MVB Senate remarks on the powers of the vice president, 11 February 1828
Monday, February 11, 1828.
Mr. VAN BUREN said that he did not conceive that the office conferred the right to call to order. If the powers of the Vice President were derived from the Constitution, as nobody doubted, he knew of no sanction to that power, either in cases of irrelevancy or impropriety of speech. The only express power granted by the Constitution was that of giving the casting vote. This amendment went to give him another power not contemplated by the Constitution. On the contrary, the Constitution has given the right to the two Houses to make rules for the government of their own members, and for the direction of their presiding officers. He thought the power a dangerous one to place in the hands of the Vice President. It was never tolerated, and it was never intended to be, that a member should be put down because of the manner in which he chose to present his views or defend his principles. Yet this might happen, under the discretion which would be given by this amendment. As to the individuals of the Senate, he could not believe that the time would ever come, when they would be so forgetful of their own dignity, and that of the body, as not to call to order any member who should overstep the bounds of decorum. He was satisfied with the rule as it was; and was, therefore, opposed to the amendment.