Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/586

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

fill, and thus excluded the idea of power to make selections for any others.

By the fifth clause of article 1st, section 2, the special power is given to the House of Representatives "to choose their Speaker and other officers," the word "their" being applicable not only to the Speaker, but to the "other officers."

By the act now before me, however, the two Houses empower their respective members to "choose" officers that are not "their officers," but officers of the Executive Department of the Government. The language is not susceptible of any other meaning. The acting midshipmen "shall be appointed upon the recommendation" of the Representatives or Senators, as the case may be.

But the Constitution, by granting to Congress no other power over officers created by law than that of vesting the appointment "in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the Heads of Departments," thus withholds from that branch of the Government any participation in such appointments. But it may be remarked that this act gives the power of making the proposed appointments not to Congress as a body, but to the individual members of the two Houses, and that it is thus in conflict with the spirit and intent of the 1st clause of the 6th section of the 1st article of the Constitution, which enumerates the privileges accorded to Representatives and Senators individually. These privileges are carefully restricted to such as are necessary to enable them to discharge their duties as legislators. All other rights, powers, and privileges granted to Congress by the Constitution are conferred on the body collectively, or on one of the two Houses.

The power to make selections for appointment to office is nowhere accorded in that instrument to the Senators and Representatives individually; and it is believed to be an unquestioned principle of constitutional law that no legislation can add to the power vested by the Constitution in any member of any one of the three Departments of Government.

The power of Congress to vest by law the appointment of inferior officers in the President alone or in the Heads of Departments would seem to include a power to restrict, limit, or partially confer the authority, or to divide it between several Departments, provided they be those which may constitutionally exercise the