Page images



On an amendment being moved, a member who has spoken to the main question may speak again to the amendment.-Scob. 23.

If an amendment be proposed inconsistent with one already agreed to, it is a fit ground for its rejection by the House; but not within the competence of the Speaker to suppress, as if it were against order. For, were he permitted to draw questions of consistence within the vortex of order, he might usurp a negative on important modifications, and suppress instead of subserving the legislative will.

Amendments may be made so as totally to alter the nature of the proposition; and it is a way of getting rid of a proposition, by making it bear a sense different from what was intended by the movers, so that they vote against it themselves.-2 Hats. 79. 4. 82. 84. A new bill may be ingrafted, by way of amendment, on the words "Be it enacted," &c.-1 Grey, 190. 192.

If it be proposed to amend by leaving out certain words, it may be moved as an amendment to this amendment to leave out a part of the words of the amendment, which is equivalent to leaving them in the bill.-2 Hats. 80. 9. The Parliamentary question is always, Whether the words shall stand part of the bill?

When it is proposed to amend by inserting a paragraph, or part of one, the friends of the paragraph may make it as perfect as they can, by amendments, before the question is put for inserting it. If it it be received, it cannot be amended afterwards, in the same stage, because the House has, on a vote, agreed to it in that form. In like manner, if it is proposed to amend by striking out a paragraph, the friends of a paragraph are first to make it as perfect as they can by amendments, before the question is put for striking it out. If, on the question, it be retained, it cannot be amended afterwards: because a vote against striking out is equivalent to a vote agreeing to in that form.

When it is moved to amend, by striking out certain words and inserting others, the manner of stating the question is, first to read the whole passage to be amended, as it stands at present; then the words proposed to be struck out: next those to be inserted; and, lastly, the whole passage, as it will be when amended. And the question, if desired, is then to be divided, and put first on striking out. If carried, it is next on inserting the words proposed. If that be lost, it may be moved to insert others.-2 Hats. 80. 7.

A motion is made to amend by striking out certain words, and inserting others in their place, which is negatived. Then it is moved to strike out the same words, and to insert others of a tenor entirely different from those first proposed. It is negatived. Then it is moved to strike out the

same words, and to insert others of a tenor entirely different from those first proposed. It is negatived. Then it is moved to strike out the same words and insert nothing, which is agreed to. All this is admissible; because to strike out and insert A, is one proposition. To strike out and insert B, is a different proposition. And to strike out and insert nothing is still different. And the rejection of one proposition does not preclude the offering a different one. Nor would it change the case were the first motion divided by putting the question first on striking out, and that negatived. For as putting the whole motion to the question at once would not have precluded the putting the half of it, cannot do it.*

But if it had been carried affirmatively to strike out the words and to insert A, it could not afterwards be permitted to strike out A and insert B. The mover of B should have notified, while the insertion of A was under debate, that he would move to insert B. In which case, those who preferred it would join in rejecting A.

* In a case of a division of the question, and a decision against striking out, I advance, doubtingly, the opinion here expressed. I find no authority either way; and I know it may be viewed under a different aspect. It may be thought, that having decided separately not to strike out the passage, the same question for striking out cannot be put over again, though with a view to a different insertion. Still I think it more reasonable and convenient to consider the striking out and insertion as forming one proposition; but should readily yield to any evidence that the contrary is the practice in Parliament.

After A is inserted, however, it may be moved to strike out a portion of the original paragraph, comprehending A, provided the coherence to be struck out be so substantial as to make this effectively a different proposition. For then it is resolved into the common case of striking out a paragraph after amending it. Nor does any thing forbid a new insertion, instead of A and its coherence.

In Senate, January 25, 1798, a motion to postpone, until the second Tuesday in February, some amendments proposed to the Constitution. The words, "until the second Tuesday in February," were struck out by way of amendment. Then it was moved to add, "until the first day of June." Objected, that it was not in order, as the question should first be put on the longest time; therefore, a shorter time decided against, a longer cannot be put to question. It was an

swered, that this rule takes place only in filling blanks for time. But when a specific time stands part of a motion, that may be struck out as well as any other part of the motion; and when struck out, a motion may be received to insert any other. In fact, it is not till they are struck out, and a blank for the time thereby produced, that the rule can begin to operate, by receiving all the propositions for different times, and putting the questions successively on the longest. Otherwise, it would be in the power of the mover, by inserting originally a short time, to preclude the possibility of a longer. For, till the short time


is struck out, you cannot insert a longer; and if, after it is struck out, you cannot do it, then it cannot be done at all. Suppose the first motion had been to amend by striking out "the second Tuesday in February," and inserting instead thereof," the first of June." It would have been regular then to divide the question, by proposing first the question to strike out, and then that to insert. Now this is precisely the effect of the present proceeding; only instead of one motion and two questions, there are two motions and two questions to effect it: the motion being divided as well as the question.

When the matter contained in two bills might be better put into one, the manner is to reject the one, and incorporate its matter into another bill by way of amendment. So, if the matter of one bill would be better distributed into two, any part may be struck out by way of amendment, and put into a new bill. If a section is to be transposed, a question must be put on striking it out where it stands, and another for inserting it in the place desired.

A bill passed by the one House, with blanks. These may be filled up by the other, by way of amendments, returned to the first, as such, and passed.-3 Hats, 83.

The number prefixed to the section of a bill being merely a marginal indication, and no part of the text of the bill, the clerk regulates that; the House or committee is only to amend the


« PreviousContinue »