The Tyler Precedent stood fast in these transition periods. Furthermore, there was no constitutional way to replace a Vice President who had vacated office or to handle a situation where a President became incapacitated while in office. The influential Senator Estes Kefauver had started the amendment effort during the Eisenhower era, and he renewed it in Kefauver died in August after suffering a heart attack on the Senate floor. Within three months, the House and the Senate agreed on the wording of what would become the 25 th Amendment, and in July , Nebraska became the first state to ratify the proposed amendment.
Nevada was the 38 th state to ratify the amendment, in February , making it the law of the land. By now intimately familiar with the proposal, the full Senate passed it just two days after receiving it from committee. The new Democratic House acted almost as swiftly. The Elections Committee reported the measure on February 2, , less than a month after receiving it from the Senate, and adopted only minor changes to the Senate-passed language. After adding a section limiting the ratification period to seven years, the full House added its approval by a vote of to 56 on February Less than two weeks after the House voted, a Conference Committee of the Senate and House agreed to compromise language accepting most of the technical changes made by the House and its seven-year limit for ratification.
Both chambers approved the conference report within days and sent the Amendment on to the States for ratification on March 8, Some of these legislatures were in session at the time but most of them would not meet until the following year. By the time that the remaining state legislatures had convened in January , it was a race to the finish.
Eighteen states ratified the Twentieth Amendment during the first three weeks of , leaving it just one shy of the thirty-six states needed for final approval on Monday, January Jockeying to put the Amendment over the top, four states ratified it that day and three more the next day. By the end of the legislative sessions, all forty-eight states had ratified the Twentieth Amendment, making it one of the few amendments to the Constitution ratified by all the states and the fastest to achieve that feat.
Beermann and William P. David E. Constitution Edward J. Richard L. Neuberger and Stephen B. Norris One issue frequently rises to the surface. Often, when an outgoing Congress does or passes anything after the November elections, opponents object that it violates the Twentieth Amendment. Twelve years later, the former Speaker of the House that led the impeachment, Newt Gingrich, cried foul on the same grounds when an outgoing Democratic Congress enacted legislation after the general elections.
In politics, much depends on whose ox is gored. History shows that there is no basis to such claims. That fact does not mean, however, that the Amendment was intended to bar any future Congress from continuing its second regular session after the November elections or being called into special session by the President after those elections were decided.
To be sure, some proponents of the Amendment predicted that Congress would not remain in session after the November elections once the Amendment was implemented. They were, however, repeatedly and pointedly warned that such a scenario was probable.
2a How does the Constitution address presidential succession It is the scheme
They also chose to pass the Twentieth Amendment with its current text rather than opt for a proposed alternative that would have imposed a fixed pre-elections deadline for adjournment. Norris expressly rejected the alternative precisely because it substituted one type of short session for another and viewed abolishing short sessions as a principal objective of the Amendment. Read the full discussion here. Much of the confusion stems from the fallacious equation of lame-duck lawmaking with lame-duck sessions. They manifestly did not mean to speak of, far less outlaw, continuations of regular sessions that began prior to the elections.
As in the joint statement, Norris and the other chief proponents of the Amendment consistently called for not having Members of Congress wait thirteen months before meeting and not having a time-limited second session of each Congress. The Amendment accomplished these goals with totally eliminating the lame-duck period.
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The issue gains steam whenever an old Congress meets after the November elections, particularly if those elections have shifted power from one party to another in one or both houses. Perhaps it was because they saw the risk of such lawmaking as a lesser evil than a two-month vacuum of power. Perhaps it was because they feared such lawmaking less than an abrupt installation of a new Congress or administration without some time for transition. Perhaps it was because, as politicians, they foresaw benefits in giving an outgoing Congress the option of wrapping up unfinished business following the elections.
The Twentieth Amendment in no way requires adjournment of the second session of post Congresses prior to the November elections. Indeed, when Norris himself became a lame-duck senator in , without raising the least objection, he participated and voted in Senate meetings held between the November elections and the end of his term in January He saw it as his duty.
World War II was in full swing, and continued congressional action was needed. The Twentieth Amendment, ratified in , had changed the date. Worries about the weather, it turned out, were well-founded: on the grounds of the U. Capitol, thousands of spectators stood ankle-deep in mud, their umbrellas no protection against the stinging sleet and slashing wind.
One of the few dry seats at the ceremony, up on the reviewing stand, belonged to Senator George W. General Services Admin. Lee Wolosky and Sam Kleiner.
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Member of the editorial board of Just Security. June 17, by Kate Martin. June 11, by John T. June 5, by Ryan Goodman. June 3, by David R. May 29, by Ryan Goodman. May 29, by Just Security. May 28, by Fred Wertheimer.
Why was it written?
May 28, by Joshua Geltzer and Mary B. May 28, by Michael Stern. May 22, by Stephen Gillers. May 21, by Ryan Goodman.
How JFK’s assassination led to a constitutional amendment
May 21, by John Dean. Is Whitaker qualified to perform the functions of Attorney General? Is Whitaker required to recuse from the Russia investigation? Is Whitaker hostile to the Mueller investigation? Sure, to some extent. But how he might do so is a somewhat complicated question. Under what circumstances could Whitaker lawfully fire Mueller?
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As Attorney General Reno wrote when she promulgated the regulations: Violation of Departmental policies is specifically identified as a ground that may warrant removal.