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OVERVIEW

ALABAMA'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION


Alabama's representation at the federal legislative level consists of its nine-member Congressional Delegation, composed of two United States Senators and seven members of the United States House of Representatives. In presidential elections, each state's electoral vote is determined by its representation in Congress. Thus, Alabama currently has nine electoral votes.

This page contains a link to each member of Alabama's delegation. For those members without their own home page, telephone and postal address information is provided.

The Congress of the United States is the legislative branch of the United States Government, and is composed of a Senate, containing 100 members, and a House of Representatives, containing 435 members. This terminology can be confusing, as Representatives are often referred to as Congressmen or Congresswomen, while members of the Senate are almost always referred to as Senator. Nonetheless, it is important to note, that the term Congress applies to that federal legislative institution composed of both the U. S. House and U. S. Senate.

Congress meets in annual sessions, as provided by Section 2, of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified February 6, 1933. Prior to ratification of this Amendment, Congress met in annual sessions as provided under Article I, Section 4, of the Constitution.

House of Representatives:

The membership of the United States House of Representatives, currently set at 435 members, is apportioned after each decennial (ten year) Census, by the respective legislatures of the states, as provided in Article I, Section 2, as amended by Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Thus, after each Census, a state's representation in the U. S. House of Representatives can increase or decrease, in proportion to that state's population growth or decline, as compared to the other states, in the preceding ten-year period. However, Article I, Section 2 provides that each state shall have at least one Representative, regardless of that state's total population.

Qualifications for members of the United States House of Representatives are established under Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution, as follows: "No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen."

Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution, provides that members of the United States House of Representatives serve two-year terms, and there is no federal limitation on the number of terms, either consecutive or otherwise, that a Representative can serve. Under Section 1, of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, the terms of members of the U. S. House of Representatives begin and end at noon, January 3rd, following each election cycle. Thus, members of the U. S. House of Representatives, elected in the November, 1998, elections, will take office at noon, January 3, 1999.

Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution, also provides that all vacancies that may occur in seats of the U. S. House of Representatives, be filled by an election to be called by the chief executive authority (Governor) of the state in which the vacancy occurs. Unlike vacancy provisions pertaining to the U. S. Senate, no person can be appointed to serve any portion of an unexpired term in the U. S. House of Representatives. Therefore, every member who has ever served in the U. S. House of Representatives, has been elected.

Under Alabama law, the provisions relating to special elections to fill such vacancies can be found in Section 36, Code of Alabama, 1975.

Under Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution, all federal legislation for raising revenue must originate in the U. S. House of Representatives.

The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, amending Article II, Section 1, provides that in cases wherein no presidential candidate receives a majority of electoral votes in the general election, the House of Representatives is empowered to elect a president. In such a procedure, the Representatives do not vote individually; rather, each state is allowed one vote, such vote to be determined within that state's House delegation.

Under Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution, the U. S. House of Representatives has sole power to prefer charges of impeachment against the president, vice-president and all civil officers of the United States, as named in Article II, Section 4.

United States Senate:

Under Article I, Section 3, as amended by the Seventeenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, each state is allotted two United States Senators, elected at-large by the qualified voters in each state.

Prior to ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, United States Senators were elected by the various state legislatures, as provided in Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution. The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, providing for direct election of United States Senators by each state's electorate, was proposed by Congress on May 13, 1912 and declared ratified, May 31, 1913. Alabama played no part in the ratification of this Amendment. Operating at that time under the Quadrennial Sessions provision of the Constitution of 1901, the Alabama Legislature held Regular Sessions in 1911 and 1915. Governor Emmet O'Neal, an opponent of the proposed Seventeenth Amendment, saw no reason to convene the Legislature in Special Session for its consideration.

Qualifications of United States Senators are established under Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution, as follows: "No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen."

Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution, provides that members of the United States Senate serve six-year terms, and there is no federal limitation on the number of terms, either consecutive or otherwise, that a Senator can serve. The above-referenced Section originally provided for staggered terms, such that one-third of the seats in the U. S. Senate are subject to election every two years. Thus, Alabama's two seats in the U. S. Senate, last filled in the elections of 1996 and 1998 respectively, will next be subject to election in the years 2002 and 2004, respectively. Under Section 1, of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, the terms of members elected to the United States Senate begin and end at noon, January 3rd, following each election cycle.

The Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution provides that all vacancies that may occur in the United States Senate be filled by an election to be called by the chief executive authority (Governor) of the state in which the vacancy occurs. This Amendment also provides that the chief executive authority, if so empowered by his/her state's legislature, may fill vacancies for such unexpired terms as such legislature directs. Prior to ratification of this Amendment, each state's chief executive authority could make a temporary appointment to fill vacancies in the event that state's legislature was not in session. However, under Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution, such appointments were in effect only until the next session of that state's legislature, at which time the vacancy would be filled by election of the legislature.

Under Alabama law, the provisions relating to the filling of vacancies in U. S. Senate seats, occurring in Alabama, can be found in Section 36, Code of Alabama, 1975.

Under Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, the United States Senate must, by two-thirds vote of those present, approve treaties proposed to be entered into by the president.

In addition, Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, empowers the Senate to confirm presidential nominations of ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the supreme court, and other officers provided by law.

Under Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution, the United States Senate has sole power to try all impeachments preferred to it by the United States House of Representatives. In such cases, the Senate acts as a jury, with the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court presiding. A two-thirds vote of those Senators present is required for removal from office of any person named in an impeachment preferred by the House of Representatives.

For further information regarding the United States Congress, go to THOMAS.

Alabama State Legislature  |  Alabama State House
11 South Union Street  |  Montgomery, AL 36130
General Information: (334) 242-7800