Constitution of the United States/Art. I/Sec. 4/Clause 2 Assembly

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Constitutional Law Treatise
Table of Contents
US Constitution.jpg
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 4 Congress

Clause 2 Assembly

Clause Text
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

When Congress Shall Assemble[edit | edit source]

Ratified in 1933, Section 2 of the Twentieth Amendment superseded Article I, Section 4, Clause 2, by changing the date when Congress shall assemble from "the first Monday in December" to "noon on the 3d day of January . . . ."[1]

In requiring Congress to assemble at least once a year, the Framers ensured that Congress would meet regularly, thereby placing such sessions "equally beyond the power of faction, and of party of power, and of corruption."[2] During the Constitutional Convention, the Framers considered both May and December as possible periods for convening. In making this decision, they weighed the difficulties of traveling in December against the inconvenience to Members engaged in agricultural pursuits in May.[3] The interest in commercial pursuits proving greater than the interest in convenience, the Framers selected the first Monday in December to assemble.

The Framers' choice of December rather than May meant that more than a year would pass from the election of Congress in November until Congress convened in December of the following year. In its 1932 Report on Fixing the Commencement of the Terms of the President and Vice President and Members of Congress, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary explained the need for the lengthy delay, stating: "When our Constitution was adopted there was some reason for such a long intervention of time between the election and the actual commencement of work by the new Congress. We had neither railroads nor telegraphic communication connecting the various States and communities of the country."[4] The Senate Committee on the Judiciary also noted that, prior to the 1913 adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment, time was required between the election and convening of Congress so that state legislatures could convene and select Senators.[5] With popular election of Senators and improved communication and transportation technologies, the lengthy delay between the election and convening of Congress was no longer necessary.[6]

  1. Twentieth Amendment Presidential Term and Succession.
  2. Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States § 827 (1833). Justice Story further opined: "[I]t was obvious, that from the nature of their duties, and the distance of their abodes, the members of congress ought not to be brought together at shorter periods, unless upon the most pressing exigencies. A provision, so universally acceptable, requires no vindication or commentary." Id.
  3. Max Farrand, The Framing of the Constitution 136 (1913) (noting that James Madison advocated for Congress to convene in May because it was easier to travel then, but the Framers chose December for its convenience for Members involved in agriculture.)
  4. Fixing the Commencement of the Terms of the President and Vice President and Members of Congress, S. Rep. No. 26, 72nd Cong., 1st Sess. (1932), as reprinted in 75 Cong. Rec. 1372, 1372 (Jan. 6, 1932).
  5. Id. ("Originally, Senators were elected by the legislatures, and as a rule the legislatures of the various States did not convene until after the beginning of the new year, and it was difficult and sometimes impossible for Senators to be elected until February or March.").
  6. Id. ("Under present conditions the result of elections is known all over the country within a few hours after the polls close, and the Capital City is within a few days' travel of the remotest portions of the country.").