James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Pendleton, [3 July] 1789

From Edmund Pendleton

[3 July 1789]

… The question concerning the power of removing Officers was important, and twas much better to investigate it fully, tho’ at the expense of a weeks discussion, than take a wrong step in it. I concur in sentiment with the decision. The Argument that the Power of removal should follow that of Creation has weight, but is abundantly overballanced by the objection that an Executive Officer might intrench himself behind a party in the Senate, setting at defiance the Control of the President & impeachment of the House of Representatives.…

Printed extract (Stan. V. Henkels Catalogue No. 694 [1892]). The list probably kept by Peter Force (DLC: Madison Miscellany) notes that this letter consisted of two folio pages and calendars it as follows: “The power of removal from office. The Judiciary Bill. Mr. Pendleton’s suggestions and criticisms of the bill.” In a letter to Joseph C. Cabell of 5 Oct. 1831, JM made these comments on Pendleton’s letter: “Among my letters from Judge Pendleton is one which relates to the Judicial Bill, as then before the Senate of the United States.… It is remarkable that, although the observations are numerous, and descend to minute criticisms, none of them touch the section which gives to the Supreme Court of the United States its controlling jurisdiction over the State Judiciaries. In the letter of Mr. Pendleton to me inclosing his observations, it appears that he would have preferred to the plan of the Bill, a federal use of the State Courts, with an appeal from the Supreme Courts of the States to the Supreme Court of the United [States]” (Madison, Letters [Cong. ed.] description begins [William C. Rives and Philip R. Fendall, eds.], Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (published by order of Congress; 4 vols.; Philadelphia, 1865). description ends , IV, 197).

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