   111
    Term........................................................11, 104
    Vice President-Elect.........................................   114
Visitors to Congress.............................................78, 90
Voting in Elections....................................3, 147, 150, 151
War Powers* (See also Armed Forces; President).......53, 56, 57, 96, 98