Washington Feb. 22. 06.
Your commission as judge of Louisiana, according to it’s own terms, & those of the constitution was to expire at the end of the present session of the Senate. the nomination of a successor is then, by the constitution, as free, as it originally was. in exercising the duty of nomination to office, it has never been, nor can be admitted, that after a selection made of one of the competitors, all those who are unsuccesful shall have a right to have the reasons specified for which they have been pretermitted, & to be heard in justification, on the ground of protecting their reputation. I always recieve such documents of character as the parties or their friends offer, seek the best information I can otherwise get, make up as honest an opinion as I can, and say no more about it. I never even let it be known who asks for office, much less the grounds of not giving it. every one must be sensible what kind of altercation I should be involved in on every nomination were I to specify the grounds of passing over a candidate, as you desire in your letter. however if you think proper to call on me I will verbally state to you two or three facts & hear any thing you may wish to say respecting them. it is the first time it has ever been asked, & is most probably the last time it will ever be yielded to. Accept my salutations & respects.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.