Article 1, Section 3, Clauses 4 and 5
[Volume 2, Page 244]
Records of the Federal Convention
[2:495; Journal, 4 Sept.]
Sect. 3. The Vice President shall be ex officio, President of the Senate, except when they sit to try the impeachment of the President, in which case the Chief Justice shall preside, and excepting also when he shall exercise the powers and duties of President, in which case, and in case of his absence, the Senate shall chuse a President pro tempore--The Vice President when acting as President of the Senate shall not have a vote unless the House be equally divided
[2:536; Madison, 7 Sept.]
Section 3. (see Sepr. 4). "The vice President shall be ex officio President of the Senate"
Mr. Gerry opposed this regulation. We might as well put the President himself at the head of the Legislature. The close intimacy that must subsist between the President & vice-president makes it absolutely improper. He was agst. having any vice President.
Mr Govr Morris. The vice president then will be the first heir apparent that ever loved his father--If there should be no vice president, the President of the Senate would be temporary successor, which would amount to the same thing.
Mr Sherman saw no danger in the case. If the vice-President were not to be President of the Senate, he would be without employment, and some member by being made President must be deprived of his vote, unless when an equal division of votes might happen in the Senate, which would be but seldom.
Mr. Randolph concurred in the opposition to the clause.
Mr. Williamson, observed that such an officer as vice-President was not wanted. He was introduced only for the sake of a valuable mode of election which required two to be chosen at the same time.
Col: Mason, thought the office of vice-President an encroachment on the rights of the Senate; and that it mixed too much the Legislative & Executive, which as well as the Judiciary departments, ought to be kept as separate as possible. He took occasion to express his dislike of any reference whatever of the power to make appointments to either branch of the Legislature. On the other hand he was averse to vest so dangerous a power in the President alone. As a method for avoiding both, he suggested that a privy Council of six members to the president should be established; to be chosen for six years by the Senate, two out of the Eastern two out of the middle, and two out of the Southern quarters of the Union, & to go out in rotation two every second year; the concurrence of the Senate to be required only in the appointment of Ambassadors, and in making treaties. which are more of a legislative nature. This would prevent the constant sitting of the Senate which he thought dangerous, as well as keep the departments separate & distinct. It would also save the expence of constant sessions of the Senate. He had he said always considered the Senate as too unwieldy & expensive for appointing officers, especially the smallest, such as tide waiters &c. He had not reduced his idea to writing, but it could be easily done if it should be found acceptable.
On the question shall the vice President be ex officio President of the Senate?
N-- H. ay-- Mas. ay-- Ct. ay. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay-- Mas-- no. Va ay-- N-- C-- abst S. C. ay-- Geo. ay. [Ayes--8; noes--2; absent--1.]
[2:574; Committee of Style, 7 Sept.]
Sect. 3. The Vice President shall be ex officio, President of the Senate, except when they sit to try the impeachment [Volume 2, Page 245] of the President, in which case the Chief Justice shall preside, and excepting also when he shall exercise the powers and duties of President, in which case, and in case of his absence, the Senate shall chuse a President pro tempore--The Vice President when acting as President of the Senate shall not have a vote unless the House be equally divided
. . . . .
(c) The Vice-President of the United States shall be, ex officio, President of the senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
[2:612; Madison, 14 Sept.]
"Ex officio" struck out of the same section as superfluous; nem: con:
Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Rev. ed. 4 vols. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1937.
© 1987 by The University of Chicago