Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/159

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Division of the Legislative Body into two Houses.—Senate.—House of Representatives.—Different functions of these two Bodies.

The legislative power of the State is vested in two assemblies, the first of which generally bears the name of the Senate.

The Senate is commonly a legislative body; but it sometimes becomes an executive and judicial one. It takes a part in the government in several ways, according to the constitution of the different States[1]; but it is in the nomination of public functionaries that it most commonly assumes an executive power.

It partakes of judicial power in the trial of certain political offences, and sometimes also in the decision of certain civil cases[2].

The number of its members is always small. The other branch of the legislature, which is usually called the House of Representatives, has no share whatever in the administration, and only takes a part in the judicial power in as much as it impeaches public functionaries before the Senate.

The members of the two Houses are nearly everywhere subject to the same conditions of election.

  1. In Massachusetts the Senate is not invested with any administrative functions.
  2. As in the State of New York. See the Constitution at the end of the Volume.