Advise and Consent

What exactly does this phrase mean?

KwikStah, it could mean any one of a million things, what context are you seeing this in?

I’m gonna hazard a guess that you’re talking about the Constitution, which, when defining the procedure for appointing officers of the United States, requires the Advice and Consent of the Senate.

What this means, simply, is that the Senate must give advice (about whom they think is qualified) and consent to the choice (it must be approved with a >50% majority).

That’s what I meant, and that’s what I thought.

Depends on the context. As friedo notes, in the American context it usually refers to the power of the U.S. Senate to confirm a person that the President has nominated to an office.

However, in the Commonwealth context, it is the traditional phrase indicating that a legislative measure has been approved by the Houses of Parliament and have submitted it to the Crown for her royal assent (which of course she always grants). The phrase is printed at the beginning of each statute.

For example, a typical enacting clause for 19th century British statutes was:

Other Commonwealth Parliaments use variations on this enacting clause. The form used by the Canadian Parliament is:

Given that the British use of the phrase predates the U.S. Constitution, I assume that the drafters of the U.S. Constitution were familiar with it and adapted it to a somewhat different purpose, that of confirmation rather than legislation.