« PreviousContinue »
The two Houses of Parliament have the sole, separate, and independent power of adjourning, each their respective Houses. The King has no authority to adjourn them; he can only signify his desire, and it is in the wisdom and prudence of either House, to comply with his requisition, or not, as they see fitting.-2 Hats. 332-1 Blackstone, 186-5 Grey, 122.
By the Constitution of the United States, a smaller number than a majority may adjourn from day to day.— I. 5. But neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.-I. 5. The President may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper.-Const. 11. 3.
A motion to adjourn simply, cannot be amended as by adding, "To a particular day." But must be put simply, "That this House do now adjourn?" and, if carried in the affirmative, it is adjourned to the next sitting day, unless it has come to a previous resolution, "That at its rising, it will adjourn to a particular day;" and then the House is adjourned to that day.-2 Hats. 82.
Where it is convenient that the business of the House be suspended for a short time, as for a conference presently to be held, &c. it adjourns during pleasure.-2 Hats. 305. Or for a quarter of an hour.--5 Grey, 331.
If a question be put for adjournment, it is no adjournment till the Speaker pronounces it.-5 Grey, 137. And from courtesy and respect, no member leaves his place till the Speaker has passed on.
Parliament have three modes of separation, to wit, by adjournment, by prorogation, or dissolution by the King, or by the efflux of the term for which they were elected. Prorogation or dissolution constitutes there what is called a session; provided some act has passed. In this case, all matters depending before them are discontinued, and at their next meeting are to be taken up de novo, if taken up at all.--1 Blackst. 186. Adjournment, which is by themselves, is no more than a continuance at the session from one day to another, or for a fortnight, a month, &c. ad libitum. All matters depending remain
in statu quo, and when they meet again, be the term ever so distant, are resumed without any fresh commencement, at the point at which they were left.-1 Lev. 165-Lex. Parl. c. 2-1 Ro. Rep. 29-4 Inst. 7. 27, 28-Hutt. 61-1 Mod. 152-Ruffh. Jac's. L. Dict. Parliaments --Blackst. 186. Their whole session is considered in law but as one day, and has relation to the first day thereof.-Bro. Abr. Parlia ment, 86.
Committees may be appointed to sit during a recess by adjournment, but not by prorogation. 5 Grey, 374-9 Grey, 350-1 Chandler, 50. Neither House can continue any portion of itself in any Parliamentary function, beyond the end of the session, without the consent of the other two branches. When done, it is by a bill constituting them commissioners for the particular purpose.
Congress separate in two ways only, to wit, by adjournment or dissolution by the efflux of their time. What then constitutes a session with them? A dissolution certainly closes one session, and the meeting of the new Congress begins another. The Constitution authorizes the President, "On extraordinary occasions, to convene both Houses, or either of them."- Art. I. Sec. 3. If convened by the President's proclamation, this must begin a new session, and of course determine the preceding one to have been a session. So, if it meets under the clause of the Constitution, which says, "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,”—I. 4.—this
must begin a new session. For even if the last adjourn. ment was to this day, the act of adjournment is merged in the higher authority of the Constitution, and the meeting will be under that, and not under their adjournment. So far we have fixed landmarks for determining sessions. In other cases, it is declared by the joint vote authorizing the President of the Senate, and the Speaker, to close the session on a fixed day, which is usually in the following form, "Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives, that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives be authorized to close the present session, by adjourning their respective Houses on the day of
When it was said above, that all matters depending before Parliament were discontinued by the determination of the session, it was not meant for judiciary cases, depending before the House of Lords, such as impeachments, appeals, and writs of error. These stand continued of course to the next session.-Raym. 120. 381Ruffh. Jac. L. D. Parliament.
Impeachments stand in like manner continued before the Senate of the United States.*
*It was held, in the case of Hastings, that a dissolution did not work the discontinuance of an impeachment.
The President of the United States has power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treatics, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur. -Const. U. S. Art. II. Sec. 2.
All confidential communications, made by the Presi dent of the United States to the Senate, shall be, by the members thereof, kept inviolably secret; and that all treaties, which may hereafter be laid before the Senate, shall also be kept secret, until the Senate shall, by their resolution, take off the injunction of secrecy.-Rule 38.
Treaties are legislative acts. A treaty is a law of the land. It differs from other laws only as it must have the consent of a foreign nation, being but a contract with respect to that nation. In all countries, I believe, except England, treaties are made by the legislative power: and there also, if they touch the laws of the land, they must be approved by Parliament. Ware vs. Hylton.-3 Dallas's Rep. 199. It is acknowledged, for instance, that the King of Great Britain cannot, by a treaty, make a citizen of an alien.-Vattel, b. 1. c. 19. sec. 214. An act of Parliament was necessary to validate the American treaty of 1783. And abundant examples of such acts can be cited. In the case of the treaty of Utrecht, in 1712, the commercial articles required the concurrence of Parliament. But a bill brought in for that purpose was