Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Behind The Times

Let's talk Constitutional amendments today. As you may know, once an amendment reaches the point where it's placed in front of the states, three-quarters of the states must ratify in order for the amendment to pass.

What you might not know, though, is that the other states don't automatically ratify at that point. Any state that is subsequently admitted to the Union must do so as a condition of statehood, but pre-existing states can ratify at their own pace after the amendment is passed.

There isn't a hard-and-fast deadline to ratify once placed before the states. Congress can set one, but they don't necessarily have to. Four amendments are still pending before the state legislators.

Let's tackle the pending ones first. Shown is the proposed amendment, followed by what states have ratified it so far...

*Congressional Apportionment Amendment, came out of the same place the Bill of Rights did. It would essentially create one Congressional seat for every 50,000 people in America. As of the 2000 census, that would give us 5,628 members of the House. It's been rendered moot by Public Law 62-5 of 1911 limiting the total to 435, and that would actually overrule the amendment... if you're getting a headache, don't worry. It only has 11 states, most recently Kentucky in 1792, and it's not going to get any further than that. (The others: New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire, New york, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Vermont.)

*Titles of Nobility Amendment, proposed in 1810. This would keep you from claiming a title of nobility without Congress' consent. 12 states approved it: Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the last in 1812. It's doubtful anyone cares what in blazes you call yourself anymore.

*Corwin Amendment, proposed 1861 by Thomas Corwin of Ohio. It was meant to essentially force Congress to back off of states that had legalized slavery. This was a last-ditch attempt to prevent the Civil War. As you know, it totally worked and everybody calmed down about the whole slavery issue.

I am of course kidding.

Ohio approved it in 1861, Maryland in 1862, Illinois maybe perhaps approved it in 1862, and that's all it has. Who's next? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

*Child Labor Amendment, proposed 1924. This would give Congress the power to "limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age." It has 28 states on board; 10 more would put it in the Constitution: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Wisconsin, Montana, Colorado, Illiois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, Idaho, Indiana, Utah, Wyoming, Kentucky, Kansas, Nevada and New Mexico.

Okay, that all established, we now move on to the amendments already codified and the states still not on board:

1-10th (Bill of Rights): Everyone has ratified (Connecticut was last, ratifying in 1939)
11th (state sovreign immunity): New Jersey, Pennsylvania
12th (electing a President/VP on a single ticket): Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts
13th (banning slavery): Everyone has ratified (Mississippi was last, ratifying in 1995, though even this is unofficial as they didn't do it properly)
14th (guarantees the rights of citizens and other persons): Everyone has ratified (Kentucky was last, ratifying in 1976)
15th (gives the vote to blacks): Everyone has ratified (Tennessee was last, ratifying in 1997)
16th (establishing the income tax): Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia
17th (direct election of Senators): Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia
18th (Prohibition): Connecticut, Rhode Island
19th (gives the vote to women): Everyone has ratified (Mississippi was last, ratifying in 1984)
20th (setting dates for starting and ending Presidential terms): Everyone has ratified, and pretty much all alongside each other at that (Florida was last, ratifying in 1933, about three months after the amendment was made official)
21st (ending Prohibition): Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota
22nd (Presidential term limits): Arizona, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia
23rd (giving electoral votes to DC): Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia
24th (banning the poll tax): Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming
25th (establishing a Presidential line of succession): Georgia, North Dakota, South Carolina
26th (lowering the voting age to 18): Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah
27th (regulating Congressional salaries): Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania

Adding it all up, here's the count by state as to how many amendments each state has yet to ratify:

Mississippi- 6 (17th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th; was also last to ratify 13th and 19th)
Georgia- 5 (17th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 25th)
South Carolina- 5 (17th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 25th)
Florida- 4 (16th, 17th, 23rd, 26th; was also last to ratify 20th)
Kentucky- 4 (17th, 22nd, 23rd, 26th; was also last to ratify 14th)
Rhode Island- 4 (16th, 17th, 18th, 22nd)
Connecticut- 3 (12th, 16th, 18th; was also last to ratify 1st-10th)
Louisiana- 3 (21st, 23rd, 24th)
Massachusetts- 3 (12th, 22nd, 27th)
North Dakota- 3 (21st, 25th, 26th)
Oklahoma- 3 (21st, 22nd, 24th)
Pennsylvania- 3 (11th, 16th, 27th)
Utah- 3 (16th, 17th, 26th)
Virginia- 3 (16th, 17th, 23rd)
Arizona- 2 (22nd, 24th)
Arkansas- 2 (23rd, 24th)
Delaware- 2 (12th, 17th)
Nebraska- 2 (21st, 27th)
North Carolina- 2 (21st, 23rd)
South Dakota- 2 (21st, 26th)
Alabama- 1 (17th)
Kansas- 1 (21st)
Maryland- 1 (17th)
Nevada- 1 (26th)
New Jersey- 1 (11th)
New Mexico- 1 (26th)
New York- 1 (27th)
Texas- 1 (23rd)
Washington- 1 (22nd)
West Virginia- 1 (22nd)
Wyoming- 1 (24th)
Tennessee- 0 (was last to ratify 15th)

Make of this what you will.

No comments: