U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 32 (1995)

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810

U. S. TERM LIMITS, INC. v. THORNTON

Opinion of the Court

that "the parsimony of the States might reduce the provision so low that . . . the question would be not who were most fit to be chosen, but who were most willing to serve." Ibid.

When the issue was later reopened, Nathaniel Gorham stated that he "wished not to refer the matter to the State Legislatures who were always paring down salaries in such a manner as to keep out of offices men most capable of executing the functions of them." Id., at 372. Edmund Randolph agreed that "[i]f the States were to pay the members of the Nat[ional] Legislature, a dependence would be created that would vitiate the whole System." Ibid. Rufus King "urged the danger of creating a dependence on the States," ibid., and Hamilton noted that "[t]hose who pay are the masters of those who are paid," id., at 373. The Convention ultimately agreed to vest in Congress the power to set its own compensation. See Art. I, 6.20

In light of the Framers' evident concern that States would try to undermine the National Government, they could not have intended States to have the power to set qualifications. Indeed, one of the more anomalous consequences of petitioners' argument is that it accepts federal supremacy over the procedural aspects of determining the times, places, and manner of elections while allowing the States carte blanche with respect to the substantive qualifications for membership in Congress.

The dissent nevertheless contends that the Framers' distrust of the States with respect to elections does not preclude the people of the States from adopting eligibility requirements to help narrow their own choices. See post, at 888-889. As the dissent concedes, post, at 893, however, the Framers were unquestionably concerned that the States would simply not hold elections for federal officers, and therefore the Framers gave Congress the power to "make

20 The Framers' decision to reject a proposal allowing for States to recall their own representatives, see 1 Farrand 20, 217, reflects these same concerns.

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