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title:“Debate in the House of Representatives”
date written:1789-5-19

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:14 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Jan. 21, 2022, 7:58 p.m. UTC

"Debate in the House of Representatives." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.

Debate in the House of Representatives (May 19, 1789)

May 19, 1789.
Mr. Smith said, he had doubts whether the officer could be removed by the President. He apprehended he could only be removed by an impeachment before the Senate, and that, being once in office, he must remain there until convicted upon impeachment. . . .
Mr. Madison did not concur with the gentleman in his interpretation of the constitution. What, said he, would be the consequence of such construction? It would in effect establish every officer of the Government on the firm tenure of good behaviour; not the heads of departments only, but all the inferior officers of those departments, would hold their offices during good behavior, and that to be judged of by one branch of the Legislature only on the impeachment of the other. . . .
It is very possible that an officer who may not incur the displeasure of the President, may be guilty of actions that ought to forfeit his place. The power of this House may reach him by the means of an impeachment, and he may be removed even against the will of the President; so that the declaration in the constitution, was intended as a supplemental security for the good behavior of the public officers. . . .
But why, it may be asked, was the Senate joined with the President in appointing to office, if they have no responsibility? I answer, merely for the sake of advising, being supposed, from their nature, better acquainted with the characters of the candidates than an individual;

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