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US Constitution, Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7:

Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Is this simply redundant? Or does "and enjoy" actually affect the meaning? I cannot imagine that one would still be qualified to hold the office, so long as they do not also "enjoy" it.

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    Arguably a prime qualification for high office should be that you don't enjoy it.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 10:33
  • I have no idea, but recently President Biden invoked the 25th Amendment to delegate the powers of the Presidency to Vice President Harris for a routine medical procedure. Can we say that during the procedure Biden held but did not enjoy the presidency? Did Harris enjoy but not held the presidency?
    – emory
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 11:33

5 Answers 5

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It is simply redundant for all practical purposes. There may have been a shade of meaning to it back in the 18th century (along the lines of "hold or perform" in contemporary English). But it isn't really meaningful today.

The word "enjoy" in this context certainly doesn't mean "feel happy performing".

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    Samuel Johnson: "to obtain possession or fruition of" (johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/views/search.php?term=Enjoy). I would suppose that "enjoy" here denotes the "fruition" of the office, that is to say, the material compensation and possibly also intangible benefits such as power or prestige.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 13:19
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    Also, the real estate right of "quiet enjoyment". It means you get to take advantage of the benefits of your land, it doesn't mean that a court will help you find a way to have fun. Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 16:39
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    Seems like a legal doublet.
    – AndreKR
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 17:49
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    @AndreKR I think that's the larger part of the answer, using two terms is harkening back to an era of international treaties when "To ensure understanding, the terms from both languages were used." Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 0:04
  • 4
    @Vikki A whole contract might be translated into two (or more languages), but there's a recurring set of legalistic terms that have persisted in English, such as "null and void," "cease and desist," or "ways and means." Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 16:31
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The Constitution was written hundreds of years ago. At the time, "enjoy" more widely had the meaning "To have the use or benefit of, have for one's lot (something which affords pleasure, or is of the nature of an advantage)" (emphasis added).

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The Sixth Amendment begins:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, ...

It does not mean that being tried for crime is fun, it means that someone may exercise this right.

Merriam-Webster currently gives as sense 1 of "enjoy":

to have for one's use, benefit, or lot : experience

Lexico (Oxford) gives as sense 2:

Possess and benefit from. ‘the security forces enjoy legal immunity from prosecution

Cambridge gives as one sense

to have the benefit of something:

  • The schools here enjoy strong community support.
  • She enjoyed good health well into her 90s.

This meaning of "enjoy" was far more common when the constitution was written than it now is, particularly in current casual usage.

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    Yeah, it was more common then, though it's still not particularly uncommon today, especially in legal and marketing contexts (e.g. "Our business-class customers enjoy [insert complimentary amenities here.]")
    – reirab
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 17:49
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A good source for 18th-century definitions is an 18th-century dictionary, the standard one being that of Samuel Johnson. The second definition of Enjoy:

to obtain possession or fruition of

(The Oxford English Dictionary is also an excellent resource for historical definitions and, in particular, citations over the centuries, but I do not have access to it at the moment.)

This refers to the benefits ("fruition" -- related to "fruit," as in "fruits of labor," the benefit that results from work) that come with holding an office. In other words, "enjoy" reminds the reader that disqualifying a person from holding office means that the person cannot receive an officer's salary nor exercise the power of any office nor enjoy any prestige associated with an office.

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In context it means “exercise the powers of” not “have fun while”. It’s not totally redundant, it might be used today to forbid someone from holding a position as “Acting Official” (whatever the Official position maybe).

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