What are Constitutional Amendments?
Although the Constitution of the United States is considered to be the foremost piece of legislature with regard to the implementation and authorization of legality and lawfulness within the United States; upon its creation, the Constitution of the United States not only outlined a framework for a legislative system, but also an identifiable statute with regard to alterations, adjustments, and modifications to the original text:
The Founding Fathers had instated a procedure for the adjoining of subsequent Constitutional Amendments in order to bestow in it a quality allowing it to avoid irrelevance
The Founding Fathers had understood that as the United States underwent progression, innovation, and an invariable paradigm shift, certain legal statues would require modification
In order to retain the innate framework of the Constitution of the United of the United States while allowing for measures of adjustment and modernization, a policy was implemented with regard to the adoption of future – and potential – Constitutional Amendments
The History of Constitutional Amendments
While James Madison is credited as one of the primary authors of the Constitution, he is primarily credited with the conception of the Bill of Rights. This appointment is due to his concern with regard to an absence of a Constitutional Clause providing the document with a procedural system allowing for both the amendment and adjustment of the original text:
Subsequent to the voicing of his concerns, a Constitutional Clause was created that rectified the a prospective alteration process, which made way for the inclusion of Constitutional Amendments
James Madison’s foresight resulted in the proposal of the Bill of Rights in 1789, in addition to its subsequent ratification in 1791; the Bill of Rights is the moniker given to the first 10 Constitutional Amendments passed – they were all passed at the same time
Approving Constitutional Amendments
In order to successfully pass Constitutional Amendments, a process exists that requires a variety of levels of approval and acknowledgement from a variety of legislative bodies:
Step 1: Passing a Constitutional Amendment
Congress must approve of the proposed Constitutional Amendments through a vote illustrating a 2/3rd’s majority – this applicable for both the House of Representatives, as well as the Senate
Individual state legislation will be required to convene; only after a 2/3rd’s majority vote will the Constitutional Amendments proposed move to the next step of the approval process
Step 2: Passing a Constitutional Amendment
Subsequent to the completion of the first step, the ratification – or adoption – process will be required to take place; this approval process may take place in ONE of the following TWO methods:
Method #1: Within each of the individual states participatory in the approval of the proposed Constitutional Amendments, a 3/4th’s majority vote of approval must result
Method #2: With regard to the individual states participatory within the previous approval process, each state must conduct a convention during which time that state’s Constitution is amended in order to reflect the adoption of the proposed Constitutional Amendments – this majority approval must occur as a 3/4th’s majority
What is the 27th Amendment?
“No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”
The 27th Amendment Defined
The 27th Amendment was first proposed on September 25th, 1789
The 27th Amendment was passed May 7th, 1992
President of the United States
Bill Clinton was the President of the United States during the ratification of the 27th Amendment
Stipulations of the 27th Amendment
The 27th Amendment is the most recent constitutional amendment passed; as of 2011, there have been 27 Constitutional Amendments passed with regard to the Constitution of the United States of America
The 27th Amendment addresses the salary rate of members of Congress, which is comprised of a bicameral legislature – the Senate and the House of Representatives
The 27th Amendment stipulates that members of the Congress are not permitted to adjust their respective wage earnings in the middle of a term; in the event of a proposed wage adjustment, members of Congress must address any or all concerns with regard to wage adjustment prior to the starting of a new Congressional term
27th Amendment Facts
The 27th Amendment has never been cited within a Supreme Court Hearing
The 27th Amendment addresses the adjustment of costs of living with regard to inflation
The 27th Amendment is considered to be the Constitutional Amendment with the longest duration of time between the initial proposal and subsequent ratification; the 22nd Amendment is considered to maintain the second-longest duration of 4 years between proposal and passing
States Ratifying the 27th Amendment
26. New Hampshire
27. New Jersey
28. New Mexico
29. North Carolina
30. North Dakota
34. Rhode Island
35. South Carolina
36. South Dakota
43. West Virginia
States Not Participatory in the Ratification of the 27th Amendment
4. New York
Court Cases Associated with the 27th Amendment
Coleman v. Miller (1939) – this court case addressed controversy surrounding the Amendment process with regard to the regulation of time elapsed between the initial passing of an amendment and its eventual ratification
The Eighteenth Amendment is the only Amendment to ever have been repealed from the United States Constitution–via the inclusion of the Twenty-First Amendment. The 18th Amendment called for the banning of the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages. Known as national Prohibition, the Eighteenth Amendment banned “intoxicating liquors” with the exception of those used for religious rites.
It is also the first Amendment to impose a date by which it was to be ratified. If the deadline was not met, the Amendment would be discarded. The ratification of the 18th Amendment was completed on January 16th, 1919 and would take effect on January 17th, 1920.
It is important to note that the 18th Amendment did not prohibit the consumption of alcohol, but rather simply the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. As a result of the Temperance Movement, the concept of Prohibition had already been implemented by many states prior to the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment. Therefore, the 18th Amendment was quickly ratified into law.
The Temperance Movement would prove to become a powerful collection of individuals and factions that would garner a certain political power, which many politicians were afraid to confront. Church groups, the business elite, feminists, and political reformers were moving toward a dry society and began to call for a nation-wide law banning alcoholic substances.
Initially, Senators were against a Prohibition movement but were also reluctant to vehemently vote against it. That is why a deadline was included within the proposal for the Eighteenth Amendment, calling for the ratification to be completed within seven years. However, this provision would not prove to be effective, for forty-four states approved the 18th Amendment in just over a year’s time from its introduction.
The reluctance of the political powers also was reflected in imposing the effect of the Eighteenth Amendment a year from the completion of the ratification process. They did so in order to provide the liquor industry some time to adjust to what would essentially decimate the industry for the following ten years.
The implications of the 18th Amendment proved to be more negative than positive, for the effects took a turn for the worse rather than providing for a “dry” utopia. It was during the Prohibition Era that gave rise to organized crime in the United States, where criminals began to find illegal means to provide for the demand for alcohol. The creation of the mafia and mobsters led to a period of violence that would make the Government evaluate which was the greatest of two evils: alcohol or organized crime factions.
The Volstead Act, a bill that was introduced to provide for the definition of terms used in the Eighteenth Amendment was passed on January 17th, 1920, after Congress overrode the veto by President Wilson. The Volstead Act defined intoxicating liquor as any beverage containing more than 0.5 percent alcohol. Beer and wine would also be banned as a result, which led to much controversy as well.
Further provisions would be enacted as a result of the Eighteenth Amendment, such as the restriction of medicinal liquor prescriptions, allowing searches without warrants in automobiles, and wiretapping of telephones for surveillance of illegal alcohol activity. It was not until 1933 when the overall effects of the 18th Amendment would prove to be more negative than positive, that the 21st Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment completely and removed from Constitutional law.