Twenty-Seventh Amendment

I was doing some research for a longer post, and ran across a Constitutional amendment that I did not know even existed.  I had thought the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18 was the most recent, but there is one more.  It was ratified in 1992.  Anyone know what it is? 

Answer below the fold

Here is the 27th amendment:

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and
Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall
have intervened.

It resulted from another piece of history I never knew -- that there were actually 12 proposed amendments in the original Bill of Rights, not 10.  The states, at least until 1992, had only approved 10 of the 12.  In the early days of writing such amendments, no time limit for getting a sufficient number of state approvals for passage was set.  Thus, an amendment proposed in 1789 was finally passed in 1992.  The whole story is here.  More recent amendments all include time limits for passage (which is why the ERA expired, unpassed.

  • http://kipesquire.powerblogs.com/posts/1105495685.shtml KipEsquire

    This is always useful trivia when historical illiterates claim that "there's a reason why the First Amendment comes first."

    It was actually the third amendment, until the first two proposed amendments were scrapped.

  • BobH

    If the original 1st Amendment:

    "After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons."

    ... had passed, there would now be 6000 members in the House. Scary.

    I often think the House should be enlarged, since I think the districts have become so large that the members lose touch with their constituents, but I'm not sure where the balance is, between an excessively large House and excessively large districts.

  • Steve Podraza

    I don't see any value in congressional districts anyway, large or small. The only unique interests a given district can have is for pork. I think even smaller districts would make that problem even worse.

  • http://www.captainscomments.com/comments/34.asp Captain Midnight

    This amendment is being broken each and every time when Congress votes for a pay raise. But to get around it, they have written it that they have to vote *against* the pay raise to stop it from automatically happening. The idea is that since they don't actually vote to have that law fire off each year, then it passes Constitutional muster.

    Here's my take: is it a law? Yes. Is it changing their compensation? Yes. Does the change take effect after the next November elections? No. Therefore it violates the 27th Amendment.

    I wrote about this in 2003 here: http://www.captainscomments.com/comments/34.asp

  • Trevor

    The last comment is good, what organization can we get to sue the next time a pay raise comes up that the raise violates the Constitution. At least build awareness, maybe get one or another party to put a pledge to pass a law to end the automatic raises and return to the spirit of the law.

    I just found out about this today myself, wow, a whole amendment I missed. How many more people know or don't know about this?

  • Trevor

    The last comment is good, what organization can we get to sue the next time a pay raise comes up that the raise violates the Constitution. At least build awareness, maybe get one or another party to put a pledge to pass a law to end the automatic raises and return to the spirit of the law.

    I just found out about this today myself, wow, a whole amendment I missed. How many more people know or don't know about this?