Thomas Jefferson Papers

Proposals to Revise the Virginia Constitution, 12 July 1816. II: Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on Revising the Virginia Constitution, [ca. 1816?]

II. Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on Revising the Virginia Constitution

[ca. 1816?]

Convention by the people

general suffrage for Delegates

freeholders for Senate

equal representn.

seat of govmt every 10th year.

100. members. both houses older1

pay to be fixed

biennial elections

Govr elected by people.

no council

appt all officers except of legislrs,

judges reappntble 6 years with approbn Senate

opns seriatim entd of record.

division into wards

MS (ViU: Peter Coolidge Deposit); written entirely in TJ’s hand on one side of a small scrap; undated.

opns seriatim (“opinions seriatim”): on more than one occasion TJ roundly condemned the judicial practice “of cooking up a decision in Caucus, & delivering it by one of their members as the opinion of the court, without the possibility of our knowing how many, who, and for what reasons each member concurred. … [justices] would, were they to give their opinions seriatim and publicly, endeavor to justify themselves to the world by explaining the reasons which led to their opinion.” The fact that, under Chief Justice John Marshall, the United States Supreme Court habitually adhered to the caucus model did little to endear it to the former president (TJ to James Pleasants, 26 Dec. 1821 [quote]; TJ to William Johnson, 27 Oct. 1822).

1Preceding three words interlined in place of “Senators older.”

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Va. constitution search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on Revising the Virginia Constitution search
  • Marshall, John; as chief justice of U.S. Supreme Court search
  • Supreme Court, U.S.; procedures of search
  • Virginia; constitution of (1776) search