Appointment of Judges (July 21)
- MR. MADISON
- stated as his reasons for the motion.
- that it secured the responsibility of the Executive who would in general be more capable and likely to select fit characters than the Legislature, or even the second branch of it, who might hide their selfish motives under the number concerned in the appointment-
- that in case of any flagrant partiality or error, in the nomination it might be fairly presumed that two thirds of the second branch would join in putting a negative on it
- that as the second branch was very differently constituted when the appointment of the Judges was formerly referred to it, and was now to be composed of equal votes from all the States, the principle of compromise which had prevailed in other instances required in this that there should be a concurrence of two authorities, in one of which the people, in the other the States, should be represented.
- MR. PINCKNEY
- was for placing the appointment in the second
branch exclusively. The Executive will possess neither the requisite
knowledge of characters, nor confidence of the people for so
high a trust.
- MR. RANDOLPH
- would have preferred the mode of appointmentproposed formerly by Mr. Gorham, as adopted in the Constitution of Massachusetts but thought the motion depending so great
an improvement of the clause as it stands, that he anxiously
wished it success. He laid great stress on the responsibility of the
Executive as a security for fit appointments. Appointments by
the Legislatures have generally resulted from cabal, from personal regard, or some other consideration than a title derived
from the proper qualifications. The sarne inconveniencies will
proportionally prevail, if the appointments be referred to either
branch of the Legislature or to any other authority administered
by a number of individuals.
- MR. ELLSWORTH:
- would prefer a negative in the Executive on a
nomination by the second branch, the negative to be overruled
by a concurrence of two thirds of the second branch to the mode
proposed by the motion, but preferred an absolute appointment
by the second branch to either. The Executive will be regarded
by the people with a jealous eye. Every power for augmenting
unnecessarily his influence will be disliked. As he will be stationary it was not to be supposed he could have a better knowledge of characters. He will be more open to caresses and intrigues
than the Senate. The right to supersede his nomination will be
ideal only. A nomination under such circumstances will be equivalent to an appointment.
- MR. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS
- supported the motion.
- The States in their corporate capacity will frequently have an interest staked on the determination of the Judges. As in the Senate the States are to vote the Judges ought not to be appointed by the Senate. Next to the impropriety of being Judge in one`s own cause, is the appointment of the Judge.
- It had been said the Executive would be uninformed of characters. The reverse was the truth. The Senate will be so. They must take the character of candidates from the flattering pictures drawn by their friends. The Executive in the necessary intercourse with every part of the United States required by the nature of his administration, will or may have the best possible information.
- It had been said that a jealousy would be entertained of the Executive. If the Executive can be safely trusted with the command of the army, there cannot surely be any reasonable ground of Jealousy in the present case.
- MR. GERRY
- The appointment of the Judges like every other
part of the Constitution should be so modelled as to give satisfaction both to the people and to the States. The mode under consideration will give satisfaction to neither. He could not conceive
that the Executive could be as well informed of characters through
out the Union, as the Senate. It appeared to him also a strong
objection that two thirds of the Senate were required to reject a
nomination of the Executive. The Senate would be constituted in
the same manner as Congress. And the appointments of Congress have been generally good.
- MR. MADISON
- observed that he was not anxious that two
thirds should be necessary to disagree to a wmination. He had
given this form to his motion chiefly to vary it the more clearly
from one which had just been rejected. He was content to
obviate the objection last made, and accordingly so varied the
motion as to let a majority reject.
- COLONEL MASON
- found it his duty to differ from his colleagues in their opinions and reasonings on this subject. Notwithstanding the form of the proposition by which the appointment seemed to be divided between the Executive and Senate, the appointment was substantially vested in the former alone. The false complaisance which usually prevails in such cases will prevent a disagreement to the first nominations. He considered the appointment by the Executive as a dangerous prerogative. It might even give him an influence over the Judiciary department itself. He did not think the difference of interest between the Northern and Southern States could be properly brought into this argument. It would operate and require some precautions in the case of regulating navigation, commerce and imposts, but he could not see that it had any connection with the Judiciary department.