Lamenting the lame ducks of Congress? You’re not the first

This week, I sat in disbelief as most of the conservative voices that I respect went on a verbal tear against the newly elected members of the Senate and House. The President and his cohorts in crime were congratulating themselves on a productive, “Lame Duck,” session where Americans got royally screwed. That is to say, the Left in this country got a wish list of things passed into law that a majority of Americans not only did not want, but tried to stop by changing the makeup of the Legislative Branch in historic proportions. Somehow, the members of the GOP caucus got blamed. To be sure, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, John McCain, and the whole host of Rino contingency deserve much of the blame. That does not change the fact that the makeup of Congress is still the same as before the November election. It will be until January 3, 2011. The American People had spoken, and for making our wishes known, we got one last flip of congress’ middle finger.

I started to wonder, involved citizen that I am, how can we as American Citizens prevent this end run of the people’s consent to be governed from happening in the future. Perhaps a Constitutional Amendment which would prevent, “Lame Duck,” sessions. After all, the founding fathers had no concept of the possibility of a, “Lame Duck,” session. When they framed the Constitution, it took several weeks for people to travel to Philadelphia, and then Washington. The ability to perform mischief such as Nancy Pelosi led for the 111th Congress was impossible during that time. So, I did a little research, and guess what I found out. That’s correct, we have an Amendment passed already which was designed to end the, “Lame Duck.” The 20th Amendment was ratified in January of 1933. It follows below:

Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933. (Note: Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution was modifi ed by Section 2 of this Amendment. In addition, a portion of the 12th Amendment was superseded by Section 3.)

SECTION 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

SECTION 2.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

SECTION 3.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fi xed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualifi ed, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

SECTION 4.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

When this Amendment was passed, Those people who organized the effort to do so announced that we had put an end to the tyranny of the Lame Duck forever. In 1933 it seems, it still was believed that Congressmen would not travel away from home during the holiday season. They believed, incorrectly, that their lives outside of wielding power would be more important to Legislators than wielding that power. I find it somewhat ironic that section 2 of the Amendment actually states that the Senators and Representatives were required to meet at least one time per year. Personally, I believe we should limit their meeting times to once per year. (I could see giving them a second day. But the rule would have to be that they were not allowed any breaks for meals or sleep to get that second day.)

All joking aside, the newly elected Congressmen and Senators should take over immediately. There is not transition of the Legislative branch. The functionality of our governmental system would not be affected in the slightest. What would be affected is the chicanery of those who wish to govern against the will of the governed. That is what angers me about November’s and December’s Legislative accomplishments. No, I don’t like to see defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, but that would not have been an issue had the good folks in 1933 America realized airline travel being the norm was just four decades away.

Republished with permission from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

2 Comments
  1. I was hesitant to use a pirate lame duck because I like pirates and think they are kinda cool.

    To the topic at hand, I believe that we need limit the period of Congress sessions as well. Ask someone to be a good lawmaker as a full time job and don’t be surprised when he brings you a bunch of laws.

    1. I also think we need to lynch people who use the term “mandate”. The only elections that are truly mandates are unanimous ones, all others are just one side piled more bodies on a issue than the other. It’s craptacular mandates like this that got us the USA/PATRIOT act “by mandate” when the presidency was as close to a tie vote as it could get without the House getting involved.

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