I state several places the last Constitutional Amendment was in 1971, 52 years ago, referring to the 26th Amendment. This is true, although this blog post is to explain “what’s up?” with the newer, 27th Amendment, ratified in 1991.
Thesis: The last newly written, debated, approved and ratified Amendment was the 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, regarding giving 18-year olds the right to vote.
The English wording reads like it was written in the 1970s:
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.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
In the context of my argument, the 27th Amendment does not count. This is the text of the 27th Amendment, approved in 1991:
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.
Does the English sound a little dated?
It is! The text was written in the 1700s, right alongside the original Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments), and it was only ratified/approved/implemented two-hundred and two (202) years later! Many states ratified this in the 1700s, some in the 1800s, and only because of a historical fluke was it finally approved in 1991. It is an interesting story, one in which I hope you’ll read at least a few paragraphs of:
My argument is that “We the People” have not gotten together on a contemporary issue, discussed, debated, and actually Amended the US Constitution since the 26th Amendment in 1971, and that is true.
If anything, the 200-year delay on the approval of the 27 Amendment actually supports my arugument. What is the 27th Amendment actually about? It’s about a limitation on Congress — when pay changes can be implemented.
What’s the most universally supported idea/Amendment? Term limits.
What’s the commonality between the 202-year delay and the non-existence of term limits? Congress placing restrictions on itself: politicians doing the right thing — like George Washington did — and limiting their own power. They won’t do it. The discrepancy between the 26/27th Amendments supports my argument in full: Congress isn’t moving anymore, not for at least fifty plus years, and of all the Amendments I propose to discuss during a Presidential Campaign , the one least likely to gain any muster is the one most universally supported by Americans: term limits.
The United States Congress has failed to limit its own power for 100% of its existence – the greatest folly and mistake of our founders.
If there were one Amendment which “We the People” must amend through the alternate method — a 2/3 ratification by the State legislatures — it would be term limits.
During the campaign, I would attempt to “provoke” Congress to write an Amendment on term limits by organizing the States to do just that. Could Congress earn a little respect back by the American people by placing term limits on itself before the People forced it to do so via State legislatures? I doubt it. But if it did, it would earn respect indeed!