Of The Day
But, sometimes not every day.

Most recent past comment.

January 5, 1999

The Twentieth Amendment.

I've got a meeting on the South Shore. But read the amendment over. The intention of the framers of this amendment was to prevent a lame duck Congress, in the event of no Presidential candidate getting a clear majority, from electing (or impeaching) a President. The framers wanted the new Congress, "fresh from the people," to select the President in such a case. In fact, they rewrote the starting date of the new session, with this amendment, for that exact and expressed purpose. Before this amendment, Congresses had to wait 13 months before convening.

One additional note for you to think about: all other business of the old Congress dies, if uninacted, on the last day of the term. So, a lame duck impeachment resolution would have even less Constitutional standing (according to scholars) than ordinary legislation because of its potential and inherent political nature.

Some are saying that in the House Congressman Hyde must ask for the new House to reconfirm the appointment of the "managers," as has been done in the past, and second, if he doesn't do that then the Senate must ask presiding Chief Justice Rehnquist for a ruling that this resolution is "not properly before the Senate."

And this is not just splitting constitutional legalities, either. Imagine that the country pronounces a ruling party as unacceptable in a national election and throws the majority out. Then they proceed to impeach the popular leader of that electoral revolution in their lame duckness? That, obviously, is not the exact case we have here, but all of the factors are present, even if the personalities and the issues at hand are less historic, to say the least. Sometimes the issues are not conservative vs. liberal; moralistic vs. the "me" generation; sometimes they are just right vs. wrong, which still has sway in the world. Don't you agree? Call me crazy.

See you next time?

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