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§ 128. “Qualifications of a Member.”

An analysis of this section is given in the notes to sec. 16, which provides that the qualifications of a senator shall be the same as those of a member of the House of Representatives. (See Note, § 95.)




  ― 475 ―

“The qualifications or positive requirements for holding a seat in the House of Commons are but three, viz.: the male sex, the full age of twenty-one years, and the quality of citizen or subject, either by birth or naturalization. The first of these requirements rests upon custom, which, therefore, either house might change through the exercise of its residuary power to judge of the qualifications of its members. The second and third, however, rest upon statutes of Parliament and cannot be modified by either house alone.” (Burgess Political Sc. II. p. 69.)

The constitution having fixed the qualification of members, no additional qualification can be added by the States. (Barney v. McCreery, Cl. and H. 176; Turney v. Marshall, 1 Cong. El. Cas. 167; Trumbull's Case, id. 618.) The Constitution of Illinois (1848) provided that: “The judges of the Supreme and Circuit Courts shall not be eligible to any other office of public trust or profit in this State or the United States during the term for which they shall be elected, nor for one year thereafter.” The House of Representatives of the United States held that this provision was void, in so far as it applied to persons elected members of the said house. (Turney v. Marshall, supra; Trumbull's Case, supra. Cited in Baker, Annot. Const. p. 5.)

The returns from the state authorities, showing or declaring that a certain person has been elected representative or senator in congress, are prima facie evidence of qualification only. (Spaulding v. Mead, Cl. and Hall, 157; Reed v. Cosden, id. 353.) And the refusal of the executive of the State to grant a certificate does not prejudice the right of one entitled to a seat.” (Richards' Case, Cl. and Hall, 95. Id. p. 10.)

In determining qualification each house has the right to examine witnesses and require the production of papers, and may punish witnesses for contumacy. (Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168. Id. p. 10.)

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