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The Constitution says that Senators

shall be divided equally as may be into three Classes

So wouldn’t the current Class 3 consisting of 34 members while Class 1 and Class 2 only having 33 members be unconstitutional?

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    This may just be a language barrier. "As equally as may be" is a fancy way of writing "as equally as possible." It's not possible to be more equal than 34-33-33, because the extra senator has to land in one of the three classes.
    – Kevin
    Jul 12 at 1:07
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    And this was already an issue when the constitution was written, because there were 13 states at the time, so the 26 senators had to be split 9+9+8.
    – dan04
    Jul 12 at 19:36
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As noted in a comment, the phrase "equally as may be" means "as equally as possible." To quantify this, it means that the maximum difference in class size is 1. More precisely, it means:

  • if the number of senators is divisible by 3, the classes must be equal in size.
  • if the number of senators is one greater than a number evenly divisible by 3 then one class must have one more member than the other two.
  • if the number of senators is one less than a number evenly divisible by three then one class must have one member fewer than the other two.
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No it is not look at what you quoted again.

shall be divided equally as may be into three Classes

It says equally as may be not required for them all to be equal. With the current breakdown there are groups of 33, 33, 34. All of these add up to the total members of 100. No matter how you break it down it is impossible to have 3 equal groups with a total membership of 100.

The only way to ensure that there are always 3 equal groups would be to change the membership from 2 per state to 3 per state. As long as the number of states isn't divisible by 3 the number of senators in each group won't be the same.

This clause is to prevent something like groups with 10, 30, 60 and lots of members changing out at some times but few at others.

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