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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
2 (1976)

B. The Dissent of the Minority of the Convention,   pp. 617-640


Page 628

III. PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION
or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States,
shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state
shall be bound thereby; any thing in the constitution or laws of
any state to the contrary notwithstanding." It has been alleged that
the words "pursuant to the constitution" are a restriction upon the
authority of Congress; but when it is considered that by other sec-
tions they are invested with every efficient power of government, and
which may be exercised to the absolute destruction of the state govern-
ments, without any violation of even the forms of the consitution,
this seeming restriction, as well as every other restriction in it, ap-
pears to us to be nugatory and delusive; and only introduced as a
blind upon the real nature of the government. In our opinion, "pur-
suant to the constitution" will be coextensive with the will and
pleasure of Congress, which, indeed, will be the only limitation of
their powers.
We apprehend that two coordinate sovereignties would be a solecism
in politics. That therefore as there is no line of distinction drawn
between the general and state governments; as the sphere of their
jurisdiction is undefined, it would be contrary to the nature oE things,
that both should exist together, one or the other would necessarily
triumph in the fullness of dominion. However the contest could not
be of long continuance, as the state governments are divested of every
means of defense, and will be obliged by "the supreme law of the land"
to yield at discretion.
It has been objected to this total destruction of the state govern-
ments, that the existence of their legislatures is made essential to
the organization of Congress; that they must assemble for the ap-
pointment of the senators and president general of the United States.
True, the state legislatures may be continued for some years, a boards
of appointment, merely, after they are divested of every other function,
but the framers of the constitution foreseeing that the people will
soon be disgusted with this solemn mockery of a government without
power and usefulness have made a provision for relieving them from
the imposition, in section 4th, of Article 1st, viz.: "The times, places,
and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall
be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress
may at any time, by law make or alter such regulations; except as to
the place of chusing senators."
As Congress have the control over the time of the appointment of
the president general, of the senators and of the representatives of
the United States, they may prolong their existence in office, for life,
by postponing the time of their election and appointment, from period
to period, under various pretenses, such as an apprehension of in-
628


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