The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect that the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
The major change made by this amendment is that the election of Senators was transferred from the state legislatures to the people directly. The original intent of electing senators in the state houses was to ensure that the Senate represented the interests of the states, whereas the House was elected directly by the people, and therefore, in theory, was representing the interests of the general population. It was a plan by which the Framers thought the interests of the states and the people would be properly balanced. The Senate was designed to be a slower-moving, more deliberate body, as opposed to the more frequent changes of representation in the House. So, why the change?
The Populist movement of the late 19th century and the "reformers" elected in the early 20th century argued that the Senate needed to be more responsive to the people and not become an aristocratic dinosaur of an institution. Opponents of the proposed change worried that the Senate would be too susceptible to the whims of the people (as they saw the House) and chaos would follow. In the end, the Reformers won (though notably, they added the last paragraph, exempting those already in office from having to be re-elected by popular vote). On the other hand, the opponents of the plan gained a little victory by including a provision that allowed state governments to appoint temporary replacements to the Senate in case of sudden vacancies.
Interestingly, not all states ratified this amendment. When 36 states did so in 1913, it came into effect, but five states voted to ratify after the fact (the latest being Rhode Island, which ratified in 2014 - over 100 years later!). One state - Utah - outright rejected it, and eight states have never taken action on it.
This one provides for a set timetable for both the president and the Congress to take office, and what happens in case the president-elect dies prior to taking office. Not a whole lot to discuss here, just mainly government adminis-trivia, to be honest. Ratified January 23, 1933.
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.
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.
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 fixed 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 elect shall have qualified, 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
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.
5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification
of this article.
6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to
the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven
years from the date of its submission.
1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person
who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a
term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of
the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the
office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not
prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President,
during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of
President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to
the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven
years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
After having elected Franklin Roosevelt to the presidency four times, Americans came to the general agreement that four terms in office (of which FDR served just over three, due to his death in 1945) was too much. Washington had set an unofficial precedent by refusing to run for a third term (though due primarily to health reasons), and the practice was followed by Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Jackson. Several men did, in fact try to be elected a third time (Grant, Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Wilson), but none was successful. When FDR came up for a potential third term in 1940, he declared he would only do so if "drafted" by the convention - only of delegates would vote for him without him actively campaigning in the primary. He won the nomination in a landslide (946 votes for him, 133 for the other two contenders combined). He ran again in 1944, was elected and died just over a month after taking his fourth oath of office. He remains the only president to be elected more than twice and the only to serve more than eight years.
The 22nd Amendment ensures that no president will ever be elected more than twice, but a president could still serve more than eight years. How? First, Harry Truman could have been elected more that twice, as he was exempted from this amendment by virtue of being president when it was ratified. Second, anyone serving less than two years of a predecessor's term can be elected twice on his or her own merit. Lyndon Johnson, for example, could have run again in 1968 and served four more years in addition to the five he had already served (he only "used" about one year of Kennedy's term, after JFK'a assassination). On the other hand, Ford, if he'd been elected in 1976, could not have run again in 1980 because he served more than two years of Nixon's term from the 1972 election.
There have been several attempts to repeal this amendment, but none have made it past their respective committees.
Interestingly, there is no prohibition on a former president serving as vice-president later on. It's unclear whether a former president who has served two terms could Constitutionally become president if the current president leaves office (or if so, if the now-new president could serve more than two years). Think of it like this: If Hillary Clinton is elected president, would Bill Clinton legally be eligible to be vice-president? And if Hillary leaves office after less than two years on the job, could Bill legally fulfill that term? The theory, of course, has never been tested, but what an interesting debate that would be....
such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice
President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to
which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least
populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall
be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be
electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties
as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Until this amendment was ratified on March 29, 1961, there was an ironic situation in the country that barred residents of Washington, D.C. - the seat of our national government - from voting in a presidential election. Since D.C. was not a state, the residents thereof could not vote in a state election, which were the only ones authorized for presidential elections. This amendment changed that by allowing votes cast in D.C. to be counted toward an electoral vote total equal to what the population of D.C. would have allowed, had it been a state (but no less than the number allotted to the least populous state - currently Wyoming). How strange that it took so long to change this situation!
1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the
Vice President shall become President.
2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall
nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of
both Houses of Congress.
3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to
discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written
declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice
President as Acting President.
4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the
executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to
the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives
their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of
his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the
office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and
the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability
exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a
majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body
as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore
of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration
that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon
Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if
not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written
declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is
required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is
unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue
to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the
powers and duties of his office.
Okay, this one is wordy, but it boils down to this:
Case One: if the president is removed from office, the vice-president becomes president. Pretty simple. Think Ford taking over for Nixon (the first instance in which this amendment applied after ratification on February 10, 1967.
Case Two: if the vice-president is removed from office, the president nominates a replacement, with consent of the Congress. Again, think of Nixon - when VP Spiro Agnew resigned, Nixon nominated Ford to replace him. Interesting side note: taking the two cases above in reverse order, Ford is the only president in our history to have held that office while being elected neither to the presidency nor to the vice-presidency!
Case Three: If the president realizes he cannot discharge his duties, he can notify the Congress and transfer power to the VP as acting president until the actual president is ready to resume duties. This has been invoked by Presidents Reagan and George W Bush when they underwent surgeries, temporarily transferring power to their respective VPs until recovered from surgery.
Case Four: If the VP and executive leaders or the Congress determine that the president is incapable of fulfilling his duties, they may remove the power from him and invest it int he VP. This has never been invoked, but perhaps should have been after the attempted assassination of Reagan. He, of course, could not initiate the transfer on his own, as he was in surgery, and VP Bush could not initiate it, as he was on a plane and was not entirely sure of the situation, and by the time he landed, Reagan was out of surgery. This, perhaps, was a case in which Congress could have stepped in, but they did not.
Well, that was a lot to digest, and we're almost done with the amendments.
Next up: Wrapping up the amendments with booze and money....