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The less numerous branch of the legislature.
The Constitution of the United States, Article 1, s. 3, directs that "the Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof for six years; and each senator shall have one vote." The vice president of the United States," to use the language of the Constitution, Art. 1, s. 3, "shall be president of the Senate, but shall have no vote unless they be equally divided." In the Senate each state in its political capacity, is represented, upon a footing of perfect equality, like a congress of sovereigns or ambassadors, or like an assembly of peers. It is unlike the house of representatives. where the people are represented.
The Senate of the United States is invested with legislative, executive and judicial powers.
It is a legislative body whose concurrence is requisite to the passage of every law. It may originate any bill, except those for raising revenue, which shall originate in the house of representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills. Const. Art. 1, s. 7.
The Senate is invested with executive authority in concluding treaties and making appointments.
It is invested with judicial power when it is formed into a court for the trial of impeachments. See Courts of the United States.
In most of the states the less numerous branch of the legislature bears the title of senate. In such a body the people are represented as well as in the other house.
Considerable resistance arose to the non-democratic method of chosing senators and direct election of the members of the Senate was accomplished by Amendment XVII to the U.S. Constitution which states:
"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the Legislature of any State may empower the Executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the Legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution."