The Constitution For The United States
Its Sources and Its Application A
Index Preface Preamble Article I Article II Article III Article IV Article V Article VI Article VII Letter of Transmittal Ratification 1st 12 Amendment Proposals "Bill of Rights" Amend. I - X Amend. XI -XXVII Landmark Court
Missing Original 13th Amendment Constitution History A Quiz for Loyal Americans
Amendment Articles XI - XXIII
Art. XI Art. XII Art. XIII Art. XIV Art. XV Art. XVI Art. XVII Art. XVIII Art. XIX Art. XX Art. XXI Art. XXII Art. XXIII Art. XXIV Art. XXV Art. XXVI Art. XXVII
Proposed by Congress September 5, 1794; proclaimed adopted January 8, 1798.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any foreign State.164
164 This Amendment was proclaimed as adopted on January 8, 1798 following suit by a claimant in South Carolina against the State of Georgia, decided in 1793. Many of the States were under heavy financial embarrassment when the Union was formed and the case of Chisholm against Georgia excited much alarm. Although a resolution proposing an Amendment was offered in Congress two days after the decision was announced, the Eleventh Amendment did not become a part of the Constitution for almost five years. The Australian constitution expressly grants jurisdiction to the High Court where a citizen desires to sue a State.
Proposed by Congress December 12,1803; proclaimed adopted September 25, 1804.
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; 165
165 The chief difference 76, 77, 78, 79 between this Amendment and the language which it superseded is that the elector votes for a named individual for President and another for Vice President. Under the old provision the elector voted "for two persons", without designating either for either office. "The person having the greatest number of votes" became President and the one receiving next to the highest number became Vice President, notwithstanding that, as in the case of Jefferson, he might be an intense disbeliever in the President's (Adams's) political opinions. When, at the next election Jefferson and Burr received the same number of electoral votes and the election therefore was thrown into the House of Representatives, where thirty-five ballots were taken before the choice of first place fell to Jefferson, the second place thereby going to Burr, the people became convinced that a change in the electoral machinery was necessary. Now, under this Amendment, the electors "name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President." When the election of a President is now thrown into the House of Representatives, that body makes choice "from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three on the list of those voted for", before the choice was made "from the five highest on the list."
Since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment188 it is required that the electors meet on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December following elections to cast their votes.
-- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; 166
166 A controversy which threatened the peace of the country arose in 1876 respecting the electoral vote for Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican candidate for the presidency, and that cast for Samuel J. Tilden, the nominee of the Democratic party. In Louisiana two electoral returns were made under rivals claiming to be governor. The legality of the returns made in some other States to the president of the Senate also was questioned. The claim was made that the president of the Senate (who was then a Republican) should, under this clause, do the counting. On many points the disagreement between the partisans was so wide and apparently so hopeless that it was finally determined to Ieave all questions to an Electoral Commission to be created by act of Congress and to consist of five members of the Senate, five members of the House and five justices of the Supreme Court. That Commission, after an extended hearing of evidence and argument found by a strictly partisan vote, that 185 electoral votes belonged to Hayes and 184 to Tilden.
To prevent the recurrence of some of the questions, Congress passed the Electoral Count Act of February 3, 1887, providing (1) that if there has been in a State a final determination of any electoral controversy, the Governor shall certify the decision to the Secretary of State, who shall transmit the information to the first meeting of Congress; (2) that if more than one return of vote should be made by a State to the president of the Senate, that one shall be counted which was delivered by the regular electors; (3} that when the question is which of two election boards in a State is regular, that one will be recognized which the Senate and the House decide to be the one authorized by law, (4) but if the Houses disagree, then the electors certified by the Governor of the State shall be accepted; (5) that Congress shall sit in joint session in the House of Representatives at one o'clock in the afternoon of the second Wednesday in February following the meeting of electors; (6) that there shall be two tellers for the Senate and two for the House, who shall receive from the president of the Senate the election returns from each State as he opens them in alphabetical order and who shall read the returns in the hearing of the joint session and make lists of the results and give them to the president of the Senate for announcement; (7) and that the president of the Senate shall call for objections in writing of any State for consideration by each House.
Since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment188 Congress meets on January 6 after the presidential election, to receive the votes of the electoral college.
The person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
It has been pointed out that the first eleven Amendments sprang from the fear of National power which many of the States possessed. Those Amendments were designed to stay the National hand. Amendment XII was procedural to eliminate confusion in the selection of the President and Vice President and in definition of their succession in the implementation of their duties under the Constitution.
The Original Thirteenth Amendment
Ratified March 12, 1819
The Founders held an intense disdain and distrust of "Nobility" as a result of a long history, during Colonial times, of abuses and excesses against the Rights of Man and the established Common Law and Constitutions by the "Nobility", and therefore placed in the new Constitution two injunctions against acceptance of Titles of Nobility or Honor or emoluments from external sources. The Revolutionary War for Independence was primarily waged to eliminate these abuses and excesses of the "Nobility" and the "Monied Classes" from the life of the Nation, recognizing the Equality of all men.
As there was no penalty attached to a title of nobility or honor in the Constitution as originally ratified, the Original Thirteenth Amendment was proposed in December of 1809 to institute penalty for accepting or using a "Title of Nobility or Honor" to set oneself apart from, or superior to, or possessing of any special privileges or immunities not available to any other citizen of the United States, and to eliminate the widespread use of "emoluments" as bribery and graft of the legislatures and judiciary used to further the causes and positions of "Special Interests". It was an attempt to keep politicians and civil servants "Honest" in their service to the citizens.
As noted in the discussion 69 in Article 1 of the Constitution, the original Thirteenth Amendment, was ratified in 1819, adding a heavy penalty upon any person holding or accepting a Title of Nobility or Honor, or emoluments from external powers by making that person "cease to be a citizen of the United States" and "incapable of holding any Office of Trust or Profit under the United States". This Amendment was proposed, properly ratified, and was a matter of record in the several States archives until 1876, by which time it was quietly, and fraudulently deleted, never repealed, during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War and the presently acknowledged Thirteenth Amendment was substituted. The original records of the original 13th amendment were thought to be destroyed at the time of the burning of the capitol during the War of 1812, but have since been found in the archives of the British Museum, the national archives and in the archives of several of the States and territories. The fact of its existence had been lost to memory until, by chance, researchers discovered in the public library at Belfast, Maine an 1825 copy of the U. S. Constitution.MA1825 Subsequent research shows that it was in the records of the ratifying states and territories until 1876, the last to drop it from record was the Territory of Wyoming after 1876. The most intriguing discovery was the 1867 Colorado Territory edition which includes both the "missing" Thirteenth Amendment and the current 13th Amendment, on the same page. The current 13th Amendment is listed as the 14th Amendment in the 1867 Colorado edition. See Images CO1868-1, CO1868-2, CO1868-3, CO1868-4, and CO1868-5.
The 1876 Laws of Wyoming which similarly show the "missing" Thirteenth Amendment, the current 13th Amendment (freeing the slaves), and the current 15th Amendment on the same page. The current 13th Amendment is listed as the 14th, the current 14th amendment is omitted, and the current 15th Amendment is in proper place. See Images WY1876-1, WY1876-2, WY1876-3 - See Ref. "Thirteenth Amendment Publication Table"
For further discussion and the history of the Original Thirteenth Amendment see "Demon of Discord, Ratification and Suppression of the Original Thirteenth Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."
On December 3, 1860, the month after Lincoln was elected, President Buchanan asked Congress to propose an "explanatory amendment". It was to be another 13th Amendment, to eradicate and cover-up the deletion of the Original Thirteenth Title of Nobility and Honour Amendment. This proposed amendment, which would have forever legalized slavery, was signed by President Buchanan the day before Lincoln took office.167a
This amendment to the Constitution relating to slavery was sent to the states for ratification by the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Congress on March 2, 1861, when it passed the Senate, having previously passed the House on February 28, 1861. It is interesting to note in this connection that this and the ratified Anti-Slavery amendment of 1865 are the only resolutions proposing amendments to the Constitution to have been signed by the President. The President's signature is considered unnecessary because of the constitutional provision that on the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress the proposal shall be submitted to the States for ratification.
The resolve to amend signed by President Buchanan on March 2, 1861, two days before Lincoln's inauguration, read:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, viz:
"ARTICLE THIRTEEN, No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."
In other words, President Buchanan had signed a resolve that would have forever permitted slavery, and upheld states' rights. Only one State, Illinois, Lincoln's home state, had ratified this proposed amendment before the Civil War broke out in 1861. It appears at 12 Stat. 251, 36th Congress. Two more State legislatures ratified it, beginning with Ohio on May 13, 1861, followed by Maryland on January 10, 1862.
But the onslaught of the Civil War taught that the Nation may be in even greater peril from the States than they ever were from the Nation. And so, after more than seventy years of national life, the people, by the presently acknowledged 13th Amendment and the two following, laid upon the States restrictions which a few years before would have been impossible. The Constitution had gone forty-six years (1819 - 1865) without an Amendment. c41
In the tumult of 1865, the original Thirteenth Amendment was removed from our Constitution. In a Congressional Resolve to amend dated December 5, 1864, approved and signed by President Lincoln, February 1, 1865, another Amendment numbered XIII (which prohibited slavery in Sect. 1, and ended states' rights in Sect. 2) was proposed. When, on January 13, 1865, a two-thirds vote was taken in the House of Representatives for proposing the currently presented 13th Amendment "in honor of the immortal and sublime event" the House adjourned. It was then presented to the States for ratification. Two months later, April 9, 1865, the Civil War ended with General Lee's surrender. On April 14, President Lincoln was assassinated, dying on April 15th.
On December 18, 1865, the "new" 13th Amendment loudly prohibiting and abolishing slavery (and quietly surrendering states rights to the federal government) was proclaimed adopted by Secretary of State Seward, replacing and effectively erasing the original Thirteenth Amendment that had prohibited acceptance of "titles of nobility" and "honors" and "emoluments", and dishonest politicians have been bought and bribed and have treasonously accepted graft from external sources ever since, with no thought of penalty.
Proposed by Congress February 1, 1865, proclaimed adopted December 18, 1865.168
See Also Utah Supreme Court Opinion, Dyett vs Turner, a March 22, 1968 opinion of the Utah Supreme Court. It is the official view of the Court on the flawed nature of the so-called Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
168 The language of this Amendment is older than the Constitution itself. On July 13, 1787, the Congress under the Articles of Confederation passed the ordinance creating the Northwest Territory (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin), which provided: "There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." But a proviso required the return from the territory of fugitive slaves.
Congress had previously abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and in the Territories, had repealed the Fugitive Slave Law, and had given freedom to the Negroes who had served in the Union armies.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves only in the seceded States, excepting some parishes (counties) in Louisiana, a few counties in Virginia, and the whole of Tennessee. Besides, the validity of the proclamation under the war power of the President was questioned. To remove the legal doubt and to liberate slaves everywhere the Amendment was adopted.
Of the Thirteenth Amendment a Federal court said:
"It trenches directly upon the power of the States and of the people of the States, It is the first and only instance of a change of this character in the organic law. It destroyed the most important relation between capital and labor in all the States where slavery existed. It affected deeply the fortunes of a large portion of their people. It struck out of existence millions of property. The measure was the consequence of a strife of opinions, and a conflict of interests, real or imaginary, as old as the Constitution itself. These elements of discord grew in intensity. Their violence was increased by the throes and convulsions of a civil war. The impetuous vortex finally swallowed up the evil, and with it forever the power to restore it."c110
A law of a State under which one fined for a misdemeanor confessed judgment and agreed to work out the fine for the surety who paid it for him was held by the Supreme Court (1914) to be unconstitutional as creating "involuntary servitude" in violation of this Amendment.c110
A person who hired another under a contract by which the hirer had the right to imprison the worker or keep him under guard until the contract should he performed was held (1903) by a Federal court to violate the Peonage Act of Congress (1867) passed under this Amendment. And so it was held (1907) of a State law making it a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for one to agree to perform service and then, after receiving a part of the consideration in advance, refuse to perform.c110
Thus it is seen from very late cases that this provision is still vital and active. But in many cases it has been held that city ordinances requiring persons committed to the city prison to work out their fines in the streets or elsewhere do not violate this Amendment. c110
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 170
170 Congress passed under this constitutional authority the Civil Rights Act of March 1, 1875, another act prohibiting peonage, and some other statutes. The first and second sections of the Civil Rights Act of Congress were held (1888) by the Supreme Court in contravention of this Amendment, which is a regulation of the States with regard to slavery, and which does not authorize Congress to regulate the conduct of individuals who prevent Negroes from having the full and equal enjoyment of hotels, theatres, and other public places. Legislation of this kind comes within the police power of the State. In many of the States there has been legislation requiring the providing of separate but equal accommodations for white persons and Negroes. Such regulations have been held valid as essential to public order. c18
The Supreme Court has said that while the object of this Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, "in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either." The Court said that laws permitting and even requiring separation did not imply the inferiority of either race to the other, and such laws had been generally, if not universally, recognized as within the competency of State legislatures in the exercise of their police powers.
Proposed by Congress June 16, 1866; proclaimed adopted July 21, 1868. 171
See Also Utah Supreme Court Opinion, Dyett vs Turner, a March 22, 1968 opinion of the Utah Supreme Court. It is the official view of the Court on the flawed nature of the so-called Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
171 The Thirteenth Amendment was found to be not enough. Reviewing the history of the times, the Supreme Court pointed out that in some States the former slaves were "forbidden to appear in the towns in any other character than menial servants" that they were required to reside upon and cultivate the land "without the right to purchase or own it"; that they were excluded from many occupations of gain and were 'not permitted to give testimony in the courts in any case where a white man was a party"; that laws were passed imposing heavy fines on vagrants and loiterers, who, if unable to pay the fines, were sold to the highest bidder. "These circumstances", said the Supreme Court, "whatever of falsehood or misconception may have been mingled with their presentation, forced upon the statesmen who had conducted the Federal Government in safety through the crisis of the rebellion and who supposed that by the Thirteenth Article of Amendment they had secured the result of their labors, the conviction that something more was necessary in the way of constitutional protection to the unfortunate race who had suffered so much." c51
This Amendment made the Negro not only a citizen of the United States but also of the State of his residence. It struck the word "white" from the constitutions of northern States which had limited citizenship to white males. In North and South the Negro became possessed in law of all the rights of citizenship. c17
The citizen was not, under the theory of States' rights, in contact with the National Government. He owed allegiance to his State, and the State dealt with the Nation. That theory was definitely set aside by this Amendment, which made all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof citizens of both the Nation and the State, owing allegiance to both authorities. James Wilson of Pennsylvania stated 19 this doctrine clearly in the Constitutional Convention.
The contention was made in the first great case to arise under this Amendment, which did not involve the Negro at all, the controversy being between rival business houses, that the Amendment originated a new citizenship for all, which supplanted former State citizenship and changed the rights attending it. That would mean that the National Government would now be the source of all those rights of a fundamental character which belong to the citizens of all free governments by virtue of their manhood, and for the protection (not creation) of which all just governments are formed. The Supreme Court rejected (1873) the contention and said that the Amendment did not disclose "any purpose to destroy the main features of the general system." It held that the command that "no State shall . . . abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" does not prevent a State from abridging privileges of State citizenship as distinguished from privileges of National citizenship. This momentous decision, involving the preservation of State citizenship and State rights, was, like that upholding the power of the President in the Civil War to blockade ports and take any steps necessary to preserve the life of the Nation, rendered by a majority of one vote.
In the Dred Scott case (1856), brought by a negro servant of a surgeon in the United States army, who had been taken into Illinois and other free territory and who claimed for that reason the right to liberty, as the negro slave Somerset had by the decision of Lord Mansfield been liberated when he was taken from Virginia to England, the Supreme Court held that the Negro was "not intended to be included under the word 'citizen' in the Constitution". for which reason he had no standing in court. By this Amendment he became a citizen of the Nation and a citizen of his State, and possessed of the benefits of all State and National constitutions and laws. The fugitive slave provision 121 was inserted in the Constitution to prevent the application in this country of the rule announced in the Somerset case. c16, c51
"While the Fourteenth Amendment was intended primarily for the benefit of the negro race," said a Federal court, "it also confers the right of citizenship upon persons of all other races,... born or naturalized in the United States." But a person born in the United States and not "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" does not become a citizen, such as the child of a foreign minister or consul. c51
The refusal of Congress to permit the naturalization of Chinese was held by the Supreme Court (1898) not to exclude from the benefit of this Amendment a Chinese "born . . . in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof." While the parents were subjects of the Emperor of China, they were permanently domiciled in the United States and carrying on business. The definition of "citizen" in this Amendment is only an affirmation of the ancient rule of citizenship by birth within the territory of allegiance. The alien owes allegiance to the country of his residence -- he is "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" -- and therefore his children become citizens by birth. c15, c51
An act of 1907 expatriating an American woman marrying a foreigner, even though remaining in the United States, sustained by the Supreme Court as constitutional, was amended in 1922 so that expatriation results only from her residing two years continuously in her husband's country or five years outside of the United States. c118
After the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted a woman in Missouri, where the right to vote was limited to males, sued the registrar because he refused (1872) to put her name on the list of voters. She contended that as she was a "citizen of the United States" under the Amendment, the State could not "abridge" her right as such citizen to vote for the presidential electors. The Supreme Court, denying her claim (1874), said that as she was a citizen born of citizen parents before the Amendment, her status with respect to voting was not changed by it, because the right to vote before the Amendment was not necessarily one of the privileges or immunities of citizenship. That was demonstrated by the necessity for the Fifteenth Amendment, which protected the Negro from being excluded from voting because of color. That Amendment did not affect the Negro's wife, who remained debarred on account of sex. But she became entitled to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment removed that bar.c116, c118
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;172
172 This was held by the Supreme Court to mean, as the language imports, the privileges and immunities of National citizenship and not to include those belonging to the citizen of the State. It is a prohibition, not respecting action by an individual or by a group of individuals, but only action by the legislative, the executive, or the judicial department of a State government. The Supreme Court held (1897) that the State acted, and not the individual, where the law empowered the county judge to select jurors and he rejected Negroes. But not so where in another State white jurors only were selected, there being no State law on the subject; that action was by individuals. This command is not violated by State laws fairly regulating the qualifications of jurors.
The fundamental rights protected by the first ten Amendments against National invasion were not, the Supreme Court has said (1900), by this clause converted into or superseded by rights or immunities which the State cannot touch. State action is no further restrained than it was before, except in the particulars clearly within the purpose of this Amendment. Accordingly a State law limiting the length of a day's work in mines and smelters was held (1896) by the Supreme Court to deny no National immunity or privilege of the employer under this clause. The subject involved in that case was one affecting the citizen of the State and not the citizen of the United States. The relation between employer and employee is one to be supervised by the police power of the State, except that the Nation, under the commerce clause, has dealt with the safety, the hours, and the wages of employees of railways in interstate commerce. c63, c88
The laws enacted by the States for the benefit of the working classes have been generally held by the Supreme Courts of the States not to deny to the employer any constitutional privilege, and the Supreme Court of the United States has sustained such decisions when cases have been carried to it. The Supreme Court held (1917) that no privilege or immunity of National citizenship was abridged by a State law limiting the length of the day of workers, or by another for paying wages in cash. While the right to labor and the privilege of organizing are fundamental, under State citizenship, they are secured by State law and not by this Amendment. The Supreme Court upheld (1915) the law of a State, which was challenged as abridging the privilege of citizens of the United States under this clause, requiring that only citizens of the United States be employed on public works and that citizens of the State be preferred. But while the State as an employer may thus select its employes, it cannot control other employers; and a State constitutional provision requiring that eighty percent of the employes in mines and smelters be natives of the United States was held by the Supreme Court (1915) to "abridge the privileges" of naturalized citizens of the United States in violation of this clause.c42, c51, c63, c88
The privilege of a child to attend the public schools is one springing from the State and not the Nation, and therefore the child cannot assert a constitutional right to admission under this clause. Nor is it the denial of a privilege of National citizenship, the Supreme Court held (1915), for a State to enact that a student entering its university must renounce his allegiance to any Greek-letter or like fraternity.
State laws forbidding litigants to remove cases to the Federal courts have been uniformly held to abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States. In 1914 the Supreme Court said that a State cannot penalize the assertion by a citizen of a Federal or National right.
While a corporation is a "person" within this Amendment, it is not a "citizen" of the United States whose "privileges or immunities" a State is forbidden to abridge. A State may therefore impose upon a corporation created by another State restrictive conditions respecting its doing business (but not interstate commerce) within the first named State.c28, c29
Many forms of regulation by States have been held by State supreme courts and by the Supreme Court of the United States not to be abridgments under this clause of the rights or privileges of the citizens of the United States, such as the regulation of professions and occupations, of the manufacture of foods, of jury trials and criminal prosecutions, and so on.
nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; 173
173 In the Fifth Amendment the Nation is forbidden 151 to deprive any one "of life, liberty or property without due process of law"; and here the like command is issued by the people to the State. In the beginning it was National power that was feared. Experience later taught that the power of the State also may be tyrannical. Due process of law means, said the Supreme Court in a late case (1908), that "no change in ancient procedure can be made which disregards those fundamental principles... which... protect the citizen in his private right and guard him against the arbitrary action of the government."
Private property is taken for public use in opening streets in cities, in constructing railways and canals, in erecting public buildings, in laying out public parks, and for kindred purposes. The owner cannot be deprived of his property for such purposes by the State without due process of law, that is, without a full hearing and adequate compensation.
In 1884 it was held by the Supreme Court of the United States that a law of California under which a person accused of crime was brought to trial, convicted, and sentenced to death under an "information" or written charge by the prosecuting attorney instead of under an indictment by a grand jury 148 did not violate the due process clause. The grand jury guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment is granted against National power and not against the State.
And it was later held (1900) by the Supreme Court that due process of law was not denied to the accused by a statute of Utah under which he was convicted by eight of the twelve jurors, as the "impartial jury" (twelve men agreeing unanimously) guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment153 must be provided only in Federal courts. c62
The liberty of the citizen to make contracts is not denied by a State law limiting the hours of the day of labor and fixing a fine for each violation, the Supreme Court held (1908), because liberty is not absolute when the welfare of society is involved. And so the Supreme Court upheld (1914) as constitutional under this clause the law of a State forbidding under penalty that women be employed longer than a designated day.
In 1937 the Supreme Court upheld a law (1913) of the State of Washington establishing wages and working conditions for women and children, overruling in principle a decision (p. 216) in 1923, and others following it, that a law requiring minimum wages to women and children regardless of their earning capability took private property for public welfare in violation of this Clause. c63
This clause was held (1915) contravened by a State law forbidding the employing of any foreign-born person who was not naturalized or who had not declared his intention to become a citizen, as the alien has the like right to liberty and property and the "equal protection of the laws" that a native enjoys.c1
State laws prohibiting the employing of children under specified ages and in employments named have been upheld as denying no right to the employer, the parent, or the child. This clause was not violated by a State law imposing upon manufacturers, under heavy penalty, the absolute duty of making expenditures for safeguarding their machinery to prevent injury to employes. Laws prohibiting the payment of wages in scrip or orders on stores, laws requiring semi-monthly payment of wages in some employments, laws prohibiting the assignment of wages not yet earned without the written consent of the wife of the employe, and many other kinds of laws for the help of the working classes have been upheld by the Supreme Courts of the States and the Supreme Court of the United States. c63
The Supreme Court of Colorado held (1921) an amendment to the Constitution of that State (1913) a denial of due process of law because it prohibited the courts of the State (except the Supreme Court) from passing upon certain State and Federal constitutional questions and left it for the people to determine at the polls whether a decision of the Supreme Court should become effective at all. As the National Constitution is the supreme law of the land, 133 and as "the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding", 134 the duty thus placed upon the judges of State courts to uphold the Constitution of the United States could not be stripped of them by any act of either the legislature or the people. c32, c37, c61
nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 174
174 By Section 2 of Article IV 119 "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States." That is, a citizen of one State doing business in another State cannot be denied the privileges and immunities of the citizens of that State. But the clause in this Amendment was designed to prevent a State from making discriminations between its own citizens. While it was written primarily for the liberated Negro (who is not mentioned in the Amendment), the language is without limitation, extending to "any person", and it has been applied in upwards of a thousand cases in State and National courts to every conceivable form of inequality arising or alleged to arise out of the laws of States.
An Act of Congress fixing punishment for three or more persons conspiring to deprive another of the equal protection of the laws was held invalid by the Supreme Court (1883) because the Fourteenth Amendment is a limitation upon the State and not upon persons. The word "persons" includes a resident alien or a corporation.c18
But this language does not prevent reasonable classification as long as all within a class are treated alike. The design of this clause was "to prevent any person or class of persons from being singled out as a special subject for discriminating and hostile legislation." This does not prevent, for example, the imposition of different species of taxes. Thus while houses and lands are taxed upon their actual value, railroad companies may be required to pay taxes upon their gross income, and neither owner has a ground of complaint that he has been denied the equal protection of the laws. So taxes on inheritances, which the Supreme Court held to be by permission of law contrary to the decisions of supreme courts of several States, may be graduated according to the size of the estate one receives upon the death of another, and the one inheriting a large estate cannot complain that the scale of rates applied in his case is higher than that used for a smaller inheritance. The provision of a State homestead law excluding Negroes from the benefits of the act denied equal protection and was therefore held (1885) unconstitutional. Because a State law requiring voters to read excludes a greater number of Negroes than others, it does not therefore deny equal protection. The Supreme Court upheld (1896) a State law requiring railway companies to provide separate accommodations for white and colored passengers; with equal accommodations equal protection was preserved. And so where school for Chinese offered the advantages of other schools it was held (1902) that equal protection was not denied. A law putting in effect the Australian system of balloting was held (1874) not to deny equal protection to the blind or to others physically or educationally unable to vote. A city ordinance requiring that the hair of prisoners be clipped was held (1879) invalid as directed against Chinese and imposing a degrading and cruel punishment. A privilege tax of $25 on business men resident in the State and a tax of $100 on non-residents was held (1919) to deny equal protection.c42, c78
The Supreme Court held (1920) it within the police power of a State to enact that natural gas coming from wells within ten miles of an incorporated town or an industrial plant should not be burned for its products (such as carbon black) unless the remainder of the heat contained in the gas should be fully and actually applied for other manufacturing purposes or for domestic uses. A company which was burning gas in making carbon black for printer's ink claimed that the legislation discriminated respecting owners of wells and producers of carbon black within ten miles of a town and those beyond that radius, and that it was therefore a denial of that "equal protection" which a State is forbidden to withhold. The court said that the classification of users, appearing to have been made for the conservation of natural resources and not arbitrarily, was valid. c42, c120
A city ordinance prohibiting Negroes from residing in blocks in which the majority of the houses were occupied by white persons, and in like manner prohibiting white persons from residing in blocks largely occupied by Negroes, was by the Supreme Court held (1917) unconstitutional, where a Negro purchased property and could not occupy it under the ordinance.c78
But the Supreme Court of California held (1920) that a condition subsequent in a deed to land, that the premises would revert to the grantor or seller if occupation of them should ever be permitted to any but a Caucasian, did not conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment, as that prohibits action, not by an individual, but by a State.c78
Equal protection was held (1892) denied by a State law forbidding mining companies to keep general stores for the patronage of the employees, because no such limitation was placed upon other employers.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. 175
175 Up to this time members of the House of Representatives were allowed to each State in proportion to the white population and three fifths of the slaves11, but this provision made each Negro count as one.
But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of Electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.176
176 This enables the Nation to inflict punishment upon the State for preventing citizens from voting -- from voting for National officers not only, but also some officers of the State, as the executive who calls elections to fill vacancies in Congress, the judges who may pass upon questions of election, and the members of the legislature who in 1866 (but not since the Seventeenth Amendment, 1913) elected the Senators of the United States. A State law or constitution requiring of voters ability to read and write does not contravene this provision. Congress never has exerted its power under this Amendment to reduce the number of a State's representatives in the National House.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any once, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same. or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.177
177 It was claimed by Jefferson Davis, who had been President of the Confederate States of America (1861- 1865), and who had in 1845 been a member of the National Congress, that the punishment specified in this Section, which prevented him from ever holding any office, National or State, superseded in his case the punishment for treason which Congress had axed115 and that therefore the indictment charging him with treason must be quashed. The point was argued, but before it was decided by the court a proclamation of general amnesty was issued by the President, and later the indictment was dismissed. On Christmas day, 1868, President Johnson issued a general proclamation of amnesty, granting "unconditionally and without reservation" to all who had been engaged in the Southern cause, "a full pardon."
Not until June 6, 1898, did Congress remove the last vestige of this disability. On March 31, 1896, Congress repealed an earlier act forbidding that any one who had left the army or navy of the United States to aid the Confederacy should ever hold place in the army or navy again. But the Act of Oblivion came two years later, when the disability imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment was removed as to all. War with Spain had begun in April of that year. Among the most eager volunteers were "elderly Southerners" who had served as soldiers or officers in the Confederate army. General Joseph Wheeler, a noted cavalry leader of the South, and a son of Robert E. Lee were among those to receive military commissions from President McKinley, the Commander in Chief, who had served in the Union army in the Civil War.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. 178
178 The debt incurred for the Union during the Civil War, including bounties and pensions, was by the adoption of this Amendment acknowledged and proportionately assumed by the southern States; and at the same time they were rendered incapable of paying any part of the debt (over $1,400,000,000) which they owed to their own citizens and to England, France, and other countries. The southern States lost also the value of the emancipated slaves.
This section deals only with what the Nation and the State shall do. An individual was held bound by the Supreme Court to pay after emancipation the price which he had agreed before the Civil War to give for a slave, when such a contract was legal, for it was out of the power of a State to impair71, as it undertook to do, the obligation of such a contract.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. 179
179 Appropriate legislation by Congress means such as is "adapted to the mischief and wrong which the Amendment was intended to provide against" -- that is, to prevent oppressive action, not by individuals, but by State governments. Therefore the Civil Rights Act of March 1, 1875, which declared that all persons (meaning the emancipated Negroes) should be "entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theatres, and other places of public amusement", was held (1883) by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional as to the sections which provided punishment for persons who should interfere with the rights mentioned, for the prohibition of the amendment is directed only against action by States.c18
"Until some State law has been passed," said the Supreme Court, "or some State action through its officers or agents has been taken adverse to the rights of the citizens sought to be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, no legislation of the United States under said Amendment, nor any proceeding under such legislation, can be called into activity."
Proposed by Congress February 27, 1869; proclaimed adopted March 30, 1870. 180
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
180 This is the last of the three Amendments arising from the Civil War. By these "the chains of the Constitution", as Jefferson called its limitations, were placed upon the States, as by the first ten Amendments they had been put upon the Nation.
"The Fifteenth Amendment," said the Supreme Court (1875), "does not confer the right of suffrage upon any one. It prevents the States, or the United States, however, from giving preference in this particular to one citizen of the United States over another on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Before its adoption this could be done. It was as much within the power of a State to exclude citizens of the United States from voting on account of race, etc., as it was on account of age, property, or education. Now it is not." c48, c116
A State which voted against the adoption of this Amendment left the word "white" in its constitution as descriptive of those entitled to vote. The Supreme Court said (1884) that the amendment struck the word from the constitution of the State.c48
The "Grandfather's Clause" cases, as they were called, were decided by the Supreme Court in 1915. In 1908 a law was passed in Maryland giving the right to vote to all persons who, prior to January 1, 1868, were entitled to vote in that State "and to the lawful male descendants of any person" who was at that time entitled to vote. As the Negro was not at that time entitled to vote in the State, and as the Fifteenth Amendment forbidding restrictions upon him had not been adopted, the State law operated to exclude all his descendants from the polls. In 1910 a constitutional amendment in Oklahoma presented a literacy test (which may be legal if fair) and at the same time limited the right to vote to a person who was a voter on January 1, 1866, or a lineal descendant of such a person. In both of these instances the "previous condition of servitude" actually determined that a class could not vote. The Supreme Court held that the State law and the State constitutional provision were both violative of the Fifteenth Amendment, because they were based on standards which became illegal by the self-operating force of the Amendment.c48
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Proposed by Congress July 31, 1909; proclaimed adopted February 25, 1913. 181
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes,
181 The purpose of the Amendment, said the Supreme Court (1916), was, not to extend the taxing power of the government, but only to exclude the source from which a taxed income is derived from being used as the criterion in determining whether it should be apportioned by Congress among the States on the basis of population in obedience to the clause explained by Note 10 10, c55
from whatever source derived,182 without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
182 But this does not authorize the taxing of the salaries of the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States and of the judges of the inferior Federal courts, for it is forbidden 98 that they be diminished. Therefore the Supreme Court held (1920) unconstitutional that clause of the Income Tax Act of 1919 which named such salaries as subject to taxation. The command that the salaries of judges be not reduced was given, not in any sense to favor the individuals who receive the salaries, but solely to protect the judicial powers of the Nation from being intimidated by the Legislative and Executive departments out of a state of independence into a condition of fear. But in 1939, the majority of the Supreme Court having been changed by new appointments, it was held that, following the act of 1932 taxing the salaries of judges "taking office after" the enactment, the imposition of an income tax on salaries would not operate to diminish them contrary to the prohibition 98 in Article III. c55, c58
Proposed by Congress May 15, 1912; proclaimed adopted May 31, 1913.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years 183 and each Senator shall have one vote.
183 This Amendment changes the clause explained by Note 19. 19 Senators are now elected by the people (as members of the House of Representatives always have been) instead of by the legislatures of the States. More than thirty States had declared for the direct election of senators. During the preceding twenty years so many protracted election contests had been conducted in State legislatures that legislation for the benefit of the States could not be carried on. In some instances no senator was elected and thus the State was deprived of its full vote in the Senate. The first resolution to amend the Constitution in this respect was introduced in Congress in 1826. Many others were introduced from time to time. In 1869 President Johnson suggested to Congress an amendment for the direct election of senators. Before this Amendment public opinion often affected or controlled the choice of a senator. Thus the famous debates throughout Illinois between Lincoln and Douglas (1858) were in quest of a senatorship.
The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies; Provided, that the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointment until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This Amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
Proposed by Congress December 19, 1917; proclaimed adopted January 29, 1919.
Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. 184
184 On June 7, 1920, the Supreme Court of the United States, disposing in one opinion of seven cases arising in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Missouri, held that by Article V of the Constitution 129 the power to make this amendment was reserved by the people. As the source of all power is in the people, it is difficult to conceive of an invalid amendment if it has been carried through by regular proceedings. While originally the people may not have believed a subject one for consideration in the Constitution, they may change their opinion, and their will is the supreme law. The Supreme Court said that the first section (the one declaring the prohibition) "is operative throughout the entire territorial limits of the United States, binds all legislative bodies, courts, public officers and individuals within those limits, and of its own force invalidates every legislative act -- whether by Congress, by a State legislature, or by a territorial assembly -- which authorizes or sanctions what the section prohibits." c39
That gives a remarkably striking illustration of the practical operation of that marvelous invention of American statesmanship, -- the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, before which all conflicting constitutions and laws are nullities, as ineffectual as if they never existed. In like manner the Fourteenth Amendment, as has been seen, struck racial limitations out of northern as well as southern State constitutions, wiped away volumes of enactments by the Congress and by the legislatures of the States, and rendered useless except as history a great number of judicial decisions upon the status of the slave.
It was contended that "two-thirds of both Houses" in Article V means two thirds of the membership of each House, and that as such a vote did not propose this Amendment, it was invalid. But the Supreme Court repeated what it had held in an earlier case, that two thirds of the members present, assuming the presence of a quorum (majority), may propose an Amendment.
Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 185
185 The meaning of this language provoked a great deal of discussion while the Amendment was pending. Where State and Federal courts have "concurrent jurisdiction" of a subject, for example, the one whose jurisdiction is first invoked retains the case to the exclusion of the other. Did Congress mean anything like that when it wrote "concurrent power" in the Amendment? Would the inadequate legislation of an unsympathetic State prevent Congress from legislating? Would early legislation by Congress exclude a State from the field? The Supreme Court said that the words do not mean joint power, or require that legislation by Congress must be sanctioned by a State, or that the power is divided along lines which distinguish State commerce from interstate.
It was evidently the purpose to make use of the experience of many of the States in enforcing prohibitory laws and to put with that experience the power of the Nation, the National power to be employed more vigorously where a State might be indifferent.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the Legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years 186 from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
186 This Amendment is the first to contain such a limitation as to time. This was introduced upon a showing that many old proposals are still pending, one against the extension of slavery. In the Constitution there is no limitation. Any such time limitation is a condition of the Amendment proposal itself. The 18th was the first to incorporate such limitation, and of those ratified since, the 20th and 21st included the limitation. The 27th was actually the 2nd Amendment proposal submitted for ratification in the first session of Congress in 1789, prohibiting a change of the pay of Congressmen until an election had intervened. In 1873, in the days of the "salary grab", the Senate of Ohio took it up and approved it by resolution, after it had been pending for eighty-four years without ratification by three fourths of the States. This Amendment, the 27th ratified, was finally approved by the required three-fourths majority in 1992, two hundred and three years after it was proposed. c5
Proposed by Congress June 5, 1919; proclaimed August 26, 1920.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. 187
187 The resolution of proposal was first introduced in Congress by Senator A. A. Sargent of California at the request of Miss Susan B. Anthony, on June 10, 1878, nearly forty-one years before it was passed by both Houses.
Eleven years before that, when the Reform BiII of 1867 was pending in the English Parliament, which made manhood suffrage almost general by extending it beyond the upper and middle classes to which it had been limited by the Reform Bill of 1832, John Stuart Mill proposed an amendment that the Bill include suffrage by women. The proposal was first taken as "something droll" (McCarthy's "History of Our Own Times"), but it finally produced "a very interesting, grave, and able discussion in the House of Commons." The amendment received 73 votes; there were 196 against it. In 1884 the third Reform Bill extended suffrage to all males except paupers, lunatics, and criminals. The franchise was given to women in 1919, and the first woman to take a seat in the House of Commons, elected in November and admitted in December of that year, Lady Nancy Astor of Plymouth, was born in Virginia of the Langhorne family. The first woman entered the Australian Parliament in 1921, and in the same year Miss Agnes Mc Phail was elected to the Canadian Parliament. In March, 1922, the Committee for Privileges of the House of Lords approved the petition of Viscountess Rhondda for the seat which her father had occupied, but the House denied it.
In many States in the Union women enjoyed suffrage in State affairs before this Amendment. Wyoming enfranchised women in 1869, Colorado in 1893, Utah and Idaho in 1896, and Washington in 1910. In some other States they enjoyed suffrage with respect to minor offices. As the qualifications stated in the Constitution entitling one to a seat in the House of Representatives 8, 9 are applicable to a woman, a female member of the House was elected by Montana in 1916, nearly four years before this Amendment was proclaimed. The first woman thus to be distinguished by a seat in the Congress of the United States was Miss Jeannette Rankin.
This Amendment, being the Supreme law of the land, rendered ineffectual forever the provisions in many Acts of Congress, in many State constitutions and in the enactments of many State legislatures containing the word "male" with respect to suffrage.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this Article by appropriate legislation.
Proposed by Congress March 3, 1932; proclaimed February 6, 1933.
Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the third day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this Article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.188
188 This provided a Congress organized and in readiness to cooperate with the new President when he should come in seventeen days later. Formerly, when Congress expired on March 4 and a President took office on that date, there was no organized legislative body to do business, nor would there be until the first Monday in December next unless the President should call in special session the Representatives and Senators elected in the preceding November with those in both Houses holding over. It was the practice of the outgoing President to call a special session of the Senate for March 4 so that it would be in readiness to confirm the appointments of the new President to the Cabinet and to other posts.
When terms began on March 4 following the election in November a member of the House of Representatives elected in November, 1930, for illustration, would serve a term from March 4, 1931, to March 4, 1933. But he might be defeated for re-election in November, 1932. Yet he would serve out the second or short session, from the first Monday in December, 1932, to March 4, 1933. During that time he was known as a "lame duck," still serving though rejected by his constituents. Thus this was called the "lame duck Amendment."
Terms of Representatives elected in 1932 and of Senators chosen in 1928, which would have expired in March, 1934, were by this Amendment cut short on January 3. So was the term of the President elected in 1932.
Acting under authority given by Article I, section 427a, Congress in 1872 fixed the time for national elections as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the third day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day. 189
Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President Elect shall have died, the Vice President Elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President Elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President Elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President Elect nor a Vice President Elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.190
190 The Twelfth Amendment165 did not cover the failure of both a President elect and a Vice President elect to qualify, The latter half of the final sentence in the foregoing empowers Congress to meet such a contingency.
Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President, whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them. 191
191 This section further strengthens the Twelfth Amendment by empowering Congress to meet the possibility of the death of any of the three persons165 from whom the House of Representatives might choose a President upon the failure of the electors to do so; and the death of either of the two persons eligible in a like contingency to election by the Senate to the Vice Presidency.
Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the fifteenth day of October following the ratification of this Article. 192
192 As the Amendment was proclaimed ratified on February 6, 1933, it went into effect in October of that year and affected elections thereafter.
Section 6. This Article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an Amendment to the Constitution by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.193
193 The first limitation on the time for the legislatures of the States to ratify a proposal by Congress to amend the Constitution was inserted in the Eighteenth or Prohibitory Amendment.186
Proposed by Congress February 20, 1933 proclaimed adopted December 5, 1933.
Section 1. The Eighteenth Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. 194
194 At the time of this proposal the Eighteenth or Prohibitory Amendment 184 had been in effect for over thirteen years and ten months. The 18th was the first grant of police power to the Nation. The police power over "the health, safety, morals, and general well-being of the people" resides inherently in the States. It was not the intention of the writers of the Constitution that the Nation should have ANY police power beyond that necessarily attending each special grant to it, as, for illustration, the implied power under the Money Clause to punish counterfeiting. Therefore, when the Nation took over the vast police duties imposed by the Eighteenth Amendment it found itself structurally unfitted to carry them. While "concurrent power" was left with the States to enforce prohibition along with the Nation 185, they generally lost interest, especially as the aggressive government at Washington seemed desirous of going it alone. The Amendment not only failed to meet the expectations of its proponents, but its operation was found hospitable to organized criminality. The proposal to revoke the Amendment was ratified within the short time of nine months and fifteen days.
Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery therein of Intoxicating Liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited. 195
The Supreme Court of the United States held in 1936 that a law of California imposing a license on the privilege of bringing beer into the State was not, since this Amendment, an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce inviolation of the Commerce Clause, as it would have been before the Amendment, which abrogated the right to import liquors. Other decisions springing from this Amendment have sustained similar regulations by States through license and taxation. c6
Section 3. This Article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an Amendment to the Constitution by Conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress. 196
196 The Constitution itself was by the Congress under the Articles of Confederation submitted to "conventions in the several States", as fear was held that three-fourths of the legislatures would not ratify it. But down to this proposal Congress never had submitted an amendment to conventions of delegates chosen by the people in the States to pass upon the particular proposition. While Article V 129 authorizes Congress to submit a proposal either way, that discretion should be regardful of whether the proposition is to alter the constitutional structure, or only to extend the application of principles long in working effect.
This is the third proposal184, 192 to contain a time limit for ratification. A proposal in 1924 for a Child Labor Amendment has been pending for 72 years. It was rejected in 1925 by enough legislative bodies to defeat it, but in 1933 the national administration revived interest in it so as to cause some legislatures to change their rejections to ratifications. Yet it remains outside the Constitution.
Automatically effective February 26, 1951 when it was approved by 36th State Legislature.
Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.
But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
Section 2. This Article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment in the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961
Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment. 198
198 Until 1961, The governing of the District of Columbia was managed by Congress, without local representation by Congressmen and Senators per Article 1, Section 8, Clause 19.59. This amendment provides for representation of the inhabitants of the District of Columbia in Congress and with appropriate rights of voting in national elections for President and Vice President of the United States. It permits District citizens to elect Presidential electors in addition to the electors from the States that participate in electing the President and Vice President.
The District of Columbia, with more than 800,000 people, has a greater number of persons than the population of each of 13 of our States. District citizens have all the obligations of citizenship, including the payment of Federal taxes, of local taxes, and service in our Armed Forces. They have fought and died in every U.S. war since the District was founded. Yet, prior to this amendment they could not vote in national elections because the Constitution had restricted that privilege to citizens who reside in States. The resultant constitutional anomaly of imposing all the obligations of citizenship without the most fundamental of its privileges arel be removed by this constitutional amendment.
This amendment changed the Constitution only to the minimum extent necessary to give the citizens of the District appropriate participation in national elections. It did not make the District of Columbia a State. It did not give the District of Columbia any other attributes of a State or change the constitutional powers of the Congress to legislate with respect to the District of Columbia and to prescribe its form of government. It does, however, perpetuate recognition of the unique status of the District as the seat of Federal Government under the exclusive legislative control of Congress.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this Article by appropriate legislation.
Proposed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax. 199
199 This amendment eliminated restrictive property and "head" taxes which some of the states had imposed to reduce or eliminate the voting privileges of minority groups and the poorer citizens of the state.
Ratification of the Twenty-fourth Amendment marked the culmination of an endeavor begun in Congress in 1939 to effect elimination of the poll tax as a qualification for voting in federal elections. Property qualifications extend back to colonial days, but the poll tax itself as a qualification was instituted in eleven States of the South following the end of Reconstruction, although at the time of the ratification of this Amendment only five States still retained it. 1 Congress viewed the qualification as ''an obstacle to the proper exercise of a citizen's franchise and expected its removal to provide a more direct approach to participation by more of the people in their government. Congress similarly thought a constitutional amendment necessary, inasmuch as the qualifications had previously escaped constitutional challenge on several grounds. However, not long after ratification of the Amendment Congress by statute had impuned the continuing validity of the poll tax as a qualification in state elections and the Supreme Court had voided it as a violation of the equal protection clause.
In Harman v. Forssenius, the Court struck down a Virginia statute which eliminated the poll tax as an absolute qualification for voting in federal elections and gave federal voters the choice either of paying the tax or of filing a certificate of residence six months before the election. Viewing the latter requirement as imposing upon voters in federal elections an onerous procedural requirement which was not imposed on those who continued to pay the tax, the Court unanimously held the law to conflict with the new Amendment by penalizing those who chose to exercise a right guaranteed them by the Amendment.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this Article by appropriate legislation.
Proposed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.
Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President. 200
200 Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution is affected by this amendment, 81 to clearly define the devolvement of the offices and duties of the President and Vice President, should they be unable to fulfill the duties of these offices.
Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
The Twenty-fifth Amendment was an effort to resolve some of the continuing issues revolving about the office of the President; that is, what happens upon the death, removal, or resignation of the President and what is the course to follow if for some reason the President becomes disabled to such a degree that he cannot fulfill his responsibilities? The practice had been well established that the Vice President became President upon the death of the President, as had happened eight times in our history. Presumably, the Vice President would become President upon the removal of the President from office. Whether the Vice President would become acting President when the President became unable to carry on and whether the President could resume his office upon his recovering his ability were two questions that had divided scholars and experts. Also, seven Vice Presidents had died in office and one had resigned, so that for some twenty per cent of United States history there had been no Vice President to step up. But the seemingly most insoluble problem was that of presidential inability--Garfield lying in a coma for eighty days before succumbing to the effects of an assassin's bullet, Wilson an invalid for the last eighteen months of his term, the result of a stroke--with its unanswered questions: who was to determine the existence of an inability, how was the matter to be handled if the President sought to continue, in what manner should the Vice President act, would he be acting President or President, what was to happen if the President recovered. Congress finally proposed this Amendment to the States in the aftermath of President Kennedy's assassination, with the Vice Presidency vacant and a President who had previously had a heart attack.
This Amendment saw multiple use during the 1970s and resulted for the first time in our history in the accession to the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of two men who had not faced the voters in a national election. First, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned on October 10, 1973, and President Nixon nominated Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to succeed him, following the procedures of Sec. 2 of the Amendment for the first time. Hearings were held upon the nomination by the Senate Rules Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, both Houses thereafter confirmed the nomination, and the new Vice President took the oath of office December 6, 1973. Second, President Richard M. Nixon resigned his office August 9, 1974, and Vice President Ford immediately succeeded to the office and took the presidential oath of office at noon of the same day. Third, again following Sec. 2 of the Amendment, President Ford nominated Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York to be Vice President; on August 20, 1974, hearings were held in both Houses, confirmation voted and Mr. Rockefeller took the oath of office December 19, 1974.
Proposed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. 201
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this Article by appropriate legislation.
Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened. 202
For two centuries of unexampled social, civil, and material advancement, in which it has been the controlling force, the Constitution has applied itself, adapted itself, developed itself, amended itself, and, through the stress and shock of civil and foreign wars the like of which no other constitution ever felt, it has maintained its equilibrium. The American citizen has reason to believe that his fundamental law contains inherently what the Scriptures call "the power of an endless life."
As the Nation enters the new Millennium the only danger seen is that which has always plagued nations, dishonest power hungry influence peddling politicians and bureaucrats whose influence is bought by the special interests,dishonest men who have, with impunity, forgotten they have taken a Sacred Oath to Defend the Constitution and the Nation against ALL enemies, Foreign and Domestic.
Against this danger, as ever, the Ultimate Defense of the Nation and the Constitution, as a Freedom Loving People and Sovereign Citizens, is entirely dependent on the resolve, the dedication and the faith of
We the People of the United States
"Love thou thy land, with love far-brought
From out the storied Past, and used
Within the Present, but transfused
Through future time by power of thought."
"A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom slowly broadens down
From precedent to precedent."
Continue to A Short History of the Constitution
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This set of pages on the Constitution started Mar 23, 1996
Completed Oct 10, 1996 - Last Revised July 4, 2006
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