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Advise and consent, and confirmation

Regarding the opinion-page article "The Senate Should Advise as Well as Consent," Oct.21: The roles of the president and Congress in the advise-and-consent process are clearly stated in the Constitution. The president nominates, Senate advises and consents. To broach the idea that the president should surrender any part of his powers is somewhat disingenuous.What the author proposes is akin to the proposal made to James Madison in 1813, namely that a committee formed by the Senate would confer with the president over nominations. Mr. Madison, of course, rejected the plan as unconstitutional. The passage of the 17th amendment made a shambles of the confirmation process by having the people, rather than state legislatures, elect senators. Thus the Senate was no longer the deliberative body envisioned by the Constitution-framers. Advise and consent, by nature, is a deliberative process and if we are serious about restoring it, the 17th amendment will have to be repealed. John R. Carter, Earlysville, Va.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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