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What You Need to Know About The Census

What You Need to Know About The Census

The United States Census is a procedure that is undertaken every ten years as mandated by the United States Constitution. The Census is responsible for creating a representation or enumeration of the actual population of the United States. Though it has many purposes, such as allocation of Government programs or funds and electoral votes, it is the prime resource that used in the apportionment of Congressional seats in the House of Representatives. As it is today, Congress employs the mathematical formula known as the Equal Proportion Method.
Utah v. Evans is a case in which such practice was declared to be within the bounds of Constitutional law. Since the institution of the United States Census, it has been conducted a total of twenty-two times since 1790. The most recent Census is currently being conducted in 2010, with the next one scheduled in 2020.
According to expert projections, the 2010 Census is to affect the apportionment of seats of the House of Representatives. According to these early calculations, a total of twelve seats will be shifted among the United States House of Representatives. Key predictions affect some of the largest states such as Texas, New York, Arizona, Florida, and Nevada. Projections entail Texas receiving four more seats, Arizona and Florida adding two more seats, Nevada obtaining one seat, and New York losing one seat.

What Procedures Congress Follows

What Procedures Congress Follows

Under the United States Constitution, each
chamber of Congress is to provide for its own regulations and rules regarding
the proceedings that are to be conducted in each
House. Therefore, the House of Representatives and the Senate
engage in the following:

     ●   Offering of the prayer by the Chaplain
of the House

     ●   The reading and approval of the
legislative journal

        The Pledge of Allegiance

         Corrections to public bills

that is pending on the Speaker of the House’s table    

or pending business

         Consideration of any new bills
that are to be introduced by the committees of the House of Rep

         State of the Union

         Orders of the Day.

In regards to the passing of bills, there are
certain regulations that may have to be considered that may differ from the
original list of priorities. It is important to note that any
of the House of Rep
resentatives can introduce a bill at any time that the
House is session. The
Congressman can place a copy of the bill in
the “hopper” that is placed next to the Clerk of the House’s desk.
must provide for a signed copy of the bill, which may be co-sponsored by other
The bill is then assigned a legislative number by the Clerk and added to the
journal as well as the Congressional Record. The bill will then referred to the
appropriate committee that has jurisdiction over that particular matter or

Article 1 House of Representatives Apportionment At A Glance

Article 1 House of Representatives Apportionment At A Glance


The process by which the seats of the House of
Representatives are delegated is known as apportionment. The United States
Constitution provided that the House of Representatives would be represented in
direct proportion to a
State’s population size. Therefore, a certain
process would have to be established in order to provide for representation
reflecting that prerequisite.

Initially, the Constitution called for the
proportion of one member for every 30,000 people of the country’s total
population, which was to be determined by the United States Census. However,
the Constitution never actually set a limit on the amount of seats to comprise
the House. Due to increases in population and introduction of new states into
the Union, certain provisions would be implemented in order to provide for a
more uniform and adequate representation of the states in the House. Currently,
there are 435 seats apportioned among the states, with each
State guaranteed at least one seat by the
statutes of the Constitution.

Apportionment Equal Proportions Method

Apportionment Equal Proportions Method

The United States Census in a key determining factor in the apportionment process for the establishing the number of seats each state is to have in the US House of Representatives. It calculates the total population of each state, which is how the US House of Representation membership is established. However, the process by which actual members are appointed to the US House of Representatives is much more complex.

The United States Constitution guarantees that each state is to have at least one delegate in the US House of Representatives, regardless of what that state's actual population may be. This means that out of the established 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, a total of 385 seats will be apportioned using the proportion of population to the number of representatives. Generally speaking, the more populous a state is, the more seats it is to have in the US House of Representatives.

However, the actual methods used to determine actual representation are based on mathematical applications. Currently, the system employed is known as the equal proportions method. Since the establishment of apportionment was introduced, there have been five methods of apportionment that have been employed in delegating state representation in the US House of Representatives.

Congress is responsible of appointing the method to be used to calculate apportionment. Since 1941, the method used by Congress is the equal proportions method. The equal proportions method has, as its first step, the consideration that the Constitution allows for each state one representative, regardless of actual population numbers. Therefore, fifty of the 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are already accounted for. This leaves for 385 to be apportioned.

The equal proportion method, because of its inherent mathematical process, also provides for a listing states to a priority value. In other words, the first seat to be assigned under this method is delegated to California, because it is the most populous state. Seats are distributed one at a time using a formula that uses the ratio of the state population to the geometric mean of the seats that state currently holds in the apportionment process.

For example, under the equal proportion method, California would be assigned the 51st seat, the first seat allocated after the initial fifty. In obtaining the 51st seat, California at this point already has two seats in the US House of Representatives. In the mathematical computation of the formula, California's priority value would decreased, and be positioned last in line for the next seat assignment. The 52nd seat would go to Texas, for the computation would render its priority value highest at this point.

However, California also receives the 53rd because at this point in time, it holds a higher priority value than all of the other states. Therefore, each time a seat is delegated to a state, the priority value is reduced, and states are reordered according the next highest priority value in line.

It has yet to be proven possible to calculate a fair distribution of voting power throughout the states due to the size of electoral districts. The equal proportions method has been determined by Congress as the most viable method.

All methods that have been used for the apportionment of the US House of Representatives have been susceptible to what is known as the apportionment paradox. The apportionment paradox essentially details the possibility of state actually losing a seat in the US House of Representatives due population growths. For example, it is possible for a small state with a rapid population growth to lose a seat to a state with larger experiencing a slower population growth.

Election of the Speaker Power of Speaker after Henry Clay

Election of the Speaker Power of Speaker after Henry Clay

The Speaker of the House has managed to garner impressive power
ever since its creation in 1789, under Article I, Section 2 of the United
States Constitution. Originally, the Speaker was not a position that had much
influence. The first Speaker of the House was Frederick Muhlenberg and there was
little that can be attributed to him in the sense of having impacted the political
world of the time. However, it would be Henry Clay that would manage to break
the Speaker’s mold as an ineffectual role to one that had active
responsibilities and duties.


Henry Clay served for several terms as Speaker of the House,
beginning in 1811 and ending 1825. Henry Clay’s service as the Speaker was not
consecutive terms during that period. The main change that Henry Clay brought
to the office of Speaker of the House was that he began to actively participate
in debates, which was not done by any of his predecessors. Furthermore, he
began to use the position of his office and his influence to secure the passage
of certain matters that he supported, such as the War of 1812.


However, Henry Clay’s influence is most evident in the
presidential election of 1824. The Electoral College did not manage to provide
for a majority for any of the candidates up for election during that year.
Therefore, under Constitutional law, the President was to be decided by the
House. Henry Clay supported John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson, thus giving
Adams the victory in the end.

Henry Clay proved to deviate as Speaker of the
House in terms of the role’s previous responsibilities or powers. Following
Clay’s run as Speaker, the influence and duties of the role as Henry Clay had affected
them reverted back to its original boundaries for a time.

It would be at the dawning of the 20th Century
that the role of Speaker would develop its power and influence, which was all
started under Henry Clay’s tenure. The Speaker’s power would begin once the
position also entailed being Chairman of the Committee on Rules. After its
structure was reorganized in 1880, it gave the Speaker a very powerful standing
because of the fact that the committee was one of the most powerful of the
House of Representatives.


The rise of power of the Speaker was once again felt under
Thomas Brackett Reed, who took the position starting in 1889. Reed managed to
effectively end the delaying in passing of bills due to minority opposition.
However, it is Joseph Gurney Cannon, who served from 1903 to 1911, who is
considered as the most powerful Speaker of the House in the history of the
United States.


Cannon determined what was to be the agenda of the House,
appointed all the members to the various House committees, as well as their
chairmen, and determined what bills were to be heard by which committee.
However, in the year prior to his stepping down, many of the other House members
would be dissatisfied with the control that was exerted by Cannon and many of
his powers would be removed. It would not be until fifteen years later that
Speaker Nicholas Longworth would institute some, but not all, of those powers
and influence.

The Speaker of the House does not have its roles
in terms of political stance detailed in the Constitution. The position,
however, has throughout history developed into taking a partisan role. The
Speaker has, therefore, also been the head of the majority party in the House
of Representatives. The Speaker is responsible to ensure that the agenda of the
majority party is addressed by helping pass legislation that is in the favor of
the majority party. They exercise their power and influence to the extent of
being able to decide when each bill is to reach the floor.


The power of the Speaker is also evident in the fact that it is
second in line to ascend the Presidential office only behind the Vice
President. If both the President and Vice President were removed from office,
it would be the Speaker that would be next in line to be sworn in as President
and assume the office.

Provisions For Filling Vacancies

Provisions For Filling Vacancies

The House of Representatives will, in extenuating circumstances, be subjected to having vacancies in its seats. This may happen due to several
instances, such as death, resignation, or a refusal to serve. Vacancies can
often occur when members of the House get appointed to other positions outside
of Congress, such as election to the Presidential office or to the position of
Vice President. Another circumstance that can occur is if a Representative is
removed from h
is/her position due to expulsion. Under the
United States Constitution, it is required that the vacancies in the House of
Representatives be filled by special elections.

The provisions for filling vacancies in the House
of Representatives can be found in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution.
Clause 4 of Section 2 states: “When Vacancies happen in the Representation
of any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to
fill such Vacancies.”


By Constitutional law, the House of
Representatives is not delegated the responsibility of filling vacancies. The
responsibility and duty to provide for a vacancy rests on the State that has a
vacant seat in their representation
House. The
Constitution requires that vacancies in the House be filled by special
elections. However, it is important to note that there are no provisions
regarding filling such vacancies in a temporary fashion, such as with interim
Representatives. Those that are to be considered in such a special election
must also meet all of the eligibility requirements set forth in the
Constitution under Article I, Section 2 (See Also:
 Election and Qualification).

Special elections regarding vacancies in the House
of Representatives are the responsibility of the States. The actual scheduling
of a special election will vary from State to State, as each has its own
regulation and provisions regarding special elections. Furthermore, the time at
which the vacancy occurs can also have an impact on the scheduling of a special


Vacancies in the House occurring during the first session of
Congress are predominantly filled through special election. Many states provide
for a certain amount of time after the vacancy occurs to provide for nomination
procedures and the special election to be held. For the most part, most states
will hold the special election on the next regular election day for convenience
purposes. However, when a vacancy occurs during the second session of Congress,
procedures will differ on a different scale.


Much is dependent on the time the vacancy occurs and when the
next general election is scheduled. Furthermore, another aspect to be
considered is when the term of a current Representative is to be over, which
will, in effect, determine the next general election date. Therefore, it is
possible for a seat in the House of Representatives to be vacant for quite a
period of time. An example would be if a seat becomes vacant three months
before the Representative’s term was to end. Many seats will simply leave the
seat vacant and forgo a special election, for the regular election is already
scheduled to occur in the near future.

Understanding Power of Impeachment

Understanding Power of Impeachment

The power of impeachment is granted to the House of Representatives under Constitutional law. In Article I, Section 2, the Constitution reads, “The House of Representatives shall chuse [sic] their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” Impeachment relates to the removal of a Government official due to crimes committed while that individual was in office.
All civil Officers of the United States that are tried and convicted for crimes such as bribery, treason, misdemeanors, and high crimes are all subject to impeachment. It is important to note that impeachment is a power that is granted to both Houses of Congress. The House of Representatives has the “sole Power” to impeach, while the Senate has the sole power to try those impeachments.
The House of Representatives is responsible to commence the impeachment proceedings. A member of the House can start the procedure by listing the charges against the official under oath or by asking for a referral to the appropriate committee of the House. In some cases, the impeachment process can begin by other officials outside of the Legislative Branch. However, the process to impeach will be carried out by the House of Representatives.
Depending on the type of impeachment, the referral will be presented to either the House Committee on the Judiciary or the House Committee on Rules. If the impeachment resolution involves a particular individual, the referral will be presented to the House Committee on the Judiciary. However, if the resolution is to authorize an investigation regarding grounds for impeachment, it must first be referred to the House Committee on Rules, which will then be sent to the House Committee on the Judiciary. When the referral to impeach is received by the Judiciary Committee, a vote must be conducted. A majority decision must be reached to determine that grounds for impeachment exist.
The Committee will then state and list those grounds in what is known as Articles of Impeachment, or an Impeachment Resolution. These are to be reported to the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives will then review and analyze the Articles of Impeachment. The House will vote on the Articles based as a whole or on each article presented therein, depending on the conclusion of the analysis.
If the decision of the House is to impeach, then there are managers that are appointed to present the situation and case to the Senate. The managers have the responsibility of presenting the Articles of Impeachment before the Senate, which will then report back to the Senate regarding its own decision. In the case that the Senate decides that it will try an impeachment case, the Chief Justice of the United States is to preside over the trial in the case of impeachment of a President.
Throughout history, there have been a number of Government officials who have been impeached, which include Presidents, members of Congress, Judges, as well as State Governors. However, in the history of the United States, only two Presidents have been impeached, Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon would have faced impeachment had he stayed in office, but resigned his position upon the knowledge of impending impeachment.

House of Representatives

 House of Representatives

Election and Qualification

The United States Constitution provides for the members of the House of Representatives to meet certain qualifications and requirements. Furthermore, members to the House are also to be elected through popular votes. The qualifications for the members of the House of Representatives are similar to those of the Senate, but do vary in certain aspects.
A qualified representative must be at least twenty-five years old and a citizen of the United States for at least seven years prior to membership consideration. The candidate must also be a resident of the State they are to represent. Candidates are to be elected by the states and the number of members representing each State will be contingent upon that State’s population. The determination of how many representatives are to represent each State is calculated through the process of apportionment.


The House of Representatives has various committees in place that all have various purposes and responsibilities. Generally speaking, the committees are in charge of reviewing bills that are introduced in the House as well as broad oversight regarding the responsibilities of the Executive Branch.
Committee members are formally appointed by the entire membership of the House, but the nomination of members is done by the political parties. Typically, seniority takes precedence in appointing positions in committees, giving individuals with seniority the choice of committees to join. Generally speaking, the final makeup of the committees will reflect the overall composition of the House as a whole, with the Majority Party obtaining most of the seats in committees.
All committees will also have a Chairman, which is always from the Majority Party. Membership terms in committees will normally be set by the committees themselves, but there has been prior practice of the Majority Party to sometimes place a limit of the membership to particular committees.

Understanding Election and Qualifications

Understanding Election and Qualifications

The House of Representatives is the lower
house of the United States Congress.
To be eligible for the House of
Representatives, t
he individual must be at
least twenty-five years of age
, a citizen
of the United States for at least seven years
, and a resident of the State they intend to represent at the time of election. However, it is not required under the Constitution that the member
live within their district.

In comparison to the requirements for
eligibility of a senator, the age and citizenship standards or requirements are
lower for representatives. The reasoning behind this is a result of the Framers
of the Constitution (See Also: Constitutional Convention
The Fourteenth Amendment
 does provide for a disqualification clause, stating that
any individual that has sworn the oath to remain loyal and to support the
Constitution of the United States and has been found guilty of aiding enemies
of the State or in rebellious acts against the country will be deemed
disqualified from becoming a Representative. However, it is possible to
overrule this statute if Congress can provide for its consent to deem an
individual eligible for election through a two-thirds vote from both Houses.

Elections for candidates to the House of Representatives occur in every
even-numbered year on Election Day. Election Day is typically held in the
beginning days of the month of November. The candidates are elected from
single-member districts by way of a single-winner voting system.

Candidates are typically nominated through primary elections,
which are normally held in spring through late summer. The Republican and
Democratic parties will typically choose their respective candidates through a
unanimous vote, which are also held in spring or early summer. Those belonging
to independent or third parties will have access to the ballot, but this is
contingent on previous elections and also varies from State to State.

Each candidate, once elected, will serve for two years in
Congress. The Resident Commissioner will serve for a total of four years.
Members also can be subject to being expelled from the House of Representatives
following a majority two-thirds vote.

Three Fifths Compromise

Three Fifths Compromise

The proposal for apportionment for the determination of each State’s number of seats in the House of Representatives became an issue when the Constitution was being drafted in 1787. Aside from being a complex system and method for calculating the population through the Census and then establishing a number of seats for representation, the issue as to who was eligible to be counted for the population was a topic of controversy. However, it is no surprise that this agreement is known as the Three-Fifths Compromise, for the Constitution itself was born out of compromise between the Framers of the Constitution.
However, the Three-Fifths Compromise is arguably the most controversial topic, for it delegates that all slaves of a particular State are to be counted as three-fifths of a white person. The population of slaves would be counted as three-fifths in total when apportioning Representatives, as well as Presidential electors and taxes.
The Three-Fifths Compromise was proposed by James Wilson and Roger Sherman, who were both delegates for the Constitutional Convention of 1787. However, the Three-Fifths Compromise has its roots further back in history, dating back to the Continental Congress in 1783. The Compromise was a result of the apportionment of taxes being related to land values.
Initially, taxes were levied not in accordance to the population numbers, but the actual value of the land. Many states began to depreciate the value of the land in order to provide for relief from their taxes. A committee was held that would rectify the situation by implementing the apportionment of taxes in relation to the State’s population. However, this idea was met with the dispute of how to consider slaves in the apportionment process and the actual ratio of slaves to free people at that time.
For the most part, those who opposed slavery only wanted to consider the free people of a population, while those in favor wanted to include slaves in the population count. This would provide for slaveholders to have many more seats in the House of Representatives and more representation in the Electoral College. Many ratios were considered, such as three-fourths, one-half, and one-quarter. After much debate, it would be James Madison that would suggest the Three-Fifths Compromise. However, the Three-Fifths Compromise would not be adopted until the Constitutional Convention because the Compromise was not approved by all of the states and the Articles of Confederation required a unanimous vote.
The implementation of the Three-Fifths Compromise would greatly increase the representation and political power of slave-owning states. The Southern states, if represented equally, would have accounted for 33 of the seats in the House of Representatives. However, because of the Three-Fifths Compromise, the Southern states accounted for 47 seats in the House of Representatives of the first United States Congress of 1790. This would allow for the South to garner enough power at the political level, giving them control in Presidential elections.
However, as time moved forward, the Three-Fifths Compromise would not provide the advantage that the Southern states and slave-owners had hoped for. The Northern states grew more rapidly in terms of population than the South. Even though Southern states had essentially dominated all political platforms prior to the Civil War, afterward that control would be relinquished slowly but surely.  

States Rights

Right to Privacy

John Witherspoon

James Wilson

Elbridge Gerry

John Dickinson