Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Office Holder Amendments

There are several constitutional amendments regarding the President, Vice-President, Senators and Representatives. The following are some highlights of those amendments and other pertinent information.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 explains how a president and vice-president shall be elected. The process was that each state legislature would submit two names for president to the Senate. The Senate would count the votes and the one with the most votes became president and the one that got the 2nd most votes became vice-president. This process disregarded party affiliation and governing philosophy. This resulted in often having a vice-president with an extremely different governing philosophy than the president he served. You know this had to cause some awkward moments and some heated arguments.

The 12 Amendment was ratified in 1804. It superseded Article II, Section 1, Clause 3. Instead of casting two votes for president, each elector would cast one vote for president and one vote for vice-president. The amendment also suggested that the two not be from the same state. This amendment also extended the requirements for being president to the vice-president.

Prior to the 17th Amendment which was ratified in 1913, senators were appointed by state legislatures. The framers of the Constitution did this intentionally to prevent the federal government from taking away states rights. This process caused a problem when a sitting Senator had to be replaced. Infighting of political parties in state legislatures often delayed the appointment of replacement senators and exorbitant expenditures were common in senatorial elections. This amendment changed election of senators to popular vote of the people. The amendment solved nothing and caused many of the problems we are having with an over-powerful federal government today.

The 20th Amendment was ratified in 1933 and changed the date when the President, Vice-President, senators and representative term in office begins and ends. The original date the transition took place was March 4th. This meant from the time of the election in November until March 4th we had lame duck officeholders. Moving the transition nearer to election time was desirable and January 20th was chosen. This made sense because transportation and communications were much quicker than when the Constitution was written.

The 22nd Amendment was ratified in 1951. After four terms of Franklin Roosevelt people realized that it was not beneficial to the country to have the same person in power for extended periods of time. This amendment limits a president to two terms in office.

The 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967. It removed the ambiguity of Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 that gave the Vice-President and Congress the power to determine a replacement for a president unable to fulfill the duties of his office. This amendment provides a line of succession for the presidency.

The 27th Amendment was proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1992. This is over two hundred years. The amendment delays congressional pay raises from taking effect until after their next election. This no-brainer taking 200 years to ratify is a mystery to me.

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