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Journal Articles

Congress

1997

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A Twentieth Amendment Parable, John C. Nagle Jan 1997

A Twentieth Amendment Parable, John C. Nagle

Journal Articles

The twentieth amendment receives virtually no attention in modern American constitutional law. Adopted in 1933, the primary purpose of the amendment was to eliminate lame-duck Congresses. The proponents of the amendment argued that lame-ducks were subject to nefarious influences and that allowing lame-duck legislation contradicted the voice of the people in the most recent election. But the text of the twentieth amendment simply moved the date on which the newly elected President and Congress took office from March to January, and does not expressly prohibit lame-duck legislation. The framers of the amendment could not conceive of Congress meeting during the …