Wednesday, February 15, 2012

US Constitution: Article 1 Sections 1-3

"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. Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States... Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State..." Full Text
Article 1 describes the legislative branch - Congress. Section 1 is pretty obvious from above, but just lays out that we have a bicameral legislature - not a new idea and extremely similar in concept to the British House of Lords (Senate) and House of Commons (Representatives). Section 2 describes the House and the qualifications to be part of it. Section 3 describes the Senate, making explicit that each state will have 2 votes. It is the equivalent of the "upper" house in which the elite make decisions without as much care for the fickle whims of the common man. The 6-year term in the Senate helps insulate these more powerful positions from that fickle public. Conversely, the House more closely reflects the will of the people and has always been viewed as the "lower" house. Congressmen serve only 2 years and a smaller number of people (with exceptions in VERY small states). This makes them (in theory) a bit more pliable to the direct will of their constituents, but also a bit more irrelevant and impotent to directly affect the path of the federal government. The high-falootin Senate augustly equalizes the playing field, making Senators from basically irrelevant states in the scheme of people-power (Bernie Sanders, VT; Harry Reid, NV; Thad Cochran, MS) into significantly more powerful individuals than their state "deserves" (based on size). I don't really have a beef with the first couple of sections of Article I and how we are implementing it. After all, this part is just the "what it is" part and not the "what it is allowed to do" part. I will go into a bit deeper discussion on the balance of Article I - some might even consider it a rant - to explain my expectations of Congress for the people to maintain our willful consent to be governed.

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