Constitution of the United States/Art. I/Sec. 3/Clause 5 Officers

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Constitutional Law Treatise
Table of Contents
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Constitutional Law Outline
Introduction
The Preamble
Article I Legislative Branch
Art. I, Section 1 Legislative Vesting Clause
Art. I, Section 2 House of Representatives
Art. I, Section 3 Senate
Art. I, Section 4 Congress
Art. I, Section 5 Proceedings
Art. I, Section 6 Rights and Disabilities
Art. I, Section 7 Legislation
Art. I, Section 8 Enumerated Powers
Art. I, Section 9 Powers Denied Congress
Art. I, Section 10 Powers Denied States
Article II Executive Branch
Art. II, Section 1 Function and Selection
Art. II, Section 2 Powers
Art. II, Section 3 Duties
Art. II, Section 4 Impeachment
Article III Judicial Branch
Art. III, Section 1 Vesting Clause
Art. III, Section 2 Justiciability
Art. III, Section 3 Treason
Article IV Relationships Between the States
Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause
Art. IV, Section 2 Interstate Comity
Art. IV, Section 3 New States and Federal Property
Art. IV, Section 4 Republican Form of Government
Article V Amending the Constitution
Article VI Supreme Law
Article VII Ratification
First Amendment: Fundamental Freedoms
Religion
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Free Speech Clause
Freedom of Association
Second Amendment: Right to Bear Arms
Third Amendment: Quartering Soldiers
Fourth Amendment: Searches and Seizures
Fifth Amendment: Rights of Persons
Sixth Amendment: Rights in Criminal Prosecutions
Seventh Amendment: Civil Trial Rights
Eighth Amendment: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Ninth Amendment: Unenumerated Rights
Tenth Amendment: Rights Reserved to the States and the People
Eleventh Amendment: Suits Against States
Twelfth Amendment: Election of President
Thirteenth Amendment: Abolition of Slavery
Thirteenth Amend., Section 1 Prohibition on Slavery and Involuntary Servitude
Thirteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Fourteenth Amendment: Equal Protection and Other Rights
Fourteenth Amend., Section 1 Rights
Fourteenth Amend., Section 2 Apportionment of Representation
Fourteenth Amend., Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office
Fourteenth Amend., Section 4 Public Debt
Fourteenth Amend., Section 5 Enforcement
Fifteenth Amendment: Right of Citizens to Vote
Fifteenth Amend., Section 1 Right to Vote
Fifteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Sixteenth Amendment: Income Tax
Seventeenth Amendment: Popular Election of Senators
Eighteenth Amendment: Prohibition of Liquor
Eighteenth Amend., Section 1 Prohibition
Eighteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement of Prohibition
Eighteenth Amend., Section 3 Ratification Deadline
Nineteenth Amendment: Women's Suffrage
Twentieth Amendment: Presidential Term and Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 1 Terms
Twentieth Amend., Section 2 Meetings of Congress
Twentieth Amend., Section 3 Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 4 Congress and Presidential Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 5 Effective Date
Twentieth Amend., Section 6 Ratification
Twenty-First Amendment: Repeal of Prohibition
Twenty-First Amend., Section 1 Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment
Twenty-First Amend., Section 2 Importation, Transportation, and Sale of Liquor
Twenty-First Amend., Section 3 Ratification Deadline
Twenty-Second Amendment: Presidential Term Limits
Twenty-Second Amend., Section 1 Limit
Twenty-Second Amend., Section 2 Ratification Deadline
Twenty-Third Amendment: District of Columbia Electors
Twenty-Third Amend., Section 1 Electors
Twenty-Third Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Fourth Amendment: Abolition of Poll Tax
Twenty-Fourth Amend., Section 1 Poll Tax
Twenty-Fourth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Fifth Amendment: Presidential Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 1 Presidential Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 2 Vice President Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 3 Declaration by President
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 4 Declaration by Vice President and Others
Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Reduction of Voting Age
Twenty-Sixth Amend., Section 1 Eighteen Years of Age
Twenty-Sixth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Seventh Amendment: Congressional Compensation

Article I Legislative Branch

Section 3 Senate

Clause 5 Officers

Clause Text
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 States.

Senate Officers[edit | edit source]

Article I, Section 3, Clause 5, provides for the Senate to choose officers[1] and a President pro tempore, who would serve as the President of the Senate when the Vice President of the United States is unable to fill that role.[2] Unlike the President of the Senate, who may only vote in the Senate when there is a tie, the President pro tempore may "vote upon all questions before the Senate."[3] The importance of the President pro tempore in the constitutional framework was underscored in 1792 when Congress provided for the President pro tempore to serve as President of the United States if neither the President nor the Vice President were able to do so.[4] Pursuant to the Succession Act of 1947, the President pro tempore is now third in the chain of succession to the presidency of the United States after the Vice President and Speaker of the House.[5]

Pursuant to Article I, Section 3, Clause 5, the Senate has discretion to choose and remove its officers.[6] In his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Justice Joseph Story noted that the benefits of allowing the Senate to choose its officers and a President pro tempore were "so obvious, that it is wholly unnecessary to vindicate it."[7] He further stated: "Confidence between the senate and its officers, and the power to make a suitable choice, and to secure a suitable responsibility for the faithful discharge of the duties of office, are so indispensable for the public good, that the provision will command universal assent, as soon as it is mentioned."[8]

  1. Senate officers include the Secretary of the Senate, Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, chaplain, and majority and minority party secretaries. Ida Brudnick, Cong. Rsch. Serv., R43532, Offices and Officials in the Senate: Roles and Duties (2015), [1]. See also Valerie Heitshusen, Cong. Rsch. Serv., RS20722, The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the Senate Floor (2020), [2].
  2. For additional discussion on the role of the President pro tempore, see Christopher Davis, Cong. Rsch. Serv., RL30960, The President Pro Tempore of the Senate: History and Authority of the Office (2015), [3].
  3. Roger Foster, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Historical and Juridical, with Observations upon the Ordinary Provisions of State Constitutions and a Comparison with the Constitutions of Other Countries § 84 (1895). See also Art. I, Sec. 3, Clause 4 President.
  4. Act of Mar. 1, 1792, ch. VIII, § 9, 1 Stat. 240 (providing that "in case of removal, death, or inability of both the President and the Vice President of the United States, the President of the Senate pro tempore, and in the case there shall be no President of the Senate, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall act as President of the United States until the disability be removed or a President shall be elected.").
  5. Christopher Davis, Cong. Rsch. Serv., RL30960, The President Pro Tempore of the Senate: History and Authority of the Office (2015), [4]. The Succession Act of 1886 replaced the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House of Representatives with members of the President's cabinet in the order in which their respective departments had been established. Act of Jan. 19, 1886, ch. 4, § 1, 24 Stat. 1.
  6. Roger Foster, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Historical and Juridical, with Observations upon the Ordinary Provisions of State Constitutions and a Comparison with the Constitutions of Other Countries § 85 (1895).
  7. Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States § 739 (1833).
  8. Id.