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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How to Select a Senator, Part 1 of 2

The skimpy requirements for Senator by the U.S. Constitution include the following:
  • Age requirement: 30 years
  • Citizen of the US: 9 years minimum
  • Be an inhabitant of the State for which chosen to represent
In my book, How to Select an American President by James A. George with James A. Rodger (c) 2017 Archway Publishing, I discuss the similar requirements for the Presidency. I challenge the arbitrariness of age and being a citizen of the U.S. for said number of years.

Alternatively, I offer consideration for age by addressing how long it is likely to take to acquire proper skill, knowledge, and experience for the job. Being a citizen of the U.S. is proper, though for how long is suspect.

To perform the responsibility as a citizen to recruit, evaluate, and select candidates for the U.S. Senate, I propose the following process:
  1. Define the job
  2. Derive skill, knowledge, and experience requirements
  3. Solicit candidate resumes
  4. Compare resumes with the requirements and seek to verify the candidate's claims
  5. Score the resumes
  6. Select the highest scoring candidates
Political parties have a role to serve in the process. They should assist voters in performing the six tasks for citizens as listed. They do a terrible job because there are no standards for political party performance.

U.S. Senator Job Model

A job model is a job description and more. It explains the concept and specific outcomes. What do Senators do?

A Senator's job is to represent the people living in his or her state in the United States Senate. Part of this job is to write and vote on new laws called “bills.”

Perhaps one of the most important responsibilities of a Senator is to ensure the quality of Presidential appointees. The quality of the executive branch is in the hands of the Senate. When one party controls the Senate, and it is the same as the President, then that opportunity might be biased and compromised by conflicts of interest.

Task 1: Represent the needs and interests of their State's constituents.
Subtask 1.1: Meet with constituents
Subtask 1.2.: Communicate with constituents
Subtask 1.3: Share their sources and contributors to legislative content

Task 2: Participate in the debates about the creation, update, and retirement of laws and regulations.
Subtask 2.1: Draft contributions for consideration
Subtask 2.2: Research subjects
Subtask 2.3: Perform impact assessments

Task 3: Raise and champion issues and makes legislative proposals
Subtask 3.1: Write reports
Subtask 3.2: Make stipulations in plenum and specific commissions, according to his/her professional background
Subtask 3.3: Serve as chair or co-chair, and leadership positions as nominated

Task 4: Vote for or against political measures, motions, and bills

Task 5: Ratify treaties
Subtask 5.1: Engage in legislative projects of trans-national extent (such as treaties or economic agreements and partnerships between countries)
Subtask 5.2: Meet with foreign government leaders and representatives
Subtask 5.3: Meet with international business leaders and representatives

Task 6: Approve Presidential nominations to cabinet positions and judgeships
Subtask 6.1: Confirm Cabinet secretaries,
Subtask 6.2: Confirm Supreme Court justices, federal judges,
Subtask 6.3: Confirm other federal executive officials, flag officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers

Task 7: Conduct impeachment trials.

The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to impeach an official, and it makes the Senate the sole court for impeachment trials.

One reference for this is Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. However, the document is too incomplete.
Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution
Clause 1: Composition; Election of Senators
The Senate "shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote."
No individual state may have its individual representation in the Senate adjusted without its consent.  
Denying the states their intended role as joint partners in the federal government by abolishing their equality in the Senate would, according to Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase (in Texas v. White), destroy the grounding of the Union. This Article V provision has been employed by those opposed to contemplated constitutional amendments that would grant the District of Columbia full representation in the Congress. Their argument is that an amendment that would allow the District—a nonstate—to have two Senators would deprive the states of their equal suffrage in the Senate and would, therefore, require unanimous ratification by all the states. Whether unanimous consent of the 50 states would be required for such an amendment to become operative remains an unanswered political question.
Clause 2: Classification of Senators; Vacancies 
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one-third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies. 
The election is staggered; approximately one-third of the Senate is up for re-election every two years, but the entire body is never up for re-election in the same year (as contrasted with the House, where its entire membership is up for re-election every two years). 
The Seventeenth Amendment provides for the Popular Election of Senators, instead of their appointment by the State Legislature. In a nod to the less populist nature of the Senate, the Amendment tracks the vacancy procedures for the House of Representatives in requiring that the Governor call a special election to fill the vacancy, but (unlike in the House) it vests in the State Legislature the authority to allow the Governor to appoint a temporary replacement until the special election is held. Note, however, that under the original Constitution, the Governors of the states were expressly allowed by the Constitution to make temporary appointments. The current system, under the Seventeenth Amendment, allows Governors to appoint a replacement only if their state legislature has previously decided to allow the Governor to do so; otherwise, the seat must remain vacant until the special election is held to fill the seat, as in the case of a vacancy in the House.
Clause 3: Qualifications of Senators 
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. 
A Senator must be at least 30 years of age, must have been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years before being elected, and must reside in the State he or she will represent at the time of the election. The Supreme Court has interpreted the Qualifications Clause as an exclusive list of qualifications that cannot be supplemented by a House of Congress exercising its Section. 5. authority to "Judge... the... Qualifications of its Members,"[22] or by a state in its exercise of its Section. 4. authority to prescribe the "Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,..."
Clause 4: Vice President as President of Senate 
Vice President Mike Pence, current President of the United States Senate
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote, unless they are equally divided. 
Section Three provides that the Vice President is the President of the Senate. Excepting the duty to receive the tally of electoral votes for President, this is the only regular responsibility assigned to the Office of the Vice President by the Constitution. When serving in this capacity, the Vice President, who is not a member of the Senate, may cast tie-breaking votes. Early in the nation's history, Vice Presidents frequently presided over the Senate. In modern times, the Vice President usually does so only during ceremonial occasions or when a tie in the voting is anticipated. A tie-breaking vote has been cast 243 times by 35 different Vice Presidents. 
Further information: List of tie-breaking votes cast by Vice Presidents of the United States
Clause 5: President pro tempore and other officers 
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, current President pro tempore of the United States Senate 
The Senate shall choose their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of the President of the United States. 
Clause five provides for a President pro tempore of the Senate, a Senator elected to the post by the Senate, to preside over the body when the Vice President is either absent or exercising the Office of the President. 
Although the Constitutional text seems to suggest to the contrary, the Senate's current practice is to elect a full-time President pro tempore at the beginning of each Congress, as opposed to making it a temporary office only existing during the Vice President's absence. Since World War II, the senior (longest serving) member of the majority party has filled this position.[37] As is true of the Speaker of the House,[31] the Constitution does not require that the President pro tempore be a senator, but by convention, a senator is always chosen.
Clause 6: Trial of Impeachment
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present. 
Clause Six grants to the Senate the sole power to try impeachments and spells out the basic procedures for impeachment trials. The Supreme Court has interpreted this clause to mean that the Senate has exclusive and unreviewable authority to determine what constitutes an adequate impeachment trial.[38] Of the nineteen federal officials formally impeached by the House of Representatives, eleven were acquitted and seven were convicted by the Senate. On one occasion the Senate declined to hold a trial.[39]

The impeachment trial of President Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. 
The constitution's framers vested the Senate with this power for several reasons. First, they believed Senators would be better educated, more virtuous, and more high-minded than Members of the House of Representatives and thus uniquely able to decide responsibly the most difficult of political questions. Second, they believed that the Senate, being a numerous body, would be well suited to handle the procedural demands of an impeachment trial, in which it, unlike judges and the judiciary system, would "never be tied down by such strict rules, either in the delineation of the offense by the prosecutor, or in the construction of it by judges, as in the common cases serve to limit the discretion of courts in favor of personal security." (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 65).
There are three Constitutionally mandated requirements for impeachment trials. The provision that Senators must sit on oath or affirmation was designed to impress upon them the extreme seriousness of the occasion. The stipulation that the Chief Justice is to preside over presidential impeachment trials underscores the solemnity of the occasion and aims to avoid the possible conflict of interest of a Vice President's presiding over the proceeding for the removal of the one official standing between him (or her) and the presidency. The specification that a two-thirds supermajority vote of those Senators present is necessary in order to convict designed to facilitate serious deliberation and to make removal possible only through a consensus that cuts across factional divisions.
Clause 7: Judgment in cases of impeachment; Punishment on conviction 
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
If any officer is convicted on impeachment, he or she is immediately removed from office, and may be barred from holding any public office in the future. No other punishments may be inflicted pursuant to the impeachment proceeding, but the convicted party remains liable to trial and punishment in the courts for civil and criminal charges.

The U.S. Senate

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