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member of the upper chamber is very much larger than that electing a member to the lower house. The number of members in the upper chamber is as a result uniformly less than the number in the lower, and, theoretically at least, the members are men of superior prominence and ability. The makers of the constitution of the United States hit upon the happy device of utilizing the upper house to equalize the rights of the component commonwealths of the union in order to offset the great differences in representation in the lower house, due to the differences of population in the various commonwealths. Hence they provided that each commonwealth should be represented by two members in the upper house. Switzerland copied the system of the United States, allotting two members of the upper house to each canton and one to each one-half canton. In France the members of the upper house are elected from départements, of which there are ninety, but the number elected from each département varies from two up to ten.
Variations in the Qualifications. Another general method of differentiating between the character of the two houses is to require different qualifications for membership in the upper house from those required for membership in the lower. In all states it is required that members of each house shall be citizens, for it is obvious that aliens, owing no allegiance to the state, should have no voice in the determination of the policy of government. In most states the age limit for membership in the legislative houses is placed above the legal age limit for the exercise of citizenship, and furthermore the age limit for membership in the upper house is higher than that in the lower house. For example, in Italy and Belgium the age limit for membership in the upper house is forty years, for membership in the lower house is thirty years; the United States, in common with many other states, sets the age limit for the upper house at thirty and for the lower house at twenty-five. In this regard it may be stated as a general rule that eligibility for election to membership in the upper house requires
an age greater than eligibility for election to membership in the lower house.
Variations Due to Different Tenure of Office in the Two Houses.-Many states have made another marked difference between the two chambers by making the tenure of office longer in the upper than in the lower. Combined with this longer tenure in the upper house is a device whereby a proportion of that chamber shall be renewed at stated periods. Thus in the United States members of the lower chamber are elected for two-year terms, but members of the upper house for six-year terms, with arrangements for the renewal of one third of the latter chamber every two years. In France members of the lower house are elected for four years, but those of the upper house for nine years, with renewal of one third every three years. The purpose of this difference is to constitute an upper house of a more stable and permanent character. A certain continuity of policy is assured which would be inconceivable if the composition of both houses were subject to complete change at similar intervals.
Summary of Methods by Which Upper House Is Made Different from Lower. By the adoption of one or more of the above practices, then, states have tried to insure that the upper elective chambers shall not be a mere duplicate of the lower elective chambers. In general, the attempt has been made to create an upper chamber which shall be composed of persons with a broader knowledge of national needs because they are not responsible to so local a body of voters, of persons with superior intelligence and prudence for the weighty deliberations on state affairs, inasmuch as age is universally conceded to ripen and mature the powers of the understanding, and of persons who shall be able to conceive and carry through a continuous policy because their tenure of office is longer.
Advantages of Bicameral Legislature. And now, briefly, what are the advantages obtained by having two legislative houses rather than one? The first and fundamental advantage lies in the safeguard this second (upper) house provides
against hasty, ill-considered legislation. The lower chamber, directly responsible to the people and dependent at frequent intervals upon the people for office, has often proved itself unduly influenced by a transient popular clamor for a measure which mature deliberation would show to be unwise. Such a measure, when passed by the lower house, is not so lightly passed by the upper. In the latter, men with a broader conception of statesmanship, with a tenure of office which may outlast the popular whim, and with an accumulated experience in political affairs, subject the proposed measure to a most careful scrutiny, amend it, or perhaps reject it entirely. Furthermore, it is conceivable that a single house endowed with the enormous power of the legislative function might become tyrannical. Against such a possibility the existence of a second chamber is a safeguard. The upper house from this point of view becomes a guarantee of the liberty and security of the people at large. A third advantage of the existence of a second (upper) chamber lies in the opportunity it gives for the fair representation of elements in the state which in a single popularly elected house might not be represented. Thus in the United States and Switzerland the upper house is used, as has been said, to give an equal representation to the several commonwealths which compose the Union. If our Congress were a single body similar in composition to the present lower house, one thickly populated commonwealth like New York would have an unfair advantage in the legislative over a thinly populated commonwealth like New Mexico. Some states of the world have made provision for the representation of landed or moneyed interests in the upper house by restricting the suffrage for members of such house to persons of high property qualifications. Such a device, however, has tended to create on the part of the nation at large a distrust of the motives of a house so constituted.
Disadvantages of Bicameral Legislature. The system of a bicameral legislature is, of course, not wholly without disadvantages. There has at times been strong suspicion that a lower house has passed legislation with the deliberate intention of embarrassing the upper house or of having the upper house reject it. Such cases may occur where the majority in the two houses is of different political complexion, or where the members of the lower house yield to what they realize is a passing popular clamor in order that they personally may be reëlected to their seats. Furthermore, the attainment of legislation is relatively slow. The debates are many times reproduced in the upper house from the lower and no new arguments advanced. Again, the upper houses have proved so conservative that in many cases they have lost the confidence of the people at large.
II. POWERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE CHAMBERS Equal Powers of the Two Houses.-In general, the two chambers are endowed under the constitution of the several states with equal powers.
Either chamber may introduce legislative measures, either chamber may amend or reject such legislation when introduced, and the consent of both chambers is necessary for the passage of any bill whatever. The powers of the upper chamber in the new German republic are, however, much restricted. In the case of amendments to the constitution, it may by vote of disapproval, followed by a request within two weeks for a referendum, force an amendment to be referred to the people for decision. In case of ordinary legislation, it may coöperate with the cabinet in initiating legislation, and may submit legislative proposals of its own to the cabinet which the cabinet is required to forward with or without its approval to the Reichstag. After a bill has been passed by the Reichstag, the upper house by a vote of rejection may force the Reichstag to reconsider; but if the Reichstag on reconsideration passes the bill by a two-thirds majority, it becomes law subject to the promulgation of the President. In case of such disagreement between the two houses, the President in his discretion may submit the bill to the people for decision by referendum.
Exception: Money Bills.—The constitutions of the various states commonly provide that, in the case of any appropriation bill—_"money bill," as it is commonly called, a bill having to do with the raising or appropriation of money—the powers of the upper chamber shall be more limited than those of the lower. Usually provision is made that money bills may be introduced only by the lower house, and that the action of the upper house shall be more or less perfunctory. In England, until very recently, it was commonly supposed that the upper house had no possible alternative to passing a money bill, but in 1910 the House of Lords precipitated a memorable conflict by rejecting the budget submitted to it from the lower house, as a result of which conflict the House of Lords was definitely shorn of its power of any finality of action on any bill. In some states, as France and the Netherlands, although the upper chamber may not originate or amend money bills, it has the right to reject them, thus throwing the bills back into the lower house for further discussion. In the United States, although the upper house may not originate money bills, it has the right to amend such bills; and it uses this right to such an extent that its powers in this regard are practically equal to those of the lower house.
Although the imitation of the English system was responsible in the first place for the greater power of the lower house in money legislation, the reasonableness of the arrangement is responsible for its retention in modern times. The house which is most directly elected by and subject to the people should control the raising and spending of that money which is procured only by the taxation of the people. In the economic life of a state, the question of national finance is most important; it is reasonable that this question, which is of personal interest to every citizen, should be under the control of his direct representative in the national legislature.
Relative Position of the Two Houses in Powers.—The power over money bills and the direct popular election of members have resulted in giving the lower house of the legis