Cite as: 514 U. S. 779 (1995)
Opinion of the Court
have been very properly considered and regulated by the convention. A representative of the United States must be of the age of twenty-five years; must have been seven years a citizen of the United States; must, at the time of his election be an inhabitant of the State he is to represent; and, during the time of his service must be in no office under the United States. Under these reasonable limitations, the door of this part of the federal government is open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith." Ibid.18
18 The dissent places a novel and implausible interpretation on this paragraph. Consistent with its entire analysis, the dissent reads Madison as saying that the sole purpose of the Qualifications Clauses was to set minimum qualifications that would prevent the States from sending incompetent representatives to Congress; in other words, Madison viewed the Clauses as preventing the States from opening the door to this part of the federal service too widely. See post, at 900-902.
The text of The Federalist No. 52 belies the dissent's reading. First, Madison emphasized that "[t]he qualifications of the elected . . . [were] more susceptible of uniformity." His emphasis on uniformity would be quite anomalous if he envisioned that States would create for their representatives a patchwork of qualifications. Second, the idea that Madison was in fact concerned that States would open the doors to national service too widely is entirely inconsistent with Madison's emphasizing that the Constitution kept "the door . . . open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith." The Federalist No. 52, at 326.
Finally the dissent argues that "Madison could not possibly have been rebuking the States for setting unduly high qualifications for their representatives in Congress," post, at 901, and suggests that Madison's comments do not reflect "an implicit criticism of the States for setting unduly high entrance barriers," post, at 902. We disagree. Though the dissent attempts to minimize the extensiveness of state-imposed qualifications by focusing on the qualifications that States imposed on delegates to Congress and the age restrictions that they imposed on state legislators, the dissent neglects to give appropriate attention to the abundance of property, religious, and other qualifications that States imposed on state
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