Revisiting the Constitution’s Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 Office of President
In previous Posts and Lessons, I stated that the Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 “Office of President” in the Constitution of September 17, 1787 was an office separate from the “Office of President of the United States” and the Office of the President of the United States of America. I was mistaken.
The phrase, “Office of President” refers to the President of the United States of America.
The words in the phrase “Office of President of the United States of America” very skillfully do not appear in that order in any Article II sentence. With the exception of the Article II, Section 1, Clause 8, Office of the President of the United States, all references in Article II to the President and Office of President refer to the President of the United States of America. Placing the Clause 8 oath of office to the Office of the President of the United States in Article II served only to confuse the Office of President of the United States with the unstated “Office of the President of the United States of America.”
I had also written that the Office of President has remained vacant since George Washington failed to meet the Constitution’s qualifications for that Office. Washington’s failure to meet the qualifications for that office did not prevent his election to the Office of President of the United States of America, nor will it prevent the election of any future President of the United States of America.
The original Article II Electors elected the person who becomes President of the United States of America on the day when a majority of the electoral votes for that person are counted in a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Neither the Twelfth Amendment nor the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution have changed the date a person becomes President of the United States of America. The name of the office identified in the first sentence in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution can be quickly ascertained to be the Office of the President of the United States of America in the second sentence. That President becomes President of United States when he takes the oath of Office of President of the United States.
What is the significance of this revision? The consolidation of the two offices facilitated my simplification of the first two articles of the Constitution. Article I establishes a federal government for the federal States of the United States consisting of “the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.” The rest of this federal government will consist of an “executive,” the President of the United States and a “judiciary,” the Chief Justice. The federal government created will be one of the United States of America, the Confederacy not one of the people.
Article I is traditionally called the legislative branch article because it vests “All legislative Powers herein granted” to “a Congress of the United States.” The first sentence of a true originalist Article I identifies the “legislative Powers” as emanating from the ratifying States and the recipient of those Powers “a Congress,” a Congress of two-years duration. A Congress is limited to a duration of two years even though the component part, the Senate, is a perennial institution.
Article II is, with the exception of the oath of office for the Article I President of the United States, concerned with an originalist President vested with “The executive Power” of the United States of America.
The confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice adds another Constitution Originalist to the United States Supreme Court. Originalism is a way of interpreting the meaning of the Constitution as of the time of its establishment. The originalist jurist is motivated to determine the meaning of the passages in the Constitution which he believes can only be changed by the amending procedures set out in Article V of the Constitution of September 17, 1787. Unfortunately, today’s originalists do not go back far enough. The true origins of the Constitution of September 17, 1787 begin with the Articles of Confederation of November 15, 1777 and Northwest Ordinance of July 13, 1787. Only the Organic Laws Institute and the Basic Course in Law and Government reach back to the real origins of the Constitution.
Now until the end of the year, 2018, every new Basic Course student will be able to nominate another person who will be enrolled in the Basic Course in Law and Government free of tuition. To take advantage of this two-for-one tuition, the student making payment must contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
after making payment for the first course in order to designate the second student.
Dr. Eduardo M. Rivera