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I “Advise” You to Take My “Advice”

Here’s one  in which seemingly everyone gets wrong (including me) because we don’t know the origins.

Legal people will use “advise and consent” when describing a relationship between an attorney and a client. The attorney advises and the client consents.

However, the original term is “advice and consent,”and it refers to when the executive branch in England (the King or Queen) enacts something the legislative branch already approved. So, the monarch legally enacts the bill, but he/she had nothing to do with it. This matches the definition of the word advice,  a noun meaning “recommendation.”

In the United States, “advice and consent” refers to the Senate being consulted on a treaty the President already has approved or appointments he already has made. The term “advice and consent” appears in Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

Advise and consent” does not appear in the Constitution but today is an actual Senate motion that shows the Senate has no formal power to sign a treaty or appoint someone such as a Supreme Court justice, federal judge or cabinet position. Typically, congressional hearings are used. Advise is a verb meaning “to give a recommendation.”

“Advise and Consent” also is a 1959 novel by Allen Drury that explores the Senate confirming a former member of the Communist Party to be Secretary of State . It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1960 and was made into a movie in 1962 starring Henry Fonda and many others.

Nice to know the government isn’t misusing these words.

Until next time! Use the right words!


March 12, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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