Miller Center

Message on the Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities of the President (December 12, 1833)

Andrew Jackson

Transcript

I have attentively considered the resolution of the Senate of the 11th instant, requesting the President of the United States to communicate to the Senate "a copy of the paper which has been published, and which purports to have been read by him to the heads of the Executive Departments, dated the 18th day of September last, relating to the removal of the deposits of the public money from the Bank of the United States and its offices."
The executive is a coordinate and independent branch of the Government equally with the Senate, and I have yet to learn under what constitutional authority that branch of the Legislature has a right to require of me an account of any communication, either verbally or in writing, made to the heads of Departments acting as a Cabinet council. As well might I be required to detail to the Senate the free and private conversations I have held with those officers on any subject relating to their duties and my own.
Feeling my responsibility to the American people, I am willing upon all occasions to explain to them the grounds of my conduct, and I am willing upon all proper occasions to give to either branch of the Legislature any information in my possession that can be useful in the execution of the appropriate duties confided to them.
Knowing the constitutional rights of the Senate, I shall be the last man under any circumstances to interfere with them. Knowing those of the Executive, I shall at all times endeavor to maintain them agreeably to the provisions of the Constitution and the solemn oath I have taken to support and defend it.
I am constrained, therefore, by a proper sense of my own self-respect and of the rights secured by the Constitution to the executive branch of the Government to decline a compliance with your request.