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    Thursday, 26 January 2017

    Formation of American Senate under USA Constitution

    1. The American senate
    The American federal legislature, Congress is bicameral. It consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate, which is the upper or second chamber, was created to protect the interests of small states and to check the radical tendencies of the lower chamber, the House of Representatives.

    2. Basis of Representation

    The American Senate is the upper chamber of the congress. It is the House of States and as such represents the federal idea in the American Constitution. It is specially provided that whatever the size fo a State, every state has the right to send two representatives to the senate. No State can be deprived of its right of sending two representatives without its own consent and such consent is not likely to be given by any state.

    At present, federation comprises fifty states and its total membership is one hundred. Navada, having a small population of 1,10,000 has the same ratio of representation as New York with a huge population. No state, according to the constitution, can be deprived of its equal representation without its consent.

    a. Criticism
    The fears of the founding fathers that the larger states would dominate the small ones have been proved to be unfounded. Still the principle of equal representation is regarded as undemocratic for it bases representation on territorial units rather than human beings. More ever, it gives the states with only one-fifth of the overall population more than half the senators. This enables these states with lesser population to gang up against those with greater population. If so, the principle of majority rule is reduced to a hoax.

    3. Qualification for Membership

    The constitution prescribes the following qualifications of the Senators;
    i. The minimum age requirement is thirty years higher age requirement has the advantage that its members are generally more seasoned and experienced persons.
    ii. A candidate should be resident of America for at least nine years.
    iii. He must be the inhabitant of the state from where he intends to contest the election.
    iv. During his membership of the Senate, no person is allowed to hold any office of profit in the government. 

    The oft-quoted qualifications for the membership of the senate signify supremacy of its membership over the lower chamber. This also accounts for the predominance of the Senate over the lower chamber.

    4. Direct election
    The 17th Amendment of 1913 provided for direct election of the Senators by the people of the States. Every Senator is elected for six years but one-third of the Senate is never dissolved and it becomes a perpetual House. Every Senator gets a salary of 75,000 dollars a year. He has the freedom of speech and also the right to freedom from arrest.

    5. Actual practice regarding election
    In actual practice, however, the Senators came to be elected in a quite different and even corrupt fashion. Soon after, as the political parties grew up, the choice of a Senator in a state was really made by the party convention or the legislative caucus or, worse still, by the party bosses. Often there were deadlocks over their choice in the state legislature, which sometimes remained unresolved. The result was that many a time a state was represented in the congress by one senator, and sometimes by none. From 1890 to 1912, some eleven states at one time or another wee represented by one member only, while in 1901 Delaware had no senator at all in Washington.

    6. Duration

    Senators are elected for a period of six years but one-thirds of them retire after every two years. Hence after every two years, new element steps in the lines of its membership.

    7. Salary and other Privileges

    Senators enjoy some special privileges in addition to the routine one.
    i. Members of the Senate cannot be removed by impeachment.
    ii. They cannot be arrested during the sessions, save on the charge of gross misconduct, treason or threatening public peach.
    iii. Senators enjoy full freedom of expression on the floor of the Chamber and cannot be questioned in any court of law for expressing any views in the House.

    8. Presiding officer
    American Vice President is legally the President of the Senate as well, but due to his pre-occupation in administrative matters, a President Protemporo, who is a member of the majority party, performs this duty. He implements rules and regulations and maintains discipline in the House.

    9. Working of the Senate Committees
    Most of the work of the Senate is done by its committees consisting of its members. All parties are given representation in these committees in proportion to their numerical strength in the House. In the very first session of the newly elected chamber, party leaders nominate their members to different committees, while the House formally elects them, later on.

    10. Important committees in the Senate

    The important committees are on Finance, Foreign Affairs appropriations, Inter-State Commerce and the Judiciary. Every Senator is entitled to speak as long as he pleases. There is no time-limit on the debates. The result is that the right has been even misused. It is stated that Senator Smooth of Utah spoke the whole of the night at one occasion. Again, Senator Shepherd of Taxes spoke continuously for six hours and fifteen minutes and it is stated that in that time he did not sit down, rest himself, nor even take a drink of water.

    11. Printing of Speeches

    A curious system of the United States of America enables the Senator to get their speeches printed in the congressional record even if not a word of them has been delivered in the Senate. Although these speeches are never delivered, even then such words as applause and loud and prolonged applause occur in the record of the Senate. A senator is also allowed to speak out a few words and they propose that the rest of his written speech may be considered to have been read. There is no such system in Pakistan or in England. 
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    Item Reviewed: Formation of American Senate under USA Constitution Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Usman Ali
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