Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2

Document 3

Luther Martin, Genuine Information

1788Storing 2.4.46--48

In the sixth section of the first article, it is provided, that senators and representatives may be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, except such as shall have been created, or the emoluments of which have been increased during the time for which they were elected: upon this subject. Sir, there was a great diversity of sentiment among the members of the convention--As the propositions were reported by the committee of the whole house, a senator or representative could not be appointed to any office under a particular State, or under the United States, during the time for which they were chosen, nor to any office under the United States until one year after the expiration of that time.--It was said, and in my opinion justly, that no good reason could be assigned why a senator or representative should be incapacitated to hold an office in his own government, since it can only bind him more closely to his State, and attach him the more to its interests, which, as its representative, he is bound to consult and sacredly guard, as far as is consistent with the welfare of the union; and therefore, at most, would only add the additional motive of gratitude for discharging his duty; and according to this idea, the clause which prevented senators or delegates from holding offices in their own States, was rejected by a considerable majority; but, Sir, we sacredly endeavoured to preserve all that part of the resolution which prevented them from being eligible to offices under the United States, as we considered it essentially necessary to preserve the integrity, independence, and dignity of the legislature, and to secure its members from corruption.

I was in the number of those who were extremely solicitous to preserve this part of the report; but there was a powerful opposition made by such who wished the members of the legislature to be eligible to offices under the United States--Three different times did they attempt to procure an alteration, and as often failed, a majority firmly adhering to the resolution as reported by the committee; however, an alteration was at length by dint of perseverance, obtained even within the last twelve days of the convention, for it happened after I left Philadelphia--As to the exception that they cannot be appointed to offices created by themselves, or the emoluments of which are by themselves increased, it is certainly of little consequence, since they may easily evade it by creating new offices, to which may be appointed the persons who fill the offices before created, and thereby vacancies will be made, which may be filled by the members who for that purpose have created the new offices.

It is true, the acceptance of an office vacates their seat, nor can they be re-elected during their continuance in office; but it was said, that the evil would first take place, that the price for the office would be paid before it was obtained; that vacating the seat of the person who was appointed to office, made way for the admission of a new member, who would come there as desirous to obtain an office as him whom he succeeded, and as ready to pay the price necessary to obtain it; in fine, that it would be only driving away the flies who were filled, to make room for the those that were hungry--And as the system is now reported, the President having the power to nominate to all offices, it must be evident, that there is no possible security for the integrity and independence of the legislature, but that they are most unduly placed under the influence of the President, and exposed to bribery and corruption.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 2, Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2, Document 3
The University of Chicago Press

Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Easy to print version.