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Sec. 4.-Elections and Meetings.

Clause 2.-MEETINGS.

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.



Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House is by the Constitution made the judge of the election and qualification of its members. In deciding on these it has an undoubted right to examine witnesses and inspect papers, subject to the usual rights of witnesses in such cases; and it may be that a witness would be subject to like punishment at the hands of the body engaged in trying a contested election, for refusing to testify, that he would if the case were pending before a court of judicature.

Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U. S. 190.

In re Loney, 134 U. S. 372.

U. S. v. Ballin, 144 U. S. 1.

Burton v. U. S., 202 U. S. 344.

Clause 2.-RULES.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member. Rules of Its Proceedings

In U. S. v. Ballin (144 U. S. 1), which involved the quorum rule of the House of Representatives, the court said:

The Constitution empowers each House to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceeding established by the rule and the result which is sought to be attained. But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the House, and it is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate or even more just. The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the House, and within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body or tribunal.


Sec. 5.-Legislative Proceedings

Disorderly Behavior

Cl. 2.-Rules

It was held in Kilbourn v. Thompson (103 U. S. 168) that although the House can punish its own Members for disorderly conduct, or for failure to attend its sessions, and may, where the examination of witnesses is necessary to the performance of its duties, fine or imprison a contumacious witness, there is not found in the Constitution any general power vested in either House to punish for contempt.

Power of Congress over Members

Congress has power to make it an offense against the United States for any Member of Congress to receive or agree to receive compensation for services before a department of the Government in relation to matters in which the United States is interested, and the exercise of such power does not interfere with the legitimate authority of the Houses of Congress over their respective Members.

Burton v. U. S., 202 U. S., 344.

Of General Application

In connection with this clause and as of general interest, see-
In re Chapman, 166 U. S. 661.

Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheat. 204.

Clause 3.-JOURNAL.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Conclusiveness of Journal Entries

If the Journal of either House may be considered evidence for the purpose of determining whether the yeas and nays were ordered, and what the vote was on any particular question, the Journal must be presumed to show the truth, and a statement therein that a quorum was present, though not disclosed by the yeas and nays, is final.

U. S. v. Ballin, 144 U. S. 1.

Omission of Section of Bill

When an enrolled bill, signed by the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress and by the President, is placed in the custody of the Secretary of State, its authentication as a law is complete, and no reference can be had to the Journal of either House or other extrinsic evidence to show that a section of the bill, as actually passed, has been omitted.

Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649.

Sec. 5.-Legislative Proceedings

Of General Application

Cl. 3.-Journal

See also, as of general interest in connection with these clauses

Wilkes County v. Coler, 180 U. S. 506.

South Ottawa v. Perkins, 94 U. S. 260.

La Abra Mining Co. v. U. S., 175 U. S. 423.


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.



The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Compensation for Their Services

A Member of Congress who receives his certificate of admission, and is seated, is prima facie entitled to the seat and to the salary.

Page v. U. S., 127 U. S. 67.

Shelley v. U. S., 19 Ct. Cl. 653.
Wilson v. U. S., 44 Ct. Cl. 428.

Privileged from Arrest

The term "treason, felony and breach of the peace," as used in this section, excepts from the operation of the privilege all criminal cases.

Williamson v. U. S., 207 U. S. 425. But see U. S. v. Cooper, 4 Dall. 341, in which it was said that there is no privilege to exempt Members of Congress from the service, or the obligation, of a subpœna in criminal cases.

See also

Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 16 Pet. 619.

Burton v. U. S., 196 U. S. 295.

Bolton v. Martin, 1 Dall. 296.

U. S. v. Kirby, 7 Wall. 486.

Coxe v. McClenachan, 3 Dall. 478.

There have been no cases of importance decided under this clause.

Sec. 6. Rights of Members

Speech or Debates

Cl. 1.-Compensation, etc.

The protection of this clause is not limited to spoken words but is applicable to written reports, resolutions, voting, etc.

Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U. S. 204.

Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheat. 215.


No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.



All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

All Bills for Raising Revenue

The construction of this limitation is practically settled by the uniform action of Congress confining it to bills to levy taxes in the strict sense of the word, and it has not been understood to extend to bills for purposes which incidentally create revenue.

U. S. v. Norton, 91 U. S. 566.

Twin City Bank v. Nebeker, 167 U. S. 196.
Millard v. Roberts, 202 U. S. 429.

Senate May Propose or Concur in Amendments

It has been held that the Senate may amend revenue bills and even change the plan under which taxes are laid, and such action is not invalid if the amendments are concurred in by the House.

Corporation Tax Cases, 220 U. S. 107.

Rainey v. U. S., 232 U. S. 310.

Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U. S. 168.
Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649.

U. S. v. Hill, 123 U. S. 681.

Clause 2.-VETO OF BILLS.

Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it,

There have been no cases of importance decided under this clause.

Sec. 7.-Bills and Resolutions

Cl. 2.-Veto of Bills

with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.


Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

When a Bill Becomes a Law

A bill, containing no effective date, becomes a law at the time it is signed by the President, if so signed within ten days after proper presentation to him. At the expiration of ten days, if he has not returned it to the House in which it originated, it becomes a law without his signature. If returned within ten days with objections, it does not become a law until reenacted by twothirds of both Houses.

Gardner v. The Collector (6 Wall. 506), in which the court said:

The only duty required of the President by the Constitution in regard to a bill which he approves is, that he shall sign it. Nothing more. The simple signing his name at the appropriate place is the one act which the

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