U.S. Constitution for Kids – Article 1, Section 2, Clause 4 – February 25, 2011
February 25, 2011 – Article 1, Section 2, Clause 4 – Interpretation of Mr. William Duncan’s Essay
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 4: When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
I know exactly what you are thinking: “Wow, that is short”. Yes, I thought so too, but what a short phrase with a “Kaboom!” of importance. The following Fun Facts will help us break Article 1, Section 2, Clause 4 down so we will further understand it.
Fun Fact #1
Well, first of all, what is “writs”? Well, my dictionary tells me that it is a noun, and it is a “legal document issued by a court or judicial officer”. But, in my words, it is a piece of legal paper giving authority. So, now that we understand that the phrase “..the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election…” just simply means that that Executive Authority of that state will call for an election to fill the vacancy.
Fun Fact #2
A fascinating, fun, fact is one that Mr. Duncan points out in his essay. This issue came up in our Founding Father’s time period when William Pinkney, a representative from Maryland, resigned from the House. In Britain’s House of Commons, resignation was not allowed. Were our Founding Father’s going to take that route? No, if a representative wanted to resign, they would be allowed to do so. In this Clause, our Founding Fathers give the governor of the state from which this situation is occurring, permission to issue an election, when he/she sees that there is a vacancy. (News Flash: this authority was granted to the state governor, not an executive on the federal level).
Fun Fact #3
So, in short, this clause simply gives the governor of the state from which the representative who is resigning is from, the right to issue an election to take place to fill that representative’s seat in the House.
Didn’t our Founding Father’s write down instructions for almost every single malfunction that might take place? All we need to do it look to this document in times of our country’s distress and it will lead us on the right path. Thank you Founding Fathers!