Justice Stevens, delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Constitution sets forth qualifications for membership in the Congress of the United States. Article I, § 2, cl. 2, which applies to the House of Representatives, provides:
Article I, § 3, cl. 3, which applies to the Senate, similarly provides:
Today's cases present a challenge to an amendment to the Arkansas State Constitution that prohibits the name of an otherwise-eligible candidate for Congress from appearing on the general election ballot if that candidate has already served three terms in the House of Representatives or two terms in the Senate. The Arkansas Supreme Court held that the amendment violates the Federal Constitution. We agree with that holding. Such a state-imposed restriction is contrary to the "fundamental principle of our representative democracy," embodied in the Constitution, that "the people should choose whom they please to govern them." Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 547 (1969) (internal quotation marks omitted). Allowing individual States to adopt their own qualifications for congressional service would be inconsistent with the Framers' vision of a uniform National Legislature representing the people of the United States. If the qualifications set forth in the text of the Constitution are to be changed, that text must be amended.
At the general election on November 3, 1992, the voters of Arkansas adopted Amendment 73 to their State Constitution. Proposed as a "Term Limitation Amendment," its preamble stated:
The limitations in Amendment 73 apply to three categories of elected officials. Section 1 provides that no elected official in the executive branch of the state government may serve more than two 4-year terms. Section 2 applies to the legislative branch of the state government; it provides that no member of the Arkansas House of Representatives may serve more than three 2-year terms and no member of the Arkansas Senate may serve more than two 4-year terms. Section 3, the provision at issue in these cases, applies to the Arkansas Congressional Delegation. It provides:
Amendment 73 states that it is self-executing and shall apply to all persons seeking election after January 1, 1993.
On November 13, 1992, respondent Bobbie Hill, on behalf of herself, similarly situated Arkansas "citizens, residents,
On cross-motions for summary judgment, the Circuit Court held that § 3 of Amendment 73 violated Article I of the Federal Constitution.
With respect to that holding, in a 5-to-2 decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed. U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Hill, 316 Ark. 251, 872 S.W.2d 349, 351 (1994). Writing for a plurality of three justices, Justice Robert L. Brown concluded that the congressional restrictions in Amendment 73 are unconstitutional because the States have no authority "to change, add to, or diminish" the requirements for congressional service enumerated in the Qualifications Clauses. Id. , at 265, 872 S. W. 2d, at 356. He noted:
Justice Brown's plurality opinion also rejected the argument that Amendment 73 is "merely a ballot access amendment," concluding that "[t]he intent and the effect of Amendment 73 are to disqualify congressional incumbents from further service." Id. , at 265-266, 872 S. W. 2d, at 356-357. Justice Brown considered the possibilities that an excluded candidate might run for Congress as a write-in candidate or be appointed to fill a vacancy to be "glimmers of opportunity. . . [that] are faint indeed—so faint in our judgment that they cannot salvage Amendment 73 from constitutional attack." Id. , at 266, 872 S. W. 2d, at 357. In separate opinions, Justice Dudley and Justice Gerald P. Brown agreed that Amendment 73 violates the Federal Constitution.
Two justices dissented from the federal constitutional holding. Justice Hays started from "the premise that all political authority resides in the people, limited only by those provisions of the federal or state constitutions specifically to the contrary." Id., at 281, 872 S. W. 2d, at 367. Because his examination of the text and history of the Qualifications Clauses convinced him that the Constitution contains no express or implicit restriction on the States' ability to impose additional qualifications on candidates for Congress, Justice Hays concluded that § 3 is constitutional. Special Chief Justice Cracraft, drawing a distinction between a measure that "impose[s] an absolute bar on incumbent succession" and a measure that "merely makes it more difficult for an incumbent to be elected," id. , at 284, 872 S. W. 2d, at 368, concluded that Amendment 73 does not even implicate the Qualifications Clauses, and instead is merely a permissible ballot access restriction.
The State of Arkansas, by its Attorney General, and the intervenors petitioned for writs of certiorari. Because of the importance of the issues, we granted both petitions and
As the opinions of the Arkansas Supreme Court suggest, the constitutionality of Amendment 73 depends critically on the resolution of two distinct issues. The first is whether the Constitution forbids States to add to or alter the qualifications specifically enumerated in the Constitution. The second is, if the Constitution does so forbid, whether the fact that Amendment 73 is formulated as a ballot access restriction rather than as an outright disqualification is of constitutional significance. Our resolution of these issues draws upon our prior resolution of a related but distinct issue: whether Congress has the power to add to or alter the qualifications of its Members.
Twenty-six years ago, in Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486 (1969), we reviewed the history and text of the Qualifications Clauses
The Issue in Powell
In November 1966, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., was elected from a District in New York to serve in the United States House of Representatives for the 90th Congress. Allegations that he had engaged in serious misconduct while serving as a committee chairman during the 89th Congress led to the appointment of a Select Committee to determine his eligibility to take his seat. That committee found that Powell met the age, citizenship, and residency requirements set forth in Art. I, § 2, cl. 2. The committee also found, however, that Powell had wrongfully diverted House funds for the use of others and himself and had made false reports on expenditures of foreign currency. Based on those findings, the House after debate adopted House Resolution 278, excluding
Powell and several voters of the district from which he had been elected filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that the House Resolution was invalid because Art. I, § 2, cl. 2, sets forth the exclusive qualifications for House membership. We ultimately accepted that contention, concluding that the House of Representatives has no "authority to exclude
Powell's Reliance on History
We started our analysis in Powell by examining the British experience with qualifications for membership in Parliament, focusing in particular on the experience of John Wilkes. While serving as a member of Parliament, Wilkes had published an attack on a peace treaty with France. This
Against this historical background, we viewed the Convention debates as manifesting the Framers' intent that the qualifications in the Constitution be fixed and exclusive. We found particularly revealing the debate concerning a proposal made by the Committee of Detail that would have given Congress the power to add property qualifications. James Madison argued that such a power would vest "`an improper & dangerous power in the Legislature,' " by which the Legislature "`can by degrees subvert the Constitution.' " 395 U. S., at 533-534, quoting 2 Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, pp. 249-250 (M. Farrand ed. 1911) (hereinafter Farrand).
The Framers further revealed their concerns about congressional abuse of power when Gouverneur Morris suggested modifying the proposal of the Committee of Detail to grant Congress unfettered power to add qualifications. We noted that Hugh Williamson "expressed concern that if a majority of the legislature should happen to be `composed of any particular description of men, of lawyers for example,. . . the future elections might be secured to their own body.' " Id. , at 535, quoting 2 Farrand 250. We noted, too, that Madison emphasized the British Parliament's attempts to regulate qualifications, and that he observed: "`[T]he abuse they had made of it was a lesson worthy of our attention.' " 395 U. S., at 535, quoting 2 Farrand 250. We found significant that the Convention rejected both Morris' modification and the Committee's proposal.
We also recognized in Powell that the post-Convention ratification debates confirmed that the Framers understood the qualifications in the Constitution to be fixed and unalterable by Congress. For example, we noted that in response to the antifederalist charge that the new Constitution favored the wealthy and well born, Alexander Hamilton wrote:
We thus attached special significance to "Hamilton's express reliance on the immutability of the qualifications set forth in the Constitution." 395 U. S., at 540. Moreover, we reviewed the debates at the state conventions and found that they "also demonstrate the Framers' understanding that the qualifications for members of Congress had been fixed in the Constitution." Ibid.; see, e. g., id. , at 541, citing 3 Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution 8 (J. Elliot ed. 1863) (hereinafter Elliot's Debates) (Wilson Carey Nicholas, Virginia).
The exercise by Congress of its power to judge the qualifications of its Members further confirmed this understanding. We concluded that, during the first 100 years of its existence, "Congress strictly limited its power to judge the qualifications of its members to those enumerated in the Constitution." 395 U. S., at 542.
As this elaborate summary reveals, our historical analysis in Powell was both detailed and persuasive. We thus conclude now, as we did in Powell, that history shows that, with
Powell's Reliance on Democratic Principles
In Powell, of course, we did not rely solely on an analysis of the historical evidence, but instead complemented that analysis with "an examination of the basic principles of our democratic system." Id. , at 548. We noted that allowing Congress to impose additional qualifications would violate that "fundamental principle of our representative democracy. . . `that the people should choose whom they please to govern them.' " Id. , at 547, quoting 2 Elliot's Debates 257 (A. Hamilton, New York).
Our opinion made clear that this broad principle incorporated at least two fundamental ideas.
Second, we recognized the critical postulate that sovereignty is vested in the people, and that sovereignty confers on the people the right to choose freely their representatives to the National Government. For example, we noted that "Robert Livingston . . . endorsed this same fundamental principle: `The people are the best judges who ought to represent them. To dictate and control them, to tell them whom they shall not elect, is to abridge their natural
Powell thus establishes two important propositions: first, that the "relevant historical materials" compel the conclusion that, at least with respect to qualifications imposed by Congress, the Framers intended the qualifications listed in the Constitution to be exclusive; and second, that that conclusion is equally compelled by an understanding of the "fundamental principle of our representative democracy . . . `that the people should choose whom they please to govern them.' " 395 U. S., at 547.
Petitioners argue somewhat half-heartedly that the narrow holding in Powell, which involved the power of the House to exclude a Member pursuant to Art. I, § 5, does not control the more general question whether Congress has the
Our reaffirmation of Powell does not necessarily resolve the specific questions presented in these cases. For petitioners argue that whatever the constitutionality of additional qualifications for membership imposed by Congress, the historical and textual materials discussed in Powell do not support the conclusion that the Constitution prohibits additional qualifications imposed by States. In the absence of such a constitutional prohibition, petitioners argue, the Tenth Amendment and the principle of reserved powers require that States be allowed to add such qualifications.
Before addressing these arguments, we find it appropriate to take note of the striking unanimity among the courts that have considered the issue. None of the overwhelming array of briefs submitted by the parties and amici has called to our attention even a single case in which a state court or federal court has approved of a State's addition of qualifications for a Member of Congress. To the contrary, an impressive number of courts have determined that States lack the authority to add qualifications. See, e. g., Chandler v. Howell, 104 Wn. 99, 175 P. 569 (1918); Eckwall v. Stadelman, 146 Or. 439, 446, 30 P.2d 1037, 1040 (1934); Stockton v. McFarland, 56 Ariz. 138, 144, 106 P.2d 328, 330 (1940); State ex rel. Johnson v. Crane, 65 Wyo. 189, 197 P.2d 864 (1948); Dillon v. Fiorina, 340 F.Supp. 729, 731 (N. M. 1972); Stack v. Adams, 315 F.Supp. 1295, 1297-1298 (ND Fla. 1970); Buckingham v. State, 42 Del. 405, 35 A.2d 903, 905 (1944); Stumpf v. Lau, 108 Nev. 826, 830, 839 P.2d 120, 123 (1992); Danielson v. Fitzsimmons, 232 Minn. 149, 151, 44 N.W.2d 484, 486 (1950); In re Opinion of Judges, 79 S. D. 585, 587,
Petitioners argue that the Constitution contains no express prohibition against state-added qualifications, and that Amendment 73 is therefore an appropriate exercise of a State's reserved power to place additional restrictions on the choices that its own voters may make. We disagree for two independent reasons. First, we conclude that the power to add qualifications is not within the "original powers" of the States, and thus is not reserved to the States by the Tenth Amendment. Second, even if States possessed some original power in this area, we conclude that the Framers intended
The "plan of the convention" as illuminated by the historical materials, our opinions, and the text of the Tenth Amendment draws a basic distinction between the powers of the newly created Federal Government and the powers retained by the pre-existing sovereign States. As Chief Justice Marshall explained, "it was neither necessary nor proper to define the powers retained by the States. These powers proceed, not from the people of America, but from the people of the several States; and remain, after the adoption of the constitution, what they were before, except so far as they may be abridged by that instrument." Sturges v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. 122, 193 (1819).
This classic statement by the Chief Justice endorsed Hamilton's reasoning in The Federalist No. 32 that the plan of the Constitutional Convention did not contemplate "[a]n entire consolidation of the States into one complete national sovereignty," but only a partial consolidation in which "the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, exclusively delegated to the United States." The Federalist No. 32, at 198. The text of the Tenth Amendment unambiguously confirms this principle:
As we have frequently noted, "[t]he States unquestionably do retain a significant measure of sovereign authority. They do so, however, only to the extent that the Constitution has not divested them of their original powers and transferred those powers to the Federal Government." Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528, 549 (1985) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted) (emphasis
Contrary to petitioners' assertions, the power to add qualifications is not part of the original powers of sovereignty that the Tenth Amendment reserved to the States. Petitioners' Tenth Amendment argument misconceives the nature of the right at issue because that Amendment could only "reserve" that which existed before. As Justice Story recognized, "the states can exercise no powers whatsoever, which exclusively spring out of the existence of the national government, which the constitution does not delegate to them. . . . No state can say, that it has reserved, what it never possessed." 1 Story § 627.
Justice Story's position thus echoes that of Chief Justice Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316 (1819). In McCulloch, the Court rejected the argument that the Constitution's silence on the subject of state power to tax corporations chartered by Congress implies that the States have "reserved" power to tax such federal instrumentalities. As Chief Justice Marshall pointed out, an "original right to tax" such federal entities "never existed, and the question whether it has been surrendered, cannot arise." Id. , at 430. See also Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wall. 35, 46 (1868). In language that presaged Justice Story's argument, Chief Justice Marshall concluded: "This opinion does not deprive the States of any resources which they originally possessed." 4 Wheat., at 436.
We believe that the Constitution reflects the Framers' general agreement with the approach later articulated by Justice Story. For example, Art. I, § 5, cl. 1, provides: "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members." The text of the Constitution thus gives the representatives of all the people the final say in judging the qualifications of the representatives of any one State. For this reason, the dissent falters when it states that "the people of Georgia have no say over whom the people of Massachusetts select to represent them in Congress." Post, at 859.
Two other sections of the Constitution further support our view of the Framers' vision. First, consistent with Story's view, the Constitution provides that the salaries of representatives should "be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States," Art. I, § 6, rather than by individual States. The salary provisions reflect the view that representatives owe their allegiance to the people, and not to the States. Second, the provisions governing elections reveal the Framers' understanding that powers over the election of federal officers had to be delegated to, rather than reserved by, the States. It is surely no coincidence that the context of federal elections provides one of the few areas in which the Constitution expressly requires action by the States, namely that "[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be
This conclusion is consistent with our previous recognition that, in certain limited contexts, the power to regulate the incidents of the federal system is not a reserved power of the States, but rather is delegated by the Constitution. Thus, we have noted that "[w]hile, in a loose sense, the right to vote for representatives in Congress is sometimes spoken of as a right derived from the states, . . . this statement is true only in the sense that the states are authorized by the Constitution, to legislate on the subject as provided by § 2 of Art. I." United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 315 (1941). Cf. Hawke v. Smith, No. 1, 253 U.S. 221, 230 (1920) ("[T]he power to ratify a proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution has its source in the Federal Constitution. The act of ratification by the State derives its authority from the Federal Constitution to which the State and its people have alike assented").
In short, as the Framers recognized, electing representatives to the National Legislature was a new right, arising from the Constitution itself. The Tenth Amendment thus provides no basis for concluding that the States possess reserved power to add qualifications to those that are fixed in the Constitution. Instead, any state power to set the qualifications for membership in Congress must derive not from the reserved powers of state sovereignty, but rather from the delegated powers of national sovereignty. In the absence of any constitutional delegation to the States of power to add qualifications to those enumerated in the Constitution, such a power does not exist.
Even if we believed that States possessed as part of their original powers some control over congressional qualifications, the text and structure of the Constitution, the relevant historical materials, and, most importantly, the "basic principles of our democratic system" all demonstrate that the Qualifications Clauses were intended to preclude the States from exercising any such power and to fix as exclusive the qualifications in the Constitution.
Much of the historical analysis was undertaken by the Court in Powell. See supra, at 789-793. There is, however, additional historical evidence that pertains directly to the power of the States. That evidence, though perhaps not as extensive as that reviewed in Powell, leads unavoidably to the conclusion that the States lack the power to add qualifications.
The Convention and Ratification Debates
The available affirmative evidence indicates the Framers' intent that States have no role in the setting of qualifications. In Federalist Paper No. 52, dealing with the House of Representatives, Madison addressed the "qualifications of the electors and the elected." The Federalist No. 52, at 325. Madison first noted the difficulty in achieving uniformity in the qualifications for electors, which resulted in the Framers' decision to require only that the qualifications for federal electors be the same as those for state electors. Madison argued that such a decision "must be satisfactory to every State, because it is comfortable to the standard already established, or which may be established, by the State itself." Id. , at 326. Madison then explicitly contrasted the state control over the qualifications of electors with the lack of state control over the qualifications of the elected:
The provisions in the Constitution governing federal elections confirm the Framers' intent that States lack power to add qualifications. The Framers feared that the diverse interests of the States would undermine the National Legislature, and thus they adopted provisions intended to minimize the possibility of state interference with federal elections. For example, to prevent discrimination against federal electors, the Framers required in Art. I, § 2, cl. 1, that the qualifications for federal electors be the same as those for state electors. As Madison noted, allowing States to differentiate between the qualifications for state and federal electors "would have rendered too dependent on the State governments that branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone." The Federalist No. 52, at 326. Similarly, in Art. I, § 4, cl. 1, though giving the States the freedom to regulate the "Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections," the Framers created a safeguard against state abuse by giving Congress the power to "by Law make or alter such Regulations." The Convention debates make clear that the Framers' overriding concern was the potential for States' abuse of the power to set the
The Framers' discussion of the salary of representatives reveals similar concerns. When the issue was first raised, Madison argued that congressional compensation should be fixed in the Constitution, rather than left to state legislatures, because otherwise "it would create an improper dependence." 1 Farrand 216. George Mason agreed, noting
When the issue was later reopened, Nathaniel Gorham stated that he "wished not to refer the matter to the State Legislatures who were always paring down salaries in such a manner as to keep out of offices men most capable of executing the functions of them." Id. , at 372. Edmund Randolph agreed that "[i]f the States were to pay the members of the Nat[ional] Legislature, a dependence would be created that would vitiate the whole System." Ibid. Rufus King "urged the danger of creating a dependence on the States," ibid. , and Hamilton noted that "[t]hose who pay are the masters of those who are paid," id. , at 373. The Convention ultimately agreed to vest in Congress the power to set its own compensation. See Art. I, § 6.
In light of the Framers' evident concern that States would try to undermine the National Government, they could not have intended States to have the power to set qualifications. Indeed, one of the more anomalous consequences of petitioners' argument is that it accepts federal supremacy over the procedural aspects of determining the times, places, and manner of elections while allowing the States carte blanche with respect to the substantive qualifications for membership in Congress.
The dissent nevertheless contends that the Framers' distrust of the States with respect to elections does not preclude the people of the States from adopting eligibility requirements to help narrow their own choices. See post, at 888-889. As the dissent concedes, post, at 893, however, the Framers were unquestionably concerned that the States would simply not hold elections for federal officers, and therefore the Framers gave Congress the power to "make
We find further evidence of the Framers' intent in Art. I, § 5, cl. 1, which provides: "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members." That Art. I, § 5, vests a federal tribunal with ultimate authority to judge a Member's qualifications is fully consistent with the understanding that those qualifications are fixed in the Federal Constitution, but not with the understanding that they can be altered by the States. If the States had the right to prescribe additional qualifications—
We also find compelling the complete absence in the ratification debates of any assertion that States had the power to add qualifications. In those debates, the question whether to require term limits, or "rotation," was a major source of controversy. The draft of the Constitution that was submitted for ratification contained no provision for rotation.
The Federalists' responses to those criticisms and proposals addressed the merits of the issue, arguing that rotation was incompatible with the people's right to choose. As we noted above, Robert Livingston argued:
Similarly, Hamilton argued that the representatives' need for reelection rather than mandatory rotation was the more effective way to keep representatives responsive to the people, because "[w]hen a man knows he must quit his station, let his merit be what it may, he will turn his attention chiefly to his own emolument." Id. , at 320.
Regardless of which side has the better of the debate over rotation, it is most striking that nowhere in the extensive ratification debates have we found any statement by either a proponent or an opponent of rotation that the draft constitution would permit States to require rotation for the representatives of their own citizens. If the participants in the debate had believed that the States retained the authority to impose term limits, it is inconceivable that the Federalists would not have made this obvious response to the arguments of the pro-rotation forces. The absence in an otherwise freewheeling debate of any suggestion that States had the power to impose additional qualifications unquestionably reflects the Framers' common understanding that States lacked that power.
In short, if it had been assumed that States could add additional qualifications, that assumption would have provided the basis for a powerful rebuttal to the arguments being advanced. The failure of intelligent and experienced advocates to utilize this argument must reflect a general agreement
Congress' subsequent experience with state-imposed qualifications provides further evidence of the general consensus on the lack of state power in this area. In Powell, we examined that experience and noted that during the first 100 years of its existence, "Congress strictly limited its power to judge the qualifications of its members to those enumerated in the Constitution." 395 U. S., at 542. Congress first confronted the issue in 1807 when it faced a challenge to the qualifications of William McCreery, a Representative from Maryland who allegedly did not satisfy a residency requirement imposed by that State. In recommending that McCreery be seated, the Report of the House Committee on Elections noted:
The Chairman of the House Committee on Elections elaborated during debate:
As we noted in Powell, the congressional debate over the committee's recommendation tended to focus on the "narrow issue of the power of the States to add to the standing qualifications set forth in the Constitution," 395 U. S., at 543. The whole House, however, did not vote on the committee's Report, and instead voted only on a simple resolution: "Resolved, That William McCreery is entitled to his seat in this House." 17 Annals of Cong. 1238 (1807). That resolution passed by a vote of 89 to 18. Ibid.
Though the House Debate may be inconclusive, commentators at the time apparently viewed the seating of McCreery as confirmation of the States' lack of power to add qualifications. For example, in a letter to Joseph Cabell, Thomas Jefferson noted the argument that "to add new qualifications to those of the Constitution would be as much an alteration as to detract from them"; he then added: "And so I think the House of Representatives of Congress decided in some case; I believe that of a member from Baltimore." Letter of Jan. 31, 1814, to Joseph C. Cabell, in 14 Writings of Thomas Jefferson 82 (A. Lipscomb ed. 1904).
Similarly, for over 150 years prior to Powell, commentators viewed the seating of McCreery as an expression of the view of the House that States could not add to the qualifications established in the Constitution. Thus, for example, referring to the McCreery debates, one commentator noted, "By the decision in this case, [and that in another contested election], it seems to have been settled that the States have not a right to require qualifications from members, different
The Senate experience with state-imposed qualifications further supports our conclusions. In 1887, for example, the Senate seated Charles Faulkner of West Virginia, despite the fact that a provision of the West Virginia Constitution purported to render him ineligible to serve. The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections unanimously concluded that "no State can prescribe any qualification to the office of United States Senator in addition to those declared in the Constitution of the United States." S. Rep. No. 1, 50th Cong., 1st Sess., 4 (1887). The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration reached the same conclusion in 1964 when faced with a challenge to Pierre Salinger, who had
We recognize, as we did in Powell, that "congressional practice has been erratic"
Our conclusion that States lack the power to impose qualifications vindicates the same "fundamental principle of our representative democracy" that we recognized in Powell, namely, that "the people should choose whom they please to govern them." Id. , at 547 (internal quotation marks omitted).
As we noted earlier, the Powell Court recognized that an egalitarian ideal—that election to the National Legislature should be open to all people of merit—provided a critical foundation for the constitutional structure. This egalitarian theme echoes throughout the constitutional debates. In The Federalist No. 57, for example, Madison wrote:
Similarly, hoping to persuade voters in New York that the Constitution should be ratified, John Stevens, Jr., wrote:
Similarly, we believe that state-imposed qualifications, as much as congressionally imposed qualifications, would undermine the second critical idea recognized in Powell: that an aspect of sovereignty is the right of the people to vote for whom they wish. Again, the source of the qualification is of little moment in assessing the qualification's restrictive impact.
Finally, state-imposed restrictions, unlike the congressionally imposed restrictions at issue in Powell, violate a third idea central to this basic principle: that the right to choose
Consistent with these views, the constitutional structure provides for a uniform salary to be paid from the national treasury, allows the States but a limited role in federal elections, and maintains strict checks on state interference with the federal election process. The Constitution also provides that the qualifications of the representatives of each State will be judged by the representatives of the entire Nation. The Constitution thus creates a uniform national body representing the interests of a single people.
Permitting individual States to formulate diverse qualifications for their representatives would result in a patchwork of state qualifications, undermining the uniformity and the national character that the Framers envisioned and sought to ensure. Cf. McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat., at 428— 429 ("Those means are not given by the people of a particular State, not given by the constituents of the legislature, . . . but by the people of all the States. They are given by all, for the benefit of all—and upon theory, should be subjected to that government only which belongs to all"). Such a patchwork would also sever the direct link that the Framers found so critical between the National Government and the people of the United States.
Petitioners attempt to overcome this formidable array of evidence against the States' power to impose qualifications by arguing that the practice of the States immediately after the adoption of the Constitution demonstrates their understanding that they possessed such power. One may properly question the extent to which the States' own practice is a reliable indicator of the contours of restrictions that the Constitution imposed on States, especially when no court has ever upheld a state-imposed qualification of any sort. See supra, at 798-799. But petitioners' argument is unpersuasive even on its own terms. At the time of the Convention, "[a]lmost all the State Constitutions required members of their Legislatures to possess considerable property." See Warren 416-417.
The contemporaneous state practice with respect to term limits is similar. At the time of the Convention, States widely supported term limits in at least some circumstances. The Articles of Confederation contained a provision for term limits.
Petitioners argue that, even if States may not add qualifications, Amendment 73 is constitutional because it is not such a qualification, and because Amendment 73 is a permissible exercise of state power to regulate the "Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections." We reject these contentions.
Unlike §§ 1 and 2 of Amendment 73, which create absolute bars to service for long-term incumbents running for state office, § 3 merely provides that certain Senators and Representatives shall not be certified as candidates and shall not have their names appear on the ballot. They may run as write-in candidates and, if elected, they may serve. Petitioners contend that only a legal bar to service creates an impermissible qualification, and that Amendment 73 is therefore consistent with the Constitution.
Petitioners support their restrictive definition of qualifications with language from Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724 (1974), in which we faced a constitutional challenge to provisions of the California Elections Code that regulated the procedures by which both independent candidates and candidates affiliated with qualified political parties could obtain ballot position in general elections. The code required candidates affiliated with a qualified party to win a primary election, and required independents to make timely filing of nomination papers signed by at least 5% of the entire vote cast in the last general election. The code also denied ballot position to independents who had voted in the most recent primary election or who had registered their affiliation with a qualified party during the previous year.
In Storer, we rejected the argument that the challenged procedures created additional qualifications as "wholly without merit." Id. , at 746, n. 16. We noted that petitioners "would not have been disqualified had they been nominated at a party primary or by an adequately supported independent petition and then elected at the general election." Ibid.
We need not decide whether petitioners' narrow understanding of qualifications is correct because, even if it is, Amendment 73 may not stand. As we have often noted, "`[c]onstitutional rights would be of little value if they could be . . . indirectly denied.' " Harman v. Forssenius, 380 U.S. 528, 540 (1965), quoting Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649, 664 (1944). The Constitution "nullifies sophisticated as well as simple-minded modes" of infringing on constitutional protections. Lane v. Wilson, 307 U.S. 268, 275 (1939); Harman v. Forssenius, 380 U. S., at 540-541.
In our view, Amendment 73 is an indirect attempt to accomplish what the Constitution prohibits Arkansas from accomplishing directly. As the plurality opinion of the Arkansas Supreme Court recognized, Amendment 73 is an "effort to dress eligibility to stand for Congress in ballot access clothing," because the "intent and the effect of Amendment 73 are to disqualify congressional incumbents from further service." 316 Ark., at 266, 872 S. W. 2d, at 357.
Petitioners do, however, contest the Arkansas Supreme Court's conclusion that the amendment has the same practical effect as an absolute bar. They argue that the possibility of a write-in campaign creates a real possibility for victory, especially for an entrenched incumbent. One may reasonably question the merits of that contention.
A necessary consequence of petitioners' argument is that Congress itself would have the power to "make or alter" a measure such as Amendment 73. Art. I, § 4, cl. 1. See Smiley v. Holm, 285 U.S. 355, 366-367 (1932) ("[T]he Congress may supplement these state regulations or may substitute its own"). That the Framers would have approved of such a result is unfathomable. As our decision in Powell and our discussion above make clear, the Framers were particularly concerned that a grant to Congress of the authority to set its own qualifications would lead inevitably to congressional self-aggrandizement and the upsetting of the delicate constitutional balance. See supra, at 790-791, and n. 10, supra. Petitioners would have us believe, however, that even as the Framers carefully circumscribed congressional power to set qualifications, they intended to allow Congress to achieve the same result by simply formulating the regulation as a ballot access restriction under the Elections Clause. We refuse to adopt an interpretation of the Elections Clause that would so cavalierly disregard what the Framers intended to be a fundamental constitutional safeguard.
Moreover, petitioners' broad construction of the Elections Clause is fundamentally inconsistent with the Framers' view of that Clause. The Framers intended the Elections Clause to grant States authority to create procedural regulations, not to provide States with license to exclude classes of candidates
Hamilton made a similar point in The Federalist No. 60, in which he defended the Constitution's grant to Congress of the power to override state regulations. Hamilton expressly distinguished the broad power to set qualifications from the limited authority under the Elections Clause, noting that
As Hamilton's statement suggests, the Framers understood the Elections Clause as a grant of authority to issue procedural regulations, and not as a source of power to dictate
Our cases interpreting state power under the Elections Clause reflect the same understanding. The Elections Clause gives States authority "to enact the numerous requirements as to procedure and safeguards which experience shows are necessary in order to enforce the fundamental right involved." Smiley v. Holm, 285 U. S., at 366. However, "[t]he power to regulate the time, place, and manner of elections does not justify, without more, the abridgment of fundamental rights." Tashjian v. Republican Party of Conn., 479 U.S. 208, 217 (1986). States are thus entitled to adopt "generally applicable and evenhanded restrictions that protect the integrity and reliability of the electoral process itself." Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 788, n. 9 (1983). For example, in Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724 (1974), the case on which petitioners place principal reliance, we upheld the validity of certain provisions of the California Elections Code. In so doing, we emphasized the States' interest in having orderly, fair, and honest elections "rather than chaos." Id. , at 730. We also recognized the "States' strong interest in maintaining the integrity of the political process by preventing interparty raiding," id., at 731, and explained that the specific requirements applicable to independents were "expressive of a general state policy aimed at maintaining the integrity of the various routes to the ballot," id., at 733. In other cases, we have approved the States' interests in avoiding "voter confusion, ballot overcrowding, or the presence of frivolous candidacies," Munro v. Socialist Workers Party, 479 U.S. 189, 194-195 (1986), in "seeking to assure that elections are operated equitably and efficiently," Burdick v. Takushi, 504 U. S., at 433, and in "guard[ing] against irregularity and error in the tabulation of votes," Roudebush v. Hartke, 405 U.S. 15, 25 (1972). In short, we have approved of state regulations designed to ensure that
The provisions at issue in Storer and our other Elections Clause cases were thus constitutional because they regulated election procedures and did not even arguably impose any substantive qualification rendering a class of potential candidates ineligible for ballot position. They served the state interest in protecting the integrity and regularity of the election process, an interest independent of any attempt to evade the constitutional prohibition against the imposition of additional qualifications for service in Congress. And they did not involve measures that exclude candidates from the ballot without reference to the candidates' support in the electoral process. Our cases upholding state regulations of election procedures thus provide little support for the contention that a state-imposed ballot access restriction is constitutional when it is undertaken for the twin goals of disadvantaging a particular class of candidates and evading the dictates of the Qualifications Clauses.
As to the first, it is simply irrelevant to our holding today. As we note above in n. 45, our prior cases strongly suggest that write-in candidates will have only a slim chance of success, and the Arkansas plurality agreed. However, we expressly do not rest on this Court's prior observations regarding write-in candidates. Instead, we hold that a state amendment is unconstitutional when it has the likely effect of handicapping a class of candidates and has the sole purpose of creating additional qualifications indirectly. Thus, the dissent's discussion of the evidence concerning the possibility that a popular incumbent will win a write-in election is simply beside the point.
As to the second argument, we find wholly unpersuasive the dissent's suggestion that Amendment 73 was designed merely to "level the playing field." As we have noted, supra, at 829-830, it is obvious that the sole purpose of Amendment 73 was to limit the terms of elected officials, both state and federal, and that Amendment 73, therefore, may not stand.
The merits of term limits, or "rotation," have been the subject of debate since the formation of our Constitution, when the Framers unanimously rejected a proposal to add such limits to the Constitution. The cogent arguments on both sides of the question that were articulated during the process of ratification largely retain their force today. Over half the States have adopted measures that impose such limits on some offices either directly or indirectly, and the Nation as a whole, notably by constitutional amendment, has imposed a limit on the number of terms that the President may serve.
We are, however, firmly convinced that allowing the several States to adopt term limits for congressional service would effect a fundamental change in the constitutional framework. Any such change must come not by legislation adopted either by Congress or by an individual State, but rather—as have other important changes in the electoral process
The judgment is affirmed.
It is so ordered.
Justice Kennedy, concurring.
I join the opinion of the Court.
The majority and dissenting opinions demonstrate the intricacy of the question whether or not the Qualifications Clauses are exclusive. In my view, however, it is well settled that the whole people of the United States asserted their political identity and unity of purpose when they created the federal system. The dissent's course of reasoning suggesting otherwise might be construed to disparage the republican character of the National Government, and it seems appropriate to add these few remarks to explain why that course of argumentation runs counter to fundamental principles of federalism.
Federalism was our Nation's own discovery. The Framers split the atom of sovereignty. It was the genius of their idea that our citizens would have two political capacities, one state and one federal, each protected from incursion by the other. The resulting Constitution created a legal system unprecedented in form and design, establishing two orders of government, each with its own direct relationship, its own privity, its own set of mutual rights and obligations to the people who sustain it and are governed by it. It is appropriate to recall these origins, which instruct us as to the
A distinctive character of the National Government, the mark of its legitimacy, is that it owes its existence to the act of the whole people who created it. It must be remembered that the National Government, too, is republican in essence and in theory. John Jay insisted on this point early in The Federalist Papers, in his comments on the government that preceded the one formed by the Constitution.
Once the National Government was formed under our Constitution, the same republican principles continued to guide its operation and practice. As James Madison explained, the House of Representatives "derive[s] its powers from the people of America," and "the operation of the government on the people in their individual capacities" makes it "a national government," not merely a federal one. Id., No. 39, at 244, 245 (emphasis deleted). The Court confirmed this principle in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 404-405 (1819), when it said: "The government of the Union, then, . . . is, emphatically, and truly, a government of the people. In form and in substance it emanates from them. Its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised directly on them, and for their benefit." The same theory led us to observe as follows in Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651, 666 (1884): "In a republican government, like ours, . . . political
In one sense it is true that "the people of each State retained their separate political identities," post, at 849, for the Constitution takes care both to preserve the States and to make use of their identities and structures at various points in organizing the federal union. It does not at all follow from this that the sole political identity of an American is with the State of his or her residence. It denies the dual character of the Federal Government which is its very foundation to assert that the people of the United States do not have a political identity as well, one independent of, though consistent with, their identity as citizens of the State of their residence. Cf. post, at 848-850. It must be recognized that "`[f]or all the great purposes for which the Federal government was formed, we are one people, with one common country.' " Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 630 (1969) (quoting Passenger Cases, 7 How. 283, 492 (1849) (Taney, C. J., dissenting); see Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wall. 35, 43 (1868) ("The people of these United States constitute one nation" and "have a government in which all of them are deeply interested").
It might be objected that because the States ratified the Constitution, the people can delegate power only through the States or by acting in their capacities as citizens of particular States. See post, at 846. But in McCulloch v. Maryland, the Court set forth its authoritative rejection of this idea:
The political identity of the entire people of the Union is reinforced by the proposition, which I take to be beyond dispute, that, though limited as to its objects, the National Government is, and must be, controlled by the people without collateral interference by the States. McCulloch affirmed this proposition as well, when the Court rejected the suggestion that States could interfere with federal powers. "This was not intended by the American people. They did not design to make their government dependent on the States." Id., at 432. The States have no power, reserved or otherwise, over the exercise of federal authority within its proper sphere. See id., at 430 (where there is an attempt at "usurpation of a power which the people of a single State cannot give," there can be no question whether the power "has been surrendered" by the people of a single State because "[t]he right never existed"). That the States may not invade the sphere of federal sovereignty is as incontestable, in my view, as the corollary proposition that the Federal Government must be held within the boundaries of its own power when it intrudes upon matters reserved to the States. See United States v. Lopez, ante, p. 549.
Of course, because the Framers recognized that state power and identity were essential parts of the federal balance, see The Federalist No. 39, the Constitution is solicitous of the prerogatives of the States, even in an otherwise sovereign federal province. The Constitution uses state boundaries to fix the size of congressional delegations, Art. I, § 2, cl. 3, ensures that each State shall have at least one representative, ibid., grants States certain powers over the times, places, and manner of federal elections (subject to congressional revision), Art. I, § 4, cl. 1, requires that when the President is elected by the House of Representatives, the delegations
The federal character of congressional elections flows from the political reality that our National Government is republican in form and that national citizenship has privileges and immunities protected from state abridgment by the force of the Constitution itself. Even before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, the latter proposition was given expression in Crandall v. Nevada where the Court recognized the right of the Federal Government to call "any or all of its citizens to aid in its service, as members of the Congress, of the courts, of the executive departments, and to fill all its other offices," and further recognized that "this right cannot be made to depend upon the pleasure of a State over whose
In the Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 78-80 (1873), the Court was careful to hold that federal citizenship in and of itself suffices for the assertion of rights under the Constitution, rights that stem from sources other than the States. Though the Slaughter-House Cases interpreted the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, its view of the origins of federal citizenship was not confined to that source. Referring to these rights of national dimension and origin the Court observed: "But lest it should be said that no such privileges and immunities are to be found if those we have been considering are excluded, we venture to suggest some which owe their existence to the Federal government, its National character, its Constitution, or its laws." Id., at 79. Later cases only reinforced the idea that there are such incidents of national citizenship. See Ex
Not the least of the incongruities in the position advanced by Arkansas is the proposition, necessary to its case, that it can burden the rights of resident voters in federal elections by reason of the manner in which they earlier had exercised it. If the majority of the voters had been successful in selecting a candidate, they would be penalized from exercising that same right in the future. Quite apart from any First Amendment concerns, see Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23, 30 (1968); Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 786-788 (1983), neither the law nor federal theory allows a State to burden the exercise of federal rights in this manner. See Terral v. Burke Constr. Co., supra, at 532; Shapiro v. Thompson, supra, at 629-631. Indeed, as one of the "right[s] of the citizen[s] of this great country, protected by implied guarantees of its Constitution," the Court identified the right "`to come to the seat of government . . . to share its offices, to engage in administering its functions.' " Slaughter-House Cases, supra, at 79 (quoting Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wall., at 44). This observation serves to illustrate the extent of the State's attempted interference with the federal right to vote (and the derivative right to serve if elected by majority vote) in a congressional election, rights that do not derive from the state power in the first instance but that belong to the voter in his or her capacity as a citizen of the United States.
It is maintained by our dissenting colleagues that the State of Arkansas seeks nothing more than to grant its people
Justice Thomas, with whom The Chief Justice, Justice O'Connor, and Justice Scalia join, dissenting.
It is ironic that the Court bases today's decision on the right of the people to "choose whom they please to govern them." See ante, at 783, 793, 795, 819. Under our Constitution, there is only one State whose people have the right to "choose whom they please" to represent Arkansas in Congress. The Court holds, however, that neither the elected legislature of that State nor the people themselves (acting by ballot initiative) may prescribe any qualifications for those representatives. The majority therefore defends the right of the people of Arkansas to "choose whom they please to govern them" by invalidating a provision that won nearly 60% of the votes cast in a direct election and that carried every congressional district in the State.
I dissent. Nothing in the Constitution deprives the people of each State of the power to prescribe eligibility requirements for the candidates who seek to represent them in Congress. The Constitution is simply silent on this question. And where the Constitution is silent, it raises no bar to action by the States or the people.
Because the majority fundamentally misunderstands the notion of "reserved" powers, I start with some first principles. Contrary to the majority's suggestion, the people of the States need not point to any affirmative grant of power in the Constitution in order to prescribe qualifications for their representatives in Congress, or to authorize their elected state legislators to do so.
Our system of government rests on one overriding principle: All power stems from the consent of the people. To phrase the principle in this way, however, is to be imprecise about something important to the notion of "reserved" powers. The ultimate source of the Constitution's authority is the consent of the people of each individual State, not the consent of the undifferentiated people of the Nation as a whole.
The ratification procedure erected by Article VII makes this point clear. The Constitution took effect once it had been ratified by the people gathered in convention in nine different States. But the Constitution went into effect only "between the States so ratifying the same," Art. VII; it did not bind the people of North Carolina until they had accepted it. In Madison's words, the popular consent upon which the Constitution's authority rests was "given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong." The Federalist No. 39, p. 243 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961) (hereinafter The Federalist). Accord, 3 Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution 94 (J. Elliot 2d ed. 1876) (hereinafter Elliot) (remarks of James Madison at the Virginia Convention).
In each State, the remainder of the people's powers— "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States," Amdt. 10—are either delegated to the state government or retained by the people. The Federal Constitution does not specify which of these two possibilities obtains; it is up to the various state constitutions to declare which powers the people of each State have delegated to their state government. As far as
These basic principles are enshrined in the Tenth Amendment, which declares that all powers neither delegated to the Federal Government nor prohibited to the States "are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." With this careful last phrase, the Amendment avoids taking any position on the division of power between the state governments and the people of the States: It is up to the people of each State to determine which "reserved" powers their state government may exercise. But the Amendment does make clear that powers reside at the state level except where the Constitution removes them from that level. All powers that the Constitution neither delegates to the Federal Government nor prohibits to the States are controlled by the people of each State.
To be sure, when the Tenth Amendment uses the phrase "the people," it does not specify whether it is referring to the people of each State or the people of the Nation as a whole. But the latter interpretation would make the Amendment pointless: There would have been no reason to provide that where the Constitution is silent about whether a particular power resides at the state level, it might or might not do so. In addition, it would make no sense to speak of powers as being reserved to the undifferentiated people of the Nation as a whole, because the Constitution does not contemplate that those people will either exercise power or delegate it. The Constitution simply does not recognize any mechanism for action by the undifferentiated people of the Nation. Thus, the amendment provision of Article
In short, the notion of popular sovereignty that undergirds the Constitution does not erase state boundaries, but rather tracks them. The people of each State obviously did trust their fate to the people of the several States when they consented to the Constitution; not only did they empower the governmental institutions of the United States, but they also agreed to be bound by constitutional amendments that they themselves refused to ratify. See Art. V (providing that proposed amendments shall take effect upon ratification by three-quarters of the States). At the same time, however, the people of each State retained their separate political identities. As Chief Justice Marshall put it,"[n]o political dreamer was ever wild enough to think of breaking down the lines which separate the States, and of compounding the American people into one common mass." McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 403 (1819).
The majority disagrees that it bears this burden. But its arguments are unpersuasive.
The majority begins by announcing an enormous and untenable limitation on the principle expressed by the Tenth Amendment. According to the majority, the States possess only those powers that the Constitution affirmatively grants to them or that they enjoyed before the Constitution was adopted; the Tenth Amendment "could only `reserve' that
The majority's essential logic is that the state governments could not "reserve" any powers that they did not control at the time the Constitution was drafted. But it was not the state governments that were doing the reserving. The Constitution derives its authority instead from the consent of the people of the States. Given the fundamental principle that all governmental powers stem from the people of the States, it would simply be incoherent to assert that the people of the States could not reserve any powers that they had not previously controlled.
The Tenth Amendment's use of the word "reserved" does not help the majority's position. If someone says that the power to use a particular facility is reserved to some group, he is not saying anything about whether that group has previously used the facility. He is merely saying that the people
The majority is therefore quite wrong to conclude that the people of the States cannot authorize their state governments to exercise any powers that were unknown to the States when the Federal Constitution was drafted. Indeed, the majority's position frustrates the apparent purpose of the Amendment's final phrase. The Amendment does not preempt any limitations on state power found in the state constitutions, as it might have done if it simply had said that the powers not delegated to the Federal Government are reserved to the States. But the Amendment also does not prevent the people of the States from amending their state constitutions to remove limitations that were in effect when the Federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ratified.
In an effort to defend its position, the majority points to language in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528, 549 (1985), which it takes to indicate that the Tenth Amendment covers only "the original powers of [state] sovereignty." Ante, at 802. But Garcia dealt with an entirely different issue: the extent to which principles of state sovereignty implicit in our federal system curtail Congress' authority to exercise its enumerated powers. When we are asked to decide whether a congressional statute that appears to have been authorized by Article I is nonetheless unconstitutional because it invades a protected sphere of state sovereignty, it may well be appropriate for us to inquire into what we have called the "traditional aspects of state sovereignty." See National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833, 841, 849 (1976); see also New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 156-157 (1992). The question
The majority also seeks support for its view of the Tenth Amendment in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316 (1819). See ante, at 802. But this effort is misplaced. McCulloch did make clear that a power need not be "expressly" delegated to the United States or prohibited to the States in order to fall outside the Tenth Amendment's reservation; delegations and prohibitions can also arise by necessary implication.
The structure of McCulloch `s analysis also refutes the majority's position. The question before the Court was
For the past 175 years, McCulloch has been understood to rest on the proposition that the Constitution affirmatively barred Maryland from imposing its tax on the Bank's operations. See, e. g., Osborn v. Bank of United States, 9 Wheat. 738, 859-868 (1824) (reaffirming McCulloch `s conclusion that by operation of the Supremacy Clause, the federal statute incorporating the bank impliedly pre-empted state laws attempting to tax the bank's operations); Maryland v. Louisiana, 451 U.S. 725, 746 (1981) (citing McCulloch for the proposition that the Supremacy Clause deprives the States of the power to pass laws that conflict with federal statutes); see also North Dakota v. United States, 495 U.S. 423, 434 (1990) (plurality opinion) (citing McCulloch for the proposition that state laws may violate the Supremacy Clause when they "regulate the Government directly or discriminate against
The majority also sketches out what may be an alternative (and narrower) argument. Again citing Story, the majority suggests that it would be inconsistent with the notion of "national sovereignty" for the States or the people of the States to have any reserved powers over the selection of Members of Congress. See ante, at 803, 805. The majority apparently reaches this conclusion in two steps. First, it asserts that because Congress as a whole is an institution of the National Government, the individual Members of Congress "owe primary allegiance not to the people of a State, but to the people of the Nation." See ante, at 803. Second, it concludes that because each Member of Congress has a nationwide constituency once he takes office, it would be inconsistent with the Framers' scheme to let a single State prescribe qualifications for him. See ante, at 803-804, 837-838.
Political scientists can debate about who commands the "primary allegiance" of Members of Congress once they reach Washington. From the framing to the present, however, the selection of the Representatives and Senators from each State has been left entirely to the people of that State or to their state legislature. See Art. I, § 2, cl. 1 (providing that Members of the House of Representatives are chosen "by the People of the several States"); Art. I, § 3, cl. 1 (originally providing that the Senators from each State are "chosen by the Legislature thereof"); Amdt. 17 (amending § 3 to provide that the Senators from each State are "elected by the people thereof"). The very name "congress" suggests a
The concurring opinion suggests that this cannot be so, because it is the Federal Constitution that guarantees the right of the people of each State (so long as they are qualified electors under state law) to take part in choosing the Members of Congress from that State. See ante, at 842. But the presence of a federally guaranteed right hardly means that the selection of those representatives constitutes "the exercise of federal authority." See ante, at 841. When the people of Georgia pick their representatives in Congress, they are acting as the people of Georgia, not as the corporate agents for the undifferentiated people of the Nation as a whole. See In re Green, 134 U.S. 377, 379 (1890) ("Although [Presidential] electors are appointed and act under and pursuant to the Constitution of the United States, they are no more officers or agents of the United States than are the members of the state legislatures when acting as electors of federal senators, or the people of the States when acting as electors of representatives in Congress"). The concurring opinion protests that the exercise of "reserved" powers in the area of congressional elections would constitute "state interference with the most basic relation between the National
The concurring opinion attempts to defend this surprising proposition by pointing out that Americans are "citizens of the United States" as well as "of the State wherein they reside," Amdt. 14, § 1, and that national citizenship (particularly after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment) "has privileges and immunities protected from state abridgment by the force of the Constitution itself," ante, at 842. These facts are indeed "beyond dispute," ante, at 844, but they do not contradict anything that I have said. Although the United States obviously is a Nation, and although it obviously has citizens, the Constitution does not call for Members of Congress to be elected by the undifferentiated national citizenry; indeed, it does not recognize any mechanism at all (such as a national referendum) for action by the undifferentiated people of the Nation as a whole. See supra, at 848— 849. Even at the level of national politics, then, there always remains a meaningful distinction between someone who is a citizen of the United States and of Georgia and someone who is a citizen of the United States and of Massachusetts. The Georgia citizen who is unaware of this distinction will have it pointed out to him as soon as he tries to vote in a Massachusetts congressional election.
In short, while the majority is correct that the Framers expected the selection process to create a "direct link" between Members of the House of Representatives and the people, ante, at 803, the link was between the Representatives from each State and the people of that State; the people of Georgia have no say over whom the people of Massachusetts select to represent them in Congress. This arrangement
The majority seeks support from the Constitution's specification that Members of Congress "shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States." Art. I, § 6, cl. 1; see ante, at 804. But the fact that Members of Congress draw a federal salary once they have assembled hardly means that the people of the States lack reserved powers over the selection of their representatives. Indeed, the historical evidence about the compensation provision suggests that the States' reserved powers may even extend beyond the selection stage. The majority itself indicates that if the Constitution had made no provision for congressional compensation, this topic would have been "left to state legislatures." Ante, at 809; accord, 1 Farrand 215-216 (remarks of James Madison and George Mason); id., at 219, n. *. Likewise, Madison specifically indicated that even with the compensation provision in place, the individual States still
As for the fact that a State has no reserved power to establish qualifications for the office of President, see ante, at 803-804, it surely need not follow that a State has no reserved power to establish qualifications for the Members of Congress who represent the people of that State. Because powers are reserved to the States "respectively," it is clear that no State may legislate for another State: Even though the Arkansas Legislature enjoys the reserved power to pass a minimum-wage law for Arkansas, it has no power to pass a minimum-wage law for Vermont. For the same reason, Arkansas may not decree that only Arkansas citizens are eligible to be President of the United States; the selection of the President is not up to Arkansas alone, and Arkansas can no more prescribe the qualifications for that office than it can set the qualifications for Members of Congress from Florida. But none of this suggests that Arkansas cannot set qualifications for Members of Congress from Arkansas.
In fact, the Constitution's treatment of Presidential elections actively contradicts the majority's position. While the individual States have no "reserved" power to set qualifications for the office of President, we have long understood that they do have the power (as far as the Federal Constitution is concerned) to set qualifications for their Presidential electors—the delegates that each State selects to represent it in the electoral college that actually chooses the Nation's chief executive. Even respondents do not dispute that the States may establish qualifications for their delegates to the electoral college, as long as those qualifications pass muster under other constitutional provisions (primarily the First and Fourteenth Amendments). See Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23, 29 (1968); McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 27-36 (1892). As the majority cannot argue that the Constitution
In a final effort to deny that the people of the States enjoy "reserved" powers over the selection of their representatives in Congress, the majority suggests that the Constitution expressly delegates to the States certain powers over congressional elections. See ante, at 805. Such delegations of power, the majority argues, would be superfluous if the people of the States enjoyed reserved powers in this area.
Only one constitutional provision—the Times, Places and Manner Clause of Article I, § 4—even arguably supports the majority's suggestion. It reads:
Contrary to the majority's assumption, however, this Clause does not delegate any authority to the States. Instead, it simply imposes a duty upon them. The majority gets it exactly right: By specifying that the state legislatures "shall" prescribe the details necessary to hold congressional elections, the Clause "expressly requires action by the States."
Constitutional provisions that impose affirmative duties on the States are hardly inconsistent with the notion of reserved powers.
The majority also mentions Article II, § 1, cl. 2: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of [Presidential] Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress . . . ." But this Clause has nothing to do with congressional elections, and in any event it, too, imposes an affirmative obligation on the States. In fact, some such bare bones provision was essential in order to coordinate the creation of the electoral college. As mentioned above, moreover, it is uncontested that the States enjoy the reserved power to specify qualifications for the Presidential electors who are chosen pursuant to this Clause. See supra, at 861-862.
Respondent Thornton seeks to buttress the majority's position with Article I, § 2, cl. 1, which provides:
Our case law interpreting the Clause affirmatively supports the view that the States enjoy reserved powers over congressional elections. We have treated the Clause as a one-way ratchet: While the requirements for voting in congressional elections cannot be more onerous than the requirements for voting in elections for the most numerous branch of the state legislature, they can be less so. See Tashjian v. Republican Party of Conn., 479 U.S. 208, 225— 229 (1986). If this interpretation of the Clause is correct, it means that even with the Clause in place, States still have partial freedom to set special voting requirements for congressional elections. As this power is not granted in Article I, it must be among the "reserved" powers.
I take it to be established, then, that the people of Arkansas do enjoy "reserved" powers over the selection of their representatives in Congress. Purporting to exercise those reserved powers, they have agreed among themselves that the candidates covered by § 3 of Amendment 73—those whom they have already elected to three or more terms in the House of Representatives or to two or more terms in the Senate—should not be eligible to appear on the ballot for reelection, but should nonetheless be returned to Congress if enough voters are sufficiently enthusiastic about their candidacy to write in their names. Whatever one might think of the wisdom of this arrangement, we may not override the decision of the people of Arkansas unless something in the Federal Constitution deprives them of the power to enact such measures.
The majority settles on "the Qualifications Clauses" as the constitutional provisions that Amendment 73 violates. See ante, at 806. Because I do not read those provisions to impose
Because the text of the Qualifications Clauses does not support its position, the majority turns instead to its vision of the democratic principles that animated the Framers. But the majority's analysis goes to a question that is not before us: whether Congress has the power to prescribe qualifications for its own members. As I discuss in Part B, the democratic principles that contributed to the Framers' decision to withhold this power from Congress do not prove that the Framers also deprived the people of the States of their reserved authority to set eligibility requirements for their own representatives.
In Part C, I review the majority's more specific historical evidence. To the extent that they bear on this case, the records of the Philadelphia Convention affirmatively support my unwillingness to find hidden meaning in the Qualifications Clauses, while the surviving records from the ratification debates help neither side. As for the post ratification period, five States supplemented the constitutional disqualifications in their very first election laws. The historical evidence thus refutes any notion that the Qualifications Clauses were generally understood to be exclusive. Yet the majority must establish just such an understanding in order to justify its position that the Clauses impose unstated prohibitions on the States and the people. In my view, the historical evidence is simply inadequate to warrant the majority's
The provisions that are generally known as the Qualifications Clauses read as follows:
Later in Article I, the "Ineligibility Clause" imposes another nationwide disqualification from congressional office: "[N]o Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office." § 6, cl.2.
The majority is quite correct that the "negative phrasing" of these Clauses has little relevance. See ante, at 792, n. 8. The Qualifications Clauses would mean the same thing had they been enacted in the form that the Philadelphia Convention referred them to the Committee of Style:
See also id., at 567 (same phrasing for Senate Qualifications Clause). But these different formulations—whether negative or affirmative—merely establish minimum qualifications.
At least on their face, then, the Qualifications Clauses do nothing to prohibit the people of a State from establishing additional eligibility requirements for their own representatives.
Joseph Story thought that such a prohibition was nonetheless implicit in the constitutional list of qualifications, because "[f]rom the very nature of such a provision, the affirmation of these qualifications would seem to imply a negative of all others." 1 Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States § 624 (1833); see also ante, at 793, n.9. This argument rests on the maxim expressio unius rest exclusion alterius. When the Framers decided which qualifications to include in the Constitution, they also decided not to include any other qualifications in the Constitution. In Story's view, it would conflict with this latter decision for the people of the individual States to decide, as a matter of state law, that they would like their own representatives in Congress to meet additional eligibility requirements.
To spell out the logic underlying this argument is to expose its weakness. Even if one were willing to ignore the distinction between requirements enshrined in the Constitution and other requirements that the Framers were content to leave within the reach of ordinary law, Story's application of the expressio unius maxim takes no account of federalism. At most, the specification of certain nationwide disqualifications in the Constitution implies the negation of other nationwide disqualifications; it does not imply that individual States or their people are barred from adopting their own
The Qualifications Clauses do prevent the individual States from abolishing all eligibility requirements for Congress. This restriction on state power reflects the fact that when the people of one State send immature, disloyal, or unknowledgeable representatives to Congress, they jeopardize not only their own interests but also the interests of the people of other States. Because Congress wields power over all the States, the people of each State need some guarantee that the legislators elected by the people of other States will meet minimum standards of competence. The Qualifications Clauses provide that guarantee: They list the requirements that the Framers considered essential to protect the competence of the National Legislature.
If the people of a State decide that they would like their representatives to possess additional qualifications, however, they have done nothing to frustrate the policy behind the Qualifications Clauses. Anyone who possesses all of the constitutional qualifications, plus some qualifications required by state law, still has all of the federal qualifications.
The people of other States could legitimately complain if the people of Arkansas decide, in a particular election, to send a 6-year-old to Congress. But the Constitution gives the people of other States no basis to complain if the people of Arkansas elect a freshman representative in preference to a long-term incumbent. That being the case, it is hard to see why the rights of the people of other States have been violated when the people of Arkansas decide to enact a more general disqualification of long-term incumbents. Such a disqualification certainly is subject to scrutiny under other constitutional provisions, such as the First and Fourteenth Amendments. But as long as the candidate whom they send to Congress meets the constitutional age, citizenship, and inhabitancy requirements, the people of Arkansas have not violated the Qualifications Clauses.
This conclusion is buttressed by our reluctance to read constitutional provisions to preclude state power by negative implication. The very structure of the Constitution counsels such hesitation. After all, § 10 of Article I contains a brief list of express prohibitions on the States. Cf. Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc., 505 U.S. 504, 517-519 (1992) (Stevens, J.) (applying the expressio unius maxim to conclude that Congress' inclusion of an express pre-emption clause in a federal statute implies that state laws beyond the reach of that clause are not pre-empted); Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. 410, 425 (1979) (Stevens, J.) (suggesting that in light of the Tenth Amendment and the Constitution's express prohibitions on the States, "caution should be exercised before concluding that unstated limitations on state power were intended by the Framers"). Many of the prohibitions listed in
The majority responds that "a patchwork of state qualifications" would "undermin[e] the uniformity and the national character that the Framers envisioned and sought to ensure." Ante, at 822. Yet the Framers thought it perfectly consistent with the "national character" of Congress for the Senators and Representatives from each State to be chosen by the legislature or the people of that State. The majority never explains why Congress' fundamental character permits this state-centered system, but nonetheless prohibits
As for the majority's related assertion that the Framers intended qualification requirements to be uniform, this is a conclusion, not an argument. Indeed, it is a conclusion that the Qualifications Clauses themselves contradict. At the time of the framing, and for some years thereafter, the Clauses' citizenship requirements incorporated laws that varied from State to State. Thus, the Qualifications Clauses themselves made it possible that a person would be qualified to represent State A in Congress even though a similarly situated person would not be qualified to represent State B.
To understand this point requires some background. Before the Constitution was adopted, citizenship was controlled entirely by state law, and the different States established different criteria. See J. Kettner, Development of American Citizenship, 1608-1870, pp. 213-218 (1978). Even after the Constitution gave Congress the power to "establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization . . . throughout the United States," Art. I, § 8, cl. 4, Congress was under no obligation to do so, and the Framers surely expected state law to continue in full force unless and until Congress acted. Cf. Sturges v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. 122, 196 (1819) (so interpreting the other part of § 8, cl. 4, which empowers Congress to establish "uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies").
Even after Congress chose to exercise its power to prescribe a uniform route to naturalization, the durational element of the citizenship requirement in the Qualifications Clauses ensured that variances in state law would continue to matter. Thus, in 1794 the Senate refused to seat Albert Gallatin because, owing to the individual peculiarities of the laws of the two relevant States, he had not been a citizen for the required nine years. Id., at 859-862, 867 (reporting proceedings from February 20 and 28, 1794).
Even if the Qualifications Clauses had not themselves incorporated nonuniform requirements, of course, there would still be no basis for the assertion of the plurality below that they mandate "uniformity in qualifications." See 316 Ark. 251, 265, 872 S.W.2d 349, 356 (1994). The Clauses wholly omit the exclusivity provision that, according to both the plurality below and today's majority, was their central focus. In fact, neither the text nor the apparent purpose of the Qualifications Clauses does anything to refute Thomas Jefferson's elegant legal analysis:
Although the Qualifications Clauses neither state nor imply the prohibition that it finds in them, the majority infers from the Framers' "democratic principles" that the Clauses must have been generally understood to preclude the people of the States and their state legislatures from prescribing any additional qualifications for their representatives in Congress. But the majority's evidence on this point establishes only two more modest propositions: (1) the Framers did not want the Federal Constitution itself to impose a
I agree with the majority that Congress has no power to prescribe qualifications for its own Members. This fact, however, does not show that the Qualifications Clauses contain a hidden exclusivity provision. The reason for Congress' incapacity is not that the Qualifications Clauses deprive Congress of the authority to set qualifications, but rather that nothing in the Constitution grants Congress this power. In the absence of such a grant, Congress may not act. But deciding whether the Constitution denies the qualification-setting power to the States and the people of the States requires a fundamentally different legal analysis.
Despite the majority's claims to the contrary, see ante, at 796-797, n. 12, this explanation for Congress' incapacity to supplement the Qualifications Clauses is perfectly consistent with the reasoning of Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486 (1969). Powell concerned the scope of Article I, § 5, which provides that "[e]ach House [of Congress] shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members." As the majority itself recognizes, "[t]he principal issue [in Powell ] was whether the power granted to each House in Art. I, § 5, . . . includes the power to impose qualifications other than those set forth in the text of the Constitution." Ante, at 788. Contrary to the majority's suggestion, then, the critical question in Powell was whether § 5 conferred a qualification-setting power—not whether the Qualifications
Powell `s analysis confirms this point. After summarizing a large quantity of historical material bearing on the original understanding of what it meant for a legislature to act as "the Judge" of the qualifications of its members, see 395 U. S., at 521-531, Powell went on to stress that the Philadelphia Convention specifically rejected proposals to grant Congress the power to pass laws prescribing additional qualifications for its Members, and that the Convention rejected these proposals on the very same day that it approved the precursor of § 5. See id., at 533-536. Given this historical evidence, the Powell Court refused to read § 5 as empowering the House to prescribe such additional qualifications in its capacity as "Judge." And if nothing in the Constitution gave the House this power, it inevitably followed that the House could not exercise it. Despite the majority's claims, then, Powell itself rested on the proposition that the institutions of the Federal Government enjoy only the powers that are granted to them. See also ante, at 793, n. 9 (describing the Qualifications Clauses merely as an independent basis for the result reached in Powell ).
As the majority argues, democratic principles also contributed to the Framers' decision to withhold the qualificationsetting power from Congress. But the majority is wrong to suggest that the same principles must also have led the Framers to deny this power to the people of the States and the state legislatures. In particular, it simply is not true that "the source of the qualification is of little moment in assessing the qualification's restrictive impact." Ante, at 820. There is a world of difference between a self-imposed constraint and a constraint imposed from above.
Congressional power over qualifications would have enabled the representatives from some States, acting collectively in the National Legislature, to prevent the people of another State from electing their preferred candidates. The John Wilkes episode in 18th-century England illustrates the problems that might result. As the majority mentions, Wilkes' district repeatedly elected him to the House of Commons, only to have a majority of the representatives of other
Yet this is simply to say that qualifications should not be set at the national level for offices whose occupants are selected at the state level. The majority never identifies the democratic principles that would have been violated if a state legislature, in the days before the Constitution was amended to provide for the direct election of Senators, had imposed some limits of its own on the field of candidates that it would consider for appointment.
The majority appears to believe that restrictions on eligibility for office are inherently undemocratic. But the Qualifications Clauses themselves prove that the Framers did not share this view; eligibility requirements to which the people of the States consent are perfectly consistent with the Framers'
At one point, the majority suggests that the principle identified by Hamilton encompasses not only the electorate's right to choose, but also "the egalitarian concept that the opportunity to be elected [is] open to all." See ante, at 794; see also ante, at 819-820. To the extent that the second idea has any content independent of the first, the majority apparently would read the Qualifications Clauses to create a personal right to be a candidate for Congress, and then to set that right above the authority of the people of the States to prescribe eligibility requirements for public office. But we have never suggested that "the opportunity to be elected" is open even to those whom the voters have decided not to elect. On that rationale, a candidate might have a right to appear on the ballot in the general election even though he lost in the primary. But see Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724, 726, n. 16 (1974); see also Bullock v. Carter, 405 U.S. 134, 142-143 (1972) (rejecting the proposition that there is any fundamental right to be a candidate, separate and apart from the electorate's right to vote). Thus, the majority ultimately concedes that its "egalitarian concept" derives entirely from the electorate's right to choose. See ante, at 794, n. 11; see also ante, at 819 (deriving the "egalitarian
In seeking ratification of the Constitution, James Madison did assert that "[u]nder these reasonable limitations [set out in the House Qualifications Clause], the door of this part of the federal government is open to merit of every description . . . ." The Federalist No. 52, at 326. The majority stresses this assertion, and others to the same effect, in support of its "egalitarian concept." See ante, at 794, 819-820, and n. 30. But there is no reason to interpret these statements as anything more than claims that the Constitution itself imposes relatively few disqualifications for congressional office.
In fact, the authority to narrow the field of candidates in this way may be part and parcel of the right to elect Members of Congress. That is, the right to choose may include the right to winnow. See Hills, A Defense of State Constitutional Limits on Federal Congressional Terms, 53 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 97, 107-109 (1991).
To appreciate this point, it is useful to consider the Constitution as it existed before the Seventeenth Amendment was adopted in 1913. The Framers' scheme called for the legislature of each State to choose the Senators from that State. Art. I, § 3, cl. 1. The majority offers no reason to believe that state legislatures could not adopt prospective rules to guide themselves in carrying out this responsibility; not only is there no express language in the Constitution barring legislatures from passing laws to narrow their choices, but there also is absolutely no basis for inferring such a prohibition. Imagine the worst-case scenario: a state legislature, wishing
While it is easier to coordinate a majority of state legislators than to coordinate a majority of qualified voters, the basic principle should be the same in both contexts. Just as the state legislature enjoyed virtually unfettered discretion over whom to appoint to the Senate under Art. I, § 3, so the qualified voters of the State enjoyed virtually unfettered discretion over whom to elect to the House of Representatives under Art. I, § 2. If there is no reason to believe that the Framers' Constitution barred state legislatures from adopting prospective rules to narrow their choices for Senator, then there is also no reason to believe that it barred the people of the States from adopting prospective rules to narrow their choices for Representative. In addition, there surely is no reason to believe that the Senate Qualifications Clause suddenly acquired an exclusivity provision in 1913, when the Seventeenth Amendment was adopted. Now that the people of the States are charged with choosing both Senators and Representatives, it follows that they may adopt eligibility requirements for Senators as well as for Representatives.
But one need not agree with me that the people of each State may delegate their qualification-setting power in order to uphold Arkansas' Amendment 73. Amendment 73 is not the act of a state legislature; it is the act of the people of Arkansas, adopted at a direct election and inserted into the State Constitution. The majority never explains why giving effect to the people's decision would violate the "democratic principles" that undergird the Constitution. Instead, the majority's discussion of democratic principles is directed entirely to attacking eligibility requirements imposed on the people of a State by an entity other than themselves.
The majority protests that any distinction between the people of the States and the state legislatures is "untenable" and "astonishing." See ante, at 809, n. 19. In the limited area of congressional elections, however, the Framers themselves
Thus, even if one believed that the Framers intended to bar state legislatures from adopting qualifications laws that restrict the people's choices, it would not follow that the people themselves are precluded from agreeing upon eligibility requirements to help narrow their own choices. To be sure, if the Qualifications Clauses were exclusive, they would bar all additional qualifications, whether adopted by popular initiative or by statute. But the majority simply assumes that if state legislatures are barred from prescribing qualifications, it must be because the Qualifications Clauses are exclusive. It would strain the text of the Constitution far less to locate the bar in Article I, § 2, and the Seventeenth Amendment instead: One could plausibly maintain that qualification requirements imposed by state legislatures violate the constitutional provisions entrusting the selection of Members of Congress to the people of the States, even while one acknowledges that qualification requirements imposed by the people themselves are perfectly constitutional. The majority never justifies its conclusion that "democratic principles" require it to reject even this intermediate position.
In addition to its arguments about democratic principles, the majority asserts that more specific historical evidence supports its view that the Framers did not intend to permit supplementation of the Qualifications Clauses. But when one focuses on the distinction between congressional power to add qualifications for congressional office and the power of the people or their state legislatures to add such qualifications, one realizes that this assertion has little basis.
To the extent that the records from the Philadelphia Convention itself shed light on this case, they tend to hurt the majority's case. The only evidence that directly bears on the question now before the Court comes from the Committee of Detail, a five-member body that the Convention charged with the crucial task of drafting a Constitution to reflect the decisions that the Convention had reached during its first two months of work. A document that Max Farrand described as "[a]n early, perhaps the first, draft of the committee's work" survived among the papers of George Mason. 1 Farrand xxiii, n. 36. The draft is in the handwriting of
The document is an extensive outline of the Constitution. Its treatment of the National Legislature is divided into two parts, one for the "House of Delegates" and one for the Senate. The Qualifications Clause for the House of Delegates originally read as follows: "The qualifications of a delegate shall be the age of twenty five years at least. and citizenship: and any person possessing these qualifications may be elected except [blank space]." Id., at II (emphasis added). The drafter(s) of this language apparently contemplated that the Committee might want to insert some exceptions to the exclusivity provision. But rather than simply deleting the word "except"—as it might have done if it had decided to have no exceptions at all to the exclusivity provision—the Committee deleted the exclusivity provision itself. In the document that has come down to us, all the words after the colon are crossed out. Ibid.
The majority speculates that the exclusivity provision may have been deleted as superfluous. See ante, at 815-816, n. 27.
The majority responds that the absence of any exclusivity provision in the Committee's draft of the Senate Qualifications Clause merely reflected the fact that "senators, unlike Representatives, would not be chosen by popular election." Ante, at 815, n. 27. I am perfectly prepared to accept this explanation: The drafter(s) may well have thought that state legislatures should be prohibited from constricting the people's choices for the House of Representatives, but that no exclusivity provision was necessary on the Senate side because state legislatures would already have unfettered control over the appointment of Senators. To accept this explanation, however, is to acknowledge that the exclusivity provision in the Committee's draft of the House Qualifications Clause was not thought to be mere surplusage. It is also to acknowledge that the Senate Qualifications Clause in the Committee's draft—"the qualification of a senator shall be the age of 25 years at least: citizenship in the united states: and property to the amount of [blank space]," 2 Farrand 141—did not carry any implicit connotation of exclusivity. In short, the majority's own explanation for the difference between the two Qualifications Clauses in the Committee's draft is fundamentally at odds with the expressio unius argument on which the majority rests its holding.
Unable to glean from the Philadelphia Convention any direct evidence that helps its position, the majority seeks signs of the Framers' unstated intent in the Framers' comments about four other constitutional provisions. See ante, at 808—
In any event, none of the provisions cited by the majority is inconsistent with state power to add qualifications for congressional office. First, the majority cites the constitutional requirement that congressional salaries be "ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States." Art. I, § 6, cl. 1. Like the Qualifications Clauses themselves, however, the salary provision can be seen as simply another means of protecting the competence of the National Legislature. As reflected in the majority's own evidence, see ante, at 809-810; see also 1 Farrand 373 (remarks of James Madison), one of the recurring themes of the debate over this provision was that if congressional compensation were left up to the States, parsimonious States might reduce salaries so low that only incapable people would be willing to serve in Congress.
As the majority stresses, some delegates to the Philadelphia Convention did argue that leaving congressional compensation up to the various States would give Members of Congress "an improper dependence" upon the States. Id., at 216 (remarks of James Madison); ante, at 809-810. These
Second, the majority gives passing mention to the Elector-Qualifications Clause of Article I, § 2, which specifies that in each State, the voters in House elections "shall have the qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature." But the records of the Philadelphia Convention provide no evidence for the majority's assertion that the purpose of this Clause was "to prevent discrimination against federal electors." See ante, at 808.
Third, the majority emphasizes that under Article I, § 5, "[e]ach House [of Congress] shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members." See ante, at 804, 811, 822. There was no recorded discussion of this provision in the Philadelphia Convention, and it appears simply to adopt the practice of England's Parliament. See n. 18, supra. According to the majority, however, § 5 implies
My conclusion that States may prescribe eligibility requirements for their Members of Congress does not necessarily mean that the term "Qualifications," as used in Article I, § 5, includes such state-imposed requirements. One surely could read the term simply to refer back to the requirements that the Framers had just listed in the Qualifications Clauses, and not to encompass whatever requirements States might add on their own. See Nixon v. United States, 506 U.S. 224, 237 (1993) (dictum) (asserting that the context of § 5 demonstrates that "the word `[q]ualifications' . . . was of a precise, limited nature" and referred only to the qualifications previously "set forth in Art. I, § 2"). The Framers had deemed the constitutional qualifications essential to protect the competence of Congress, and hence the national interest. It is quite plausible that the Framers would have wanted each House to make sure that its Members possessed these qualifications, but would have left it to the States to enforce whatever qualifications were imposed at the state level to protect state interests.
But even if this understanding of § 5 is incorrect, I see nothing odd in the notion that a House of Congress might have to consider state law in judging the "Qualifications" of its Members. In fact, § 5 itself refutes the majority's argument. Because it generally is state law that determines what is necessary to win an election and whether any particular ballot is valid, each House of Congress clearly must look to state law in judging the "Elections" and "Returns" of its Members. It would hardly be strange if each House had to do precisely the same thing in judging "Qualifications." Indeed, even on the majority's understanding of the Constitution, at the time of the framing all "Qualifications" questions that turned on issues of citizenship would have been governed by state law. See supra, at 872-873.
The fourth and final provision relied upon by the majority is the Clause giving Congress the power to override state regulations of "[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding [congressional] Elections." Art. I, § 4, cl. 1. From the fact that the Framers gave Congress the power to "make or alter" these state rules of election procedure, the majority infers that the Framers would also have wanted Congress to enjoy override authority with respect to any matters of substance that were left to the States. See ante, at 810— 811. As Congress enjoys no "make or alter" powers in this area, the majority concludes that the Framers must not have thought that state legislatures would be able to enact qualifications laws.
To judge from comments made at the state ratifying conventions, Congress' "make or alter" power was designed to serve a coordination function in addition to ensuring that the States had at least rudimentary election laws. For instance, George Nicholas argued at the Virginia Convention that if regulation of the time of congressional elections had been left exclusively to the States, "there might have been as many times of choosing as there are States," and "such intervals might elapse between the first and last election, as to prevent there being a sufficient number to form a House." 9 Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution 920 (J. Kaminski and G. Saladino eds. 1990). For this reason too, if the National Legislature lacked the "make or alter" power, "it might happen that there should be no Congress[,] . . . and this might happen at a time when the most urgent business rendered their session necessary." Ibid.; cf. 2 Elliot 535 (remarks of Thomas McKean at the Pennsylvania ratifying convention) (defending § 4 on the ground that congressional elections should be "held on the same day throughout the United States, to prevent corruption or
The structure of the Constitution also undermines the majority's suggestion that it would have been bizarre for the Framers to give Congress supervisory authority over state time, place, and manner regulations but not over state qualifications laws. Although the Constitution does set forth a few nationwide disqualifications for the office of Presidential elector, see Art. II, § 1, cl. 2 ("no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector"), no one contends that these disqualifications implicitly prohibit the States from adding any other eligibility requirements; instead, Article II leaves the States free to establish qualifications for their delegates to the electoral college. See supra, at 861-862. Nothing in the Constitution, moreover, gives Congress any say over the additional eligibility requirements that the people of the States or their state legislatures may choose to set. Yet under Article II, "[t]he Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors . . . ." Art. II, § 1, cl. 4.
The majority thus creates an unwarranted divergence between Article I's provisions for the selection of Members of Congress and Article II's provisions for the selection of members of the electoral college. Properly understood, the treatment of congressional elections in Article I parallels the treatment of Presidential elections in Article II. Under Article I as under Article II, the States and the people of the States do enjoy the reserved power to establish substantive eligibility requirements for candidates, and Congress has no power to override these requirements. But just as Article II authorizes Congress to prescribe when the States must select their Presidential electors, so Article I gives Congress the ultimate authority over the times, places, and manner of holding congressional elections.
Even if the majority were correct that Congress could not nullify impossible qualifications, however, the Constitution itself proscribes such state laws. The majority surely would concede that under the Framers' Constitution, each state legislature had an affirmative duty to appoint two people to the Senate. See Art. I, § 3, cl. 1 ("The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof . . ." (emphasis added)); cf. Art. I, § 3, cl. 2 ("if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies"). In exactly the same way that § 3 requires the States to send people to the Senate, § 2 also requires the States to send people to the House. See Art. I, § 2, cl. 1 ("The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States . . ."); cf. Art. I, § 2, cl. 4 ("When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies").
The majority apparently is concerned that (on its reading of the "make or alter" power) Congress would not be able to enforce the constitutional proscription on impossible qualifications; enforcement would instead be relegated to the courts, the Executive Branch, or the political process. But this concern is equally applicable whether one adopts my view of the Qualifications Clauses or the majority's view. Both the majority and I agree that it is unconstitutional for
It would not necessarily be unusual if the Framers had decided against using Congress' "make or alter" power to guard against state laws that disqualify everyone from service in the House. After all, although this power extended to the times and manner of selecting Senators as well as Representatives, it did not authorize Congress to pick the Senators from a State whose legislature defied its constitutional obligations and refused to appoint anyone. This does not mean that the States had no duty to appoint Senators, or that the States retained the power to destroy the Federal Government by the simple expedient of refusing to meet this duty. It merely means that the Framers did not place the remedy with Congress.
But the flaws in the majority's argument go deeper. Contrary to the majority's basic premise, Congress can nullify state laws that establish impossible qualifications. If a State actually holds an election and only afterwards purports to disqualify the winner for failure to meet an impossible condition, Congress certainly would not be bound by the purported disqualification. It is up to each House of Congress to judge the "[q]ualifications" of its Members for itself. See Art. I, § 5, cl. 1. Even if this task includes the responsibility of judging qualifications imposed by state law, see supra, at 892-893, Congress obviously would have not only
It follows that the situation feared by the majority would arise only if the State refused to hold an election in the first place, on the ground that no candidate could meet the impossible qualification. But Congress unquestionably has the power to override such a refusal. Under the plain terms of § 4, Congress can make a regulation providing for the State to hold a congressional election at a particular time and place, and in a particular manner.
In discussing the ratification period, the majority stresses two principal data. One of these pieces of evidence is no evidence at all—literally. The majority devotes considerable space to the fact that the recorded ratification debates do not contain any affirmative statement that the States can supplement the constitutional qualifications. See ante, at 812-815. For the majority, this void is "compelling" evidence that "unquestionably reflects the Framers' common understanding that States lacked that power." Ante, at 812, 814. The majority reasons that delegates at several of the ratifying conventions attacked the Constitution for failing to require Members of Congress to rotate out of office.
But the majority's argument cuts both ways. The recorded ratification debates also contain no affirmative statement that the States cannot supplement the constitutional qualifications. While ratification was being debated, the existing rule in America was that the States could prescribe eligibility requirements for their delegates to Congress, see n. 3, supra, even though the Articles of Confederation gave Congress itself no power to impose such qualifications. If
The fact is that arguments based on the absence of recorded debate at the ratification conventions are suspect, because the surviving records of those debates are fragmentary. We have no records at all of the debates in several of the conventions, 3 Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution 7 (M. Jensen ed. 1978), and only spotty the records from most of others, see ibid.; 1 id., at 34-35; 4 Elliot 342; Hutson, The Creation of the Constitution: The Integrity of the Documentary Record, 65 Texas L. Rev. 1, 21-23 (1986).
If one concedes that the absence of relevant records from the ratification debates is not strong evidence for either side, then the majority's only significant piece of evidence from the ratification period is The Federalist No. 52. Contrary to the majority's assertion, however, this essay simply does not talk about "the lack of state control over the qualifications of the elected," whether "explicitly" or otherwise. See ante, at 806.
It is true that The Federalist No. 52 contrasts the Constitution's treatment of the qualifications of voters in elections for the House of Representatives with its treatment of the qualifications of the Representatives themselves. As Madison noted, the Framers did not specify any uniform qualifications for the franchise in the Constitution; instead, they simply incorporated each State's rules about eligibility to vote in elections for the most numerous branch of the state legislature. By contrast, Madison continued, the Framers chose to impose some particular qualifications that all Members of the House had to satisfy. But while Madison did say that the qualifications of the elected were "more susceptible of uniformity" than the qualifications of electors, The Federalist No. 52, at 326, he did not say that the Constitution
Nor do I see any reason to infer from The Federalist No. 52 that the Framers intended to deprive the States of the power to add to these minimum qualifications. Madison did note that the existing state constitutions defined the qualifications of "the elected"—a phrase that the essay used to refer to Members of Congress—"less carefully and properly" than they defined the qualifications of voters. But Madison could not possibly have been rebuking the States for setting unduly high qualifications for their representatives in Congress, because they actually had established only the sketchiest of qualifications. At the time that Madison wrote, the various state constitutions generally provided for the state legislature to appoint the State's delegates to the Federal Congress.
Though The Federalist No. 52 did not address this question, one might wonder why the Qualifications Clauses did not simply incorporate the existing qualifications for members of the state legislatures (as opposed to delegates to Congress). Again, however, the Framers' failure to do so cannot be taken as an implicit criticism of the States for setting unduly high entrance barriers. To the contrary, the age and citizenship qualifications set out in the Federal Constitution are considerably higher than the corresponding qualifications contained in the state constitutions that were then in force. At the time, no state constitution required members of the lower house of the state legislature to be more than 21 years old, and only two required members of the upper house to be 30. See N. H. Const. of 1784, Pt. II, in 4 Thorpe 2460; S. C. Const. of 1778, Art. XII, in 6 Thorpe 3250. Many
The majority responds that at the time of the framing, most States imposed property qualifications on members of the state legislature. See ante, at 807-808, n. 18. But the fact that the Framers did not believe that a uniform minimum property requirement was necessary to protect the competence of Congress surely need not mean that the Framers intended to preclude States from setting their own property qualifications.
In fact, the constitutional text supports the contrary inference. As the majority observes, see ibid., and ante, at 825, n. 35, at the time of the framing some States also imposed religious qualifications on state legislators. The Framers evidently did not want States to impose such qualifications on federal legislators, for the Constitution specifically provides that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." Art. VI, cl. 3. Both the context
More than a century ago, this Court was asked to invalidate a Michigan election law because it called for Presidential electors to be elected on a district-by-district basis rather than being chosen by "the State" as a whole. See Art. II, § 1, cl. 2. Conceding that the Constitution might be ambiguous on this score, the Court asserted that "where there is ambiguity or doubt, or where two views may well be entertained, contemporaneous and subsequent practical construction[s] are entitled to the greatest weight." McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U. S., at 27. The Court then described the district-based selection processes used in 2 of the 10 States that participated in the first Presidential election in 1788, 3 of the 15 States that participated in 1792, and 5 of the 16 States that participated in 1796. Id., at 29-31. Though acknowledging that in subsequent years "most of the States adopted the general ticket system," id., at 32, the Court nonetheless found this history "decisive" proof of the constitutionality of the district method, id., at 36. Thus, the Court resolved its doubts in favor of the state law, "the contemporaneous practical exposition of the Constitution being too strong and obstinate to be shaken . . . ." Id., at 27.
Here, too, state practice immediately after the ratification of the Constitution refutes the majority's suggestion that the Qualifications Clauses were commonly understood as being exclusive. Five States supplemented the constitutional disqualifications in their very first election laws, and the surviving records suggest that the legislatures of these States considered and rejected the interpretation of the Constitution that the majority adopts today.
In Massachusetts, for instance, the legislature charged a committee with drafting a report on election methods. The fourth article of the resulting report called for the State to be divided into eight districts that would each elect one representative, but did not require that the representatives be residents of the districts that elected them. Joint Committee Report (Nov. 4, 1788), in 1 First Federal Elections 481. When the members of the State House of Representatives discussed this report, those who proposed adding a district residency requirement were met with the claim that the Federal Constitution barred the legislature from specifying additional qualifications. See Massachusetts Centinel (Nov. 8, 1788) (reporting proceedings), in 1 First Federal Elections 489. After "considerable debate," the House approved the committee's version of the fourth article by a vote of 89 to 72. Ibid. But the State Senate approved a district residency amendment, 1 First Federal Elections 502, and the House then voted to retain it, id., at 504.
Although we have no record of the legislative debates over Virginia's election law, a letter written by one of the members of the House of Delegates during the relevant period indicates that in that State, too, the legislature considered the possible constitutional objection to additional disqualifications. In that letter, Edward Carrington (an opponent of the district residency requirement) expressed his view that the requirement "may exceed the powers of the Assembly,"
The surviving records from Maryland and Georgia are less informative, but they, too, show that the legislatures of those States gave special attention to the district residency requirements that they enacted.
The majority's argument also fails to account for the durational element of the residency requirements adopted in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia (and soon thereafter in Tennessee). These States obliged Congressmen not only to be district residents when elected but also to have been district residents for at least a year before then. See n. 31, supra.
Finally, the majority's argument cannot explain the election schemes of Maryland and Georgia. Though these States did divide themselves into congressional districts, they allowed every voter to vote for one candidate from each
The majority nonetheless suggests that the initial election laws adopted by the States actually support its position because the States did not enact very many disqualifications. See ante, at 826-827, n. 41. In this context, the majority alludes to the fact that no State imposed a religious qualification on federal legislators, even though New Hampshire continued to require state legislators to be Protestants and North Carolina imposed a similar requirement on people holding places of trust in the State's "civil department." See ante, at 826-827, n. 41, and 825, n. 35. But the majority concedes that "Article VI of the Federal Constitution . . . prohibited States from imposing similar qualifications on federal legislators." Ante, at 825, n. 35. As discussed above, the constitutional treatment of religious qualifications tends to undermine rather than support the majority's case. See supra, at 903-904.
The majority also points out that no State required its own federal representatives to rotate out of office after serving one or more terms. Ante, at 826. At the time of the framing, however, such requirements were increasingly disfavored on policy grounds. The advantages of incumbency were substantially fewer then than now, and turnover in office was naturally quite high. The perceived advantages of term limits were therefore smaller than they are today. But the perceived disadvantages were just as great: Term limits prevented the States or the people of the States from keeping good legislators in office, even if they wanted to do so.
It istrue that under the Articles of Confederation, four States had imposed term limits on their delegates to Congress. See ante, at 826. But three of these provisions added nothing to the limits in the Articles themselves, see Md. Const. of 1776, Form of Government, Art. XXVII (echoing Article of Confederation V), in 3 Thorpe 1695; N. H. Const. of 1784, Pt. II (same), in 4 Thorpe 2467; N. C. Const. of 1776, Art. XXXVII (similar), in 5 Thorpe 2793, and the other one contained only a minor variation on the provision in the Articles, see Pa. Const. of 1776, Frame of Government, § 11, in 5 Thorpe 3085. Indeed, though the majority says States that "many imposed term limits on state officers," ante, at 825-826, it appears that at the time of the framing only Pennsylvania imposed any restriction on the reelection of members of the state legislature, and Pennsylvania deleted this restriction when it adopted a new Constitution in 1790. Compare Pa. Const. of 1776, Frame of Government, § 8, in 5 Thorpe 3084, with Pa. Const. of 1790, in 5 Thorpe 3092-3103; cf. Va. Const. of 1776, Form of Government (perhaps imposing term limits on members of the upper house of the state legislature), in 7 Thorpe 3816. It seems likely, then, that the failure of any State to impose term limits on its senators and representatives simply reflected policy-based decisions against such restrictions.
The majority counters that the delegates at three state ratifying conventions—in Virginia, New York, and North Carolina—"proposed amendments that would have required rotation." Ante, at 813; cf. ante, at 826, and n. 40. But the amendments proposed by both the North Carolina Convention and the Virginia Convention would have imposed term limits only on the President, not on Members of Congress. See 4 Elliot 245 (North Carolina) ("[N]o person shall be capable of being President of the United States for more than eight years in any term of fifteen years"); 3 id., at 660
The same is true of the final category of historical evidence discussed by the majority: controversies in the House and the Senate over seating candidates who were duly elected but who arguably failed to satisfy qualifications imposed by state law.
A Maryland statute dating from 1802 had created a district entitled to send two representatives to the House, one of whom had to be a resident of Baltimore County and the other of whom had to be a resident of Baltimore City. McCreery was elected to the Ninth Congress as a resident of Baltimore City. After his reelection to the Tenth Congress, however, his qualifications were challenged on the ground that because he divided his time between his summer estate in Baltimore County and his residence in Washington, D. C., he was no longer a resident of Baltimore City at all.
As the majority notes, a report of the House Committee of Elections recommended that McCreery be seated on the ground that state legislatures have no authority to add to the qualifications set forth in the Constitution. See 17 Annals of Cong. 871 (1807); ante, at 816-817. But the committee's submission of this initial report sparked a heated debate that spanned four days, with many speeches on both sides of the issue. See 17 Annals of Cong. 871-919, 927-947 (reporting proceedings from Nov. 12, 13, 16, and 18, 1807). Finally, a large majority of the House voted to recommit the report to the Committee of Elections. Id., at 950 (Nov. 19, 1807). The committee thereupon deleted all references to the
The majority needs more than that. The prohibition that today's majority enforces is found nowhere in the text of the Qualifications Clauses. In the absence of evidence that the Clauses nonetheless were generally understood at the time of the framing to imply such a prohibition, we may not use the Clauses to invalidate the decisions of a State or its people.
It is radical enough for the majority to hold that the Constitution implicitly precludes the people of the States from prescribing any eligibility requirements for the congressional
In order to invalidate § 3 of Amendment 73, however, the majority must go further. The bulk of the majority's analysis—like Part II of my dissent—addresses the issues that would be raised if Arkansas had prescribed "genuine, unadulterated, undiluted term limits." See Rotunda, 73 Ore. L. Rev., at 570. But as the parties have agreed, Amendment 73 does not actually create this kind of disqualification. See
One might think that this is a distinction without a difference. As the majority notes, "[t]he uncontested data submitted to the Arkansas Supreme Court" show that write-in candidates have won only six congressional elections in this century. Ante, at 830, n. 43. But while the data's accuracy is indeed "uncontested," petitioners filed an equally uncontested affidavit challenging the data's relevance. As political science professor James S. Fay swore to the Arkansas Supreme Court, "[m]ost write-in candidacies in the past have been waged by fringe candidates, with little public support and extremely low name identification." App. 201. To the best of Professor Fay's knowledge, in modern times only two incumbent Congressmen have ever sought reelection as write-in candidates. One of them was Dale Alford of Arkansas, who had first entered the House of Representatives by winning 51% of the vote as a write-in candidate in 1958; Alford then waged a write-in campaign for reelection in 1960, winning a landslide 83% of the vote against an opponent who enjoyed a place on the ballot. Id., at 201-202. The other incumbent write-in candidate was Philip J. Philbin of Massachusetts, who—despite losing his party primary and thus his spot on the ballot—won 27% of the vote in his unsuccessful write-in candidacy. See id. , at 203. According to Professor Fay, these results—coupled with other examples of successful write-in campaigns, such as Ross Perot's victory in North Dakota's 1992 Democratic Presidential primary—"demonstrate that when a write-in candidate is well-known and well-funded, it is quite possible for him or her to win an election." Ibid.
One possible explanation for why the actual effect of the Arkansas amendment might be irrelevant is that the Arkansas Supreme Court has already issued a binding determination of fact on this point. Thus, the majority notes that "the state court" has advised us that "there is nothing more than a faint glimmer of possibility that the excluded candidate will win." Ante, at 830. But the majority is referring to a mere plurality opinion, signed by only three of the seven justices who decided the case below. One of the two justices who concurred in the plurality's holding that Amendment 73 violates the Qualifications Clauses did write that "as a practical matter, the amendment would place term limits on service in the Congress," but he immediately followed this comment with the concession that write-in candidacies are not entirely hopeless; his point was simply that "as a practical matter, write-in candidates are at a distinct disadvantage." 316 Ark., at 276; 872 S. W. 2d, at 364 (Dudley, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). As a result, the majority may rely upon the state court only for the proposition that Amendment 73 makes the specified candidates "distinct[ly]" worse off than they would be in its absence— an unassailable proposition that petitioners have conceded.
In the current posture of these cases, indeed, it would have been extremely irregular for the Arkansas Supreme Court to have gone any further. Disputed questions of fact, in Arkansas as elsewhere, generally are resolved at trial rather than on appeal from the entry of summary judgment. See
Instead, the majority emphasizes another purported conclusion of the Arkansas Supreme Court. As the majority notes, the plurality below asserted that "[t]he intent" of Amendment 73 was "to disqualify congressional incumbents from further service." 316 Ark., at 266, 872 S. W. 2d, at 357. According to the majority, "[w]e must, of course, accept the state court's view of the purpose of its own law: We are thus authoritatively informed that the sole purpose of § 3 of Amendment 73 was to attempt to achieve a result that is forbidden by the Federal Constitution." Ante, at 829.
I am not sure why the intent behind a law should affect our analysis under the Qualifications Clauses. If a law does not in fact add to the constitutional qualifications, the mistaken expectations of the people who enacted it would not seem to affect whether it violates the alleged exclusivity of those Clauses. But in any event, the majority is wrong about what "the state court" has told us. Even the plurality
The majority suggests that this does not matter, because Amendment 73 itself says that it has the purpose of "evading the requirements of the Qualifications Clauses." See ante, at 831 (referring to the "avowed purpose" of Amendment 73). The majority bases this assertion on the amendment's preamble, which speaks of "limit[ing] the terms of elected officials." See ante, at 830. But this statement may be referring only to §§ 1 and 2 of Amendment 73, which impose true term limits on state officeholders. Even if the statement refers to § 3 as well, it may simply reflect the limiting effects that the drafters of the preamble expected to flow from what they perceived as the restoration of electoral competition to congressional races. See infra, at 924. In any event, inquiries into legislative intent are even more difficult than usual when the legislative body whose unified intent must be determined consists of 825,162 Arkansas voters.
The majority nonetheless thinks it clear that the goal of § 3 is "to prevent the election of incumbents." See ante, at 830, 836. In reaching this conclusion at the summaryjudgment stage, however, the majority has given short shrift to petitioners' contrary claim. Petitioners do not deny that § 3 of Amendment 73 intentionally handicaps a class of candidates, in the sense that it decreases their pre-existing electoral chances. But petitioners do deny that § 3 is intended to (or will in fact) "prevent" the covered candidates from winning reelection, or "disqualify" them from further service. One of petitioners' central arguments is that congressionally conferred advantages have artificially inflated the pre-existing electoral chances of the covered candidates, and
To understand this argument requires some background. Current federal law (enacted, of course, by congressional incumbents) confers numerous advantages on incumbents, and these advantages are widely thought to make it "significantly more difficult" for challengers to defeat them. Cf. ante, at 831. For instance, federal law gives incumbents enormous advantages in building name recognition and good will in their home districts. See, e. g., 39 U. S. C. § 3210 (permitting Members of Congress to send "franked" mail free of charge); 2 U. S. C. §§ 61-1, 72a, 332 (permitting Members to have sizable taxpayer-funded staffs); 2 U. S. C. § 123b (establishing the House Recording Studio and the Senate Recording and Photographic Studios).
Cynics see no accident in any of this. As former Representative Frenzel puts it: "The practice . . . is for incumbents to devise institutional structures and systems that favor incumbents." App. to Brief for State of Washington as Amicus Curiae A-3. In fact, despite his service from 1971 to 1989 on the House Administration Committee (which has jurisdiction over election laws), Representative Frenzel can identify no instance in which Congress "changed election laws in such a way as to lessen the chances of re-election for incumbents, or to improve the election opportunities for challengers." Ibid.
At the same time that incumbents enjoy the electoral advantages that they have conferred upon themselves, they also enjoy astonishingly high reelection rates. As Lloyd Cutler reported in 1989, "over the past thirty years a weighted average of ninety percent of all House and Senate incumbents of both parties who ran for reelection were reelected, even at times when their own party lost control of the Presidency itself." Cutler, Now is the Time for All Good Men . . . , 30 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 387, 395; see also Kristol, Term Limitations: Breaking Up the Iron Triangle, 16 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Policy 95, 97, and n. 11 (1993) (reporting that in the 100th Congress, as many Representatives died as were defeated at the polls). Even in the November 1994 elections, which are widely considered to have effected the most sweeping change in Congress in recent memory, 90% of the incumbents who sought reelection to the House were successful, and nearly half of the losers were completing only their first terms. Reply Brief for Petitioners U. S. Term Limits, Inc., et al. 4, n. 5. Only 2 of the 26 Senate incumbents seeking reelection were defeated, see ibid., and one of
The voters of Arkansas evidently believe that incumbents would not enjoy such overwhelming success if electoral contests were truly fair—that is, if the government did not put its thumb on either side of the scale. The majority offers no reason to question the accuracy of this belief. Given this context, petitioners portray § 3 of Amendment 73 as an effort at the state level to offset the electoral advantages that congressional incumbents have conferred upon themselves at the federal level.
To be sure, the offset is only rough and approximate; no one knows exactly how large an electoral benefit comes with having been a long-term Member of Congress, and no one knows exactly how large an electoral disadvantage comes from forcing a well-funded candidate with high name recognition to run a write-in campaign. But the majority does not base its holding on the premise that Arkansas has struck the wrong balance. Instead, the majority holds that the Qualifications Clauses preclude Arkansas from trying to strike any balance at all; the majority simply says that "an amendment with the avowed purpose and obvious effect of evading the requirements of the Qualifications Clauses by handicapping a class of candidates cannot stand." Ante, at 831. Thus, the majority apparently would reach the same result even if one could demonstrate at trial that the electoral advantage conferred by Amendment 73 upon challengers precisely counterbalances the electoral advantages conferred by federal law upon long-term Members of Congress.
For me, this suggests only two possibilities. Either the majority's holding is wrong and Amendment 73 does not violate the Qualifications Clauses, or (assuming the accuracy of petitioners' factual claims) the electoral system that exists without Amendment 73 is no less unconstitutional than the electoral system that exists with Amendment 73.
To analyze such laws under the Qualifications Clauses may open up whole new vistas for courts. If it is true that "the current congressional campaign finance system . . . has created an electoral system so stacked against challengers that in many elections voters have no real choices," Wertheimer & Manes, 94 Colum. L. Rev., at 1133, are the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974 unconstitutional under (of all things) the Qualifications Clauses? Cf. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) (upholding the current system against First Amendment challenge). If it can be shown that nonminorities are at a significant disadvantage when they seek election in districts dominated by minority voters, would the intentional creation of "majority-minority
The majority's opinion may not go so far, although it does not itself suggest any principled stopping point. No matter how narrowly construed, however, today's decision reads the Qualifications Clauses to impose substantial implicit prohibitions on the States and the people of the States. I would not draw such an expansive negative inference from the fact that the Constitution requires Members of Congress to be a certain age, to be inhabitants of the States that they represent, and to have been United States citizens for a specified period. Rather, I would read the Qualifications Clauses to do no more than what they say. I respectfully dissent.
Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal in No. 93-1456 were filed for the Alaska Committee for a Citizen Congress et al. by Jeanette R. Burrage; for the Allied Educational Foundation by Bertram R. Gelfand and Jeffrey C. Dannenberg; and for Governor John Engler by Stephen J. Safranek.
Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance in both cases were filed for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. by Kevin J. Hamilton and Steven R. Shapiro; for the California Democratic Party by Daniel H. Lowenstein and Jonathan H. Steinberg; for the League of Women Voters of the United States et al. by Frederic C. Tausend and Herbert E. Wilgis III; and for Henry J. Hyde by Charles A. Rothfeld.
"In addition to the three qualifications set forth in Art. I, § 2, Art. I, § 3, cl. 7, authorizes the disqualification of any person convicted in an impeachment proceeding from `any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States'; Art. I, § 6, cl. 2, provides that `no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office'; and § 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies any person `who, having previously taken an oath . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.' It has been argued that each of these provisions, as well as the Guarantee Clause of Article IV and the oath requirement of Art. VI, cl. 3, is no less a `qualification' within the meaning of Art. I, § 5, than those set forth in Art. I, § 2." Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 520, n. 41 (1969).
In Powell, we saw no need to resolve the question whether those additional provisions constitute "qualifications," because "both sides agree that Powell was not ineligible under any of these provisions." Ibid. We similarly have no need to resolve that question today: Because those additional provisions are part of the text of the Constitution, they have little bearing on whether Congress and the States may add qualifications to those that appear in the Constitution.
"It would seem but fair reasoning upon the plainest principles of interpretation, that when the constitution established certain qualifications, as necessary for office, it meant to exclude all others, as prerequisites. From the very nature of such a provision, the affirmation of these qualifications would seem to imply a negative of all others." 1 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States § 625 (3d ed. 1858) (hereinafter Story). See also Warren 421 ("As the Constitution . . . expressly set forth the qualifications of age, citizenship, and residence, and as the Convention refused to grant to Congress power to establish qualifications in general, the maxim expressio unius exclusio alterius would seem to apply").
As Dickinson's comment demonstrates, the Framers were well aware of the expressio unius argument that would result from their wording of the Qualifications Clauses; they adopted that wording nonetheless. There thus is no merit either to the dissent's suggestion that Story was the first to articulate the expressio unius argument, see post, at 868-869, or to the dissent's assertion that that argument is completely without merit.
Moreover, the Court has never treated the dissent's "default rule" as absolute. In McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316 (1819), for example, Chief Justice Marshall rejected the argument that the Constitution's silence on state power to tax federal instrumentalities requires that States have the power to do so. Under the dissent's unyielding approach, it would seem that McCulloch was wrongly decided. Similarly, the dissent's approach would invalidate our dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence, because the Constitution is clearly silent on the subject of state legislation that discriminates against interstate commerce. However, though Justice Thomas has endorsed just that argument, see, e. g., Oklahoma Tax Comm'n v. Jefferson Lines, Inc., ante, p. 175 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment, joined by Thomas, J.), the Court has consistently rejected that argument and has continued to apply the dormant Commerce Clause, see, e. g., ante, at 179-180; Bendix Autolite Corp. v. Midwesco Enterprises, Inc., 486 U.S. 888 (1988).
The conclusion and analysis were also consistent with the positions taken by commentators and scholars. See, e. g., n. 9, supra; see also Warren 412-422 (discussing history and concluding that "[t]he elimination of all power in Congress to fix qualifications clearly left the provisions of the Constitution itself as the sole source of qualifications").
The text of The Federalist No. 52 belies the dissent's reading. First, Madison emphasized that "[t]he qualifications of the elected . . . [were] more susceptible of uniformity." His emphasis on uniformity would be quite anomalous if he envisioned that States would create for their representatives a patchwork of qualifications. Second, the idea that Madison was in fact concerned that States would open the doors to national service too widely is entirely inconsistent with Madison's emphasizing that the Constitution kept "the door . . . open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith." The Federalist No. 52, at 326.
Finally the dissent argues that "Madison could not possibly have been rebuking the States for setting unduly high qualifications for their representatives in Congress," post, at 901, and suggests that Madison's comments do not reflect "an implicit criticism of the States for setting unduly high entrance barriers," post, at 902. We disagree. Though the dissent attempts to minimize the extensiveness of state-imposed qualifications by focusing on the qualifications that States imposed on delegates to Congress and the age restrictions that they imposed on state legislators, the dissent neglects to give appropriate attention to the abundance of property, religious, and other qualifications that States imposed on state elected officials. As we describe in some detail, infra, at 823-826, nearly every State had property qualifications, and many States had religious qualifications, term limits, or other qualifications. As Madison surely recognized, without a constitutional prohibition, these qualifications could be applied to federal representatives. We cannot read Madison's comments on the "open door" of the Federal Government as anything but a rejection of the "unduly high" barriers imposed by States.
"but, on so recent a change of view, caution requires us not to be too confident, and that we admit this to be one of the doubtful questions on which honest men may differ with the purest of motives; and the more readily, as we find we have differed from ourselves on it." Id. , at 83. The text of Jefferson's response clearly belies the dissent's suggestion that Jefferson "himself did not entertain serious doubts of its correctness." Post, at 874, n. 14.
"The power under the Constitution will always be in the People. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own chusing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their Interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their Servants can, and undoubtedly will be, recalled." 1 Bailyn 305, 306-307.
Petitioners first observe that the notes of Edmund Randolph, who was a member of the Committee of Detail, reveal that an early draft of the Qualifications Clause provided:
"The qualifications of (a) delegates shall be the age of twenty-five years at least. and citizenship: (and any person possessing these qualifications may be elected except)." 2 Farrand 139 (footnote omitted). Petitioners suggest that the deletion of the parenthetical material from the Clause suggests that the Framers did not intend the Qualifications Clause to be exclusive. We reject this argument. First, there is no evidence that the draft in Randolph's notes was ever presented to the Convention, and thus the deletion of the Clause tells us little about the views of the Convention as a whole. Moreover, even assuming that the Convention had seen the draft, the deletion of the language without comment is at least as consistent with a belief—as suggested by Dickinson, see n. 9, supra —that the language was superfluous as with a concern that the language was inappropriate. Finally, contrary to the rather ingenious argument advanced in the dissent, see post, at 887-888, it seems to us irrelevant that the draft in question did not include a comparable parenthetical clause referring to "elected" Senators because the draft contemplated that Senators, unlike Representatives, would not be chosen by popular election.
Nor is there merit to the argument that the inclusion in the Committee's final draft of a provision allowing each House to add property qualifications, see 2 Farrand 179, is somehow inconsistent with our holding today. First, there is no conflict between our holding that the qualifications for Congress are fixed in the Constitution and a provision in the Constitution itself providing for property qualifications. Indeed, that is why our analysis is consistent with the other disqualifications contained in the Constitution itself. See n. 2, supra. The Constitution simply prohibits the imposition by either States or Congress of additional qualifications that are not contained in the text of the Constitution. Second, of course, the property provision was deleted, thus providing further evidence that the Framers wanted to minimize the barriers that would exclude the most able citizens from service in the National Government.
Respondent Republican Party of Arkansas also argues that the negative phrasing of the Qualifications Clauses suggests that they were not meant to be exclusive. Brief for Respondents Republican Party of Arkansas et al. 5-6. This argument was firmly rejected in Powell, see 395 U. S., at 537-539, and n. 73; see also Warren 422, n. 1, and we see no need to revisit it now.
The dissent concedes that the people of the Nation have an interest in preventing any State from sending "immature, disloyal, or unknowledgeable representatives to Congress," post, at 869, but does not explain why the people of the Nation lack a comparable interest in allowing every State to send mature, loyal, and knowledgeable representatives to Congress. In our view, the interest possessed by the people of the Nation and identified by the dissent is the same as the people's interest in making sure that, within "reasonable limitations, the door to this part of the federal government is open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith." The Federalist No. 52, at 326.
"First, that in a representative government, the people have an undoubted right to judge for themselves of the qualification of their delegate, and if their opinion of the integrity of their representative will supply the want of estate, there can be no reason for the government to interfere, by saying, that the latter must and shall overbalance the former.
"Secondly; by requiring a qualification in estate it may often happen, that men the best qualified in other respects might be incapacitated from serving their country." Ibid.
Several State Constitutions also imposed religious qualifications on state representatives. For example, New Hampshire's Constitution of 1784 and its Constitution of 1792 provided that members of the State Senate and House of Representatives be "of the protestant religion." 4 id. , at 2460, 2461-2462 (1784 Constitution); id. , at 2477, 2479 (1792 Constitution). North Carolina's Constitution provided that "no clergyman, or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the Senate, House of Commons, or Council of State," 5 id. , at 2793, and that "no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion . . . shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State," ibid. Georgia and South Carolina also had religious qualifications in their Constitutions for state legislators, see 2 id. , at 779 (Georgia) ("of the Protestant religion"); 6 id. , at 3252 (South Carolina) (must be "of the Protestant religion"), but deleted those provisions when they amended their Constitutions, in 1789, see 2 id. , at 785, and in 1790, see 6 id. , at 3258, respectively. Article VI of the Federal Constitution, however, prohibited States from imposing similar qualifications on federal legislators.
Nor are we persuaded by the more recent state practice involving qualifications such as those that bar felons from being elected. As we have noted, the practice of States is a poor indicator of the effect of restraints on the States, and no court has ever upheld one of these restrictions. Moreover, as one moves away from 1789, it seems to us that state practice is even less indicative of the Framers' understanding of state power.
Finally, it is important to reemphasize that the dissent simply has no credible explanation as to why almost every State imposed property qualifications on state representatives but not on federal representatives. The dissent relies first on the obvious but seemingly irrelevant proposition that the state legislatures were larger than state congressional delegations. Post, at 913-914, n. 37. If anything, the smaller size of the congressional delegation would have made States more likely to put qualifications on federal representatives since the election of any "pauper" would have had proportionally greater significance. The dissent also suggests that States failed to add qualifications out of fear that others, e. g., Congress, believed that States lacked the power to add such qualifications. Of course, this rationale is perfectly consistent with our view that the general understanding at the time was that States lacked the power to add qualifications.
"The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators."
Marshall did go on to argue that the power to tax the operations of the Bank of the United States simply was not susceptible to control by the people of a single State. See 4 Wheat., at 430. But that theory is perfectly consistent with my position. Marshall reasoned that the people of a single State may not tax the instrumentalities employed by the people of all the States through the National Government, because such taxation would effectively subject the people of the several States to the taxing power of a single State. See id., at 428. This sort of argument proves that the people of a single State may not prescribe qualifications for the President of the United States; the selection of the President, like the operation of the Bank of the United States, is not up to the people of any single State. See infra, at 862. It does not follow, however, that the people of a single State may not prescribe qualifications for their own representatives in Congress.
These statements about the Clause's purposes also help refute the majority's claim that it was bizarre for the Framers to leave the States relatively free to enact qualifications for congressional office while simultaneously giving Congress "make or alter" power over the States' time, place, and manner regulations. See infra, at 896-898.
Similarly, the majority quotes a newspaper piece written by John Stevens, Jr., to the people of New York. See ante, at 819-820. But Stevens gave the following explanation for his assertion that "[n]o man who has real merit . . . need despair" under the system erected by the Constitution: "He first distinguishes himself amongst his neighbours at township and county meeting; he is next sent to the State Legislature. In this theatre his abilities . . . are . . . displayed to the views of every man in the State: from hence his ascent to a seat in Congress becomes easy and sure." "Americanus," Daily Advertiser, Dec. 12, 1787, in 1 Bailyn 487, 492. As the States indisputably controlled eligibility requirements for membership in the various state legislatures, and indeed had established some disqualifications, I do not read Stevens to be saying that they were barred from doing the same thing with respect to Congress. Without addressing whether the people of the States may supplement the Qualifications Clauses, Stevens was merely praising the Constitution for imposing few such requirements of its own.
Likewise, Powell drew support from Alexander Hamilton's comments in The Federalist No. 60, which the majority also quotes. See ante, at 791. But as the majority concedes, when Hamilton wrote that "[t]he qualifications of the persons who may choose or be chosen [for Congress] . . . are defined and fixed in the Constitution, and are unalterable by the legislature," he was merely restating his prior observation that the power to set qualifications "forms no part of the power to be conferred upon the national government." See The Federalist No. 60, at 371 (emphasis added). Indeed, only if "the legislature" to which Hamilton was referring is Congress can one make sense of his remark that the qualifications of voters as well as Congressmen are "fixed in the Constitution" and "unalterable by the legislature." Hamilton surely knew that the States or the people of the States control eligibility for the franchise. See Art. I, § 2, cl.1.
The majority does omit the context necessary to understand one aspect of the historical evidence presented in Powell. The majority quotes Powell `s observation that "on the eve of the Constitutional Convention, English precedent stood for the proposition that `the law of the land had regulated the qualifications of members to serve in parliament' and those qualifications were `not occasional but fixed.' " 395 U. S., at 528 (quoting 16 Parliamentary History of England 589, 590 (1769)); see ante, at 790. The English rule seems of only marginal relevance: The pre-existing rule in America—that States could add qualifications for their representatives in Congress, see n. 3, supra, while Congress itself could not—is surely more important. But in any event, Powell did not claim that the English rule deemed parliamentary qualifications to be fixed in the country's (unwritten) constitution, beyond the reach of a properly enacted law. Instead, qualifications were "fixed" rather than "occasional" only in the sense that neither House of Parliament could "exclude members-elect for general misconduct not within standing qualifications." Powell, 395 U. S., at 528. The English rule, in other words, was simply that when sitting as the judge of its members' qualifications, each House of Parliament could do no more than administer the pre-existing laws that defined those qualifications, see id., at 529, for "one House of Parliament cannot create a disability unknown to the law." T. Plucknett, Taswell-Langmead's English Constitutional History 585 (11th ed. 1960); cf. INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983). This history was relevant to Powell (which dealt with the grounds on which one House of Congress could exclude a Member-elect), but it is not relevant to this case.
Though one obviously could uphold the action of the people of Arkansas without reaching this issue, Madison's comments should not be read to suggest that the Elector-Qualifications Clause bars the people of a State from delegating their control over voter qualifications to the state legislature. The Clause itself refutes this reading; if a state constitution permits the state legislature to set voter qualifications, and if eligibility for the franchise in the State therefore turns on statutory rather than constitutional law, federal electors in the State still must meet the same qualifications as electors for the most numerous branch of the state legislature. Madison could not possibly have disagreed with this understanding of the Clause. Instead, he was simply explaining why, when it came to voter qualifications for House elections, the Framers had not followed the model of Article I, § 3, cl. 1, and vested ultimate control with the state legislatures (regardless of what the people of a State might provide in their state constitutions).
The majority properly does not cite the omission of this nationwide rotation requirement as evidence that the Framers meant to preclude individual States from adopting rotation requirements of their own. Just as individual States could extend the vote to women before the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, could prohibit poll taxes before the adoption of the Twenty-fourth Amendment, and could lower the voting age before the adoption of the Twenty-sixth Amendment, so the Framers' decision not to impose a nationwide limit on congressional terms did not itself bar States from adopting limits of their own. See, e. g., Ga. Const. of 1877, § 2-602 (adopted Aug. 3, 1943) (reducing voting age to 18 nearly three decades before the Twenty-sixth Amendment was proposed); Harman v. Forssenius, 380 U.S. 528, 539 (1965) (noting that by the time the Twenty-fourth Amendment was proposed, "only five States retained the poll tax as a voting requirement"); Congressional Research Service, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation 1571 (1973) (reporting that 11 States had adopted women's suffrage by the time the Nineteenth Amendment was proposed). Cf. ante, at 837, and n. 50.
In Georgia, too, the State House of Assembly called special attention to the district residency requirement. Shortly before Georgia held its first federal elections, the House adopted a resolution to stress that if the top votegetter in any district had not been "an actual resident of three years standing" in that district, then "such person shall not be considered as eligible nor shall he be commissioned." 2 First Federal Elections 459 (resolution of Feb. 4, 1789).
There is evidence that some members of the Pennsylvania Legislature considered the Qualifications Clauses to be exclusive. See 1 id., at 282— 288. Of course, they also believed that § 2 of Article I—which calls for Members of the Federal House of Representatives to be "chosen . . . by the People of the several States"—forbade Pennsylvania to elect its representatives by districts. See id., at 283. The legislatures of the five States that adopted district residency requirements, who had the Pennsylvania example before them, disagreed with the Pennsylvania legislators.
Even States that wanted to create such a qualification, and that considered it within their constitutional authority to do so, might have been deterred by the possibility that the Federal House of Representatives would take a different view. As I have shown, there certainly was no general understanding that the Qualifications Clauses included an unstated exclusivity provision. But people of the day did consider this to be "one of the doubtful questions on which honest men may differ with the purest motives." 14 Writings of Thomas Jefferson, at 83 (letter to Joseph C. Cabell, Jan. 31, 1814); see n. 14, supra. If some States feared that the "honest men" in the House might throw out the results of an election because of a qualifications law, they might well have thought that any policy benefits of such laws were outweighed by the risk that they would temporarily be deprived of representation in Congress. Alternatively, they may simply have wanted to stay away from difficult constitutional questions. Cf. Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288, 347 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring). Thus, despite concluding that the States do enjoy the power to prescribe qualifications, Thomas Jefferson questioned whether the advantages of added qualifications were sufficient to justify enacting a law whose constitutionality could be disputed. See 14 Writings of Thomas Jefferson, at 84.