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Single Districts

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Mr. Ilowell, f rom tho commitíee on tbe judiciary, to whorn was referred a joint resolutíon proposing an amendment to thc constitution, so as to provide for the elccíion of mcmbors of the House of Representatives by single dislrícts, ubmitted the following report to the Señalo on Monday last: The cornmittee on the judiciary, to whom was re fe r red ihe joint resol ut ion proposing an amendmrnt to the constitution so as to próvido for the election of membcrs of tl;c Ilouse of Represéntame8 by single districts. respoctfully REPORT, That section tliree, of artk-le four. of thc constitution provides for the apportionmentof membcrs and senators among "I he se ve ral cóuntiés and districts according to the number of wh'üñ inhnbitanís." Section six of tho same article próvidas for the Ibrmalion of "senatorial districts." but no power is given by that or any other section of tlie constitution, lo Ihfi legislatuie anthorizing tlie formation ofT It is contcmplated that whero there is 10 prohibilitm in the constitution, ihc . iglit to cxcrcise n power is as clear as htjugh it wero expressly grnntcd by thnt j nstrument. Froni ihis proposition the :ommittee most unequivocally dissent. t Ncilhor ihe legislature, nor any other c epnrtment, or officer of Government, nn righifully cxercise any power not c iressly grunted. All other powers are r nhcrent in the peoj)]e and reserved by a hem; and any infraction of a reserved igiit by the legislalure, is as dangerous o the public libertv. as the exerciae of n over expressly prohibited by the c ulion itself. p The doctrine once conceded, that this legative power may be invaded by the P ogislaturc, and no limit can be fixed for n ts exercise, save the opinions and judgnent of those intj whose hands its ïse is thrown. That n construct ion should bc givcn to n orgauic law of the land, depending tj pon the frailty of huainn judgm'ent for s permanency, cannot for a moment be jlerated. If under the existing provisions of ihe Ik onstiiution, the state should be divided si )Io single rppresentntive districts, and ie representatives of any county entiiled t0 ) more than one, should, aftertheir 'lh on, remove into one of the districts of l ' 'ie same county, they would still be .C ed to their seals in tho legislature as embers from the county, and the districts w ius formed would thereby be deprived f a representaron. To obvíate this, a ce irther amendment lo section seven or ticle four, would be necessary, fi{"' ig that a removal from tho representavo district, instead of the "county," lould 'be deemed a vacation of their d iaö. . P Ft is, thoxefore, evident, from the tv sions nbovc referred to, that the 6Öers of the constitution contemplated coun ty and not district representation; and ir order to effect the Jatter object, an amendment would becoine nccrs?nry. ShouIJ the proposed amendment, then. bc submitted at this time ? and if so, in wli;ii maanèr should it be submitted 1 Three several amendménts to the constitution have been atlempted by joint resolution tho Jegality of which lvo o[ he best jurisls of the state entertain ; strong doubls; and, ns ïhe amendment now propo.sed could have no practical op1 eralion until after the consus of 1850,and ihè new npportionment of 1851, the committoe are of opinión thatit is not proper lp s'ibmit the proposition under considerat ióñ in its present form. : The present proposition beingconiparatively of recent origin, and as some ; time must necessarilv elnnse before it can be ciirried into practical oflcct, the com1 initlee believt this, togother wilh other proppsed amendménts, now uudergoing public discussion, should, after being oemanded by the public, bo made by a con1 vention elected for that purpose.