Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#American #Political Lame Ducks - Our 20th #Amendment

My neice,  Maria T. Espinosa,
 meets President Obama while on tour in Iraq

February 6

Lame Duck 

Happy Lame Duck Day! You're probably wondering why I have a picture of President Barack Obama on a blog posting about Lame Duck Day. All American presidents have been lame ducks since the 20th amendment went into effect on February 6, 1933. 

A lame duck is someone whose about to be "shown out the door" of their position. Our president's term of office is four years. He or she (cause I am looking forward to the day a female becomes president) becomes a lame duck on the last year of office. The president can run for a second term. If elected, the president serves another four years but after that can no longer serve as our president. If he or she isn't elected, they have another chance in their lifetime to run again. The 20th amendment does not allow the president to serve more than two terms of office.  

The 20th Amendment changed other things in pertaining to how our country operates. Before the 20th amendment members of Congress would remain in their seats a full thirteen months after they lost their elections while the new members of Congress began their terms. This often caused political problems because the new president still had to deal with the lame duck congress members while the new congress members were trying to do their jobs. Abraham Lincoln had to wait four months after he and the new members of congress were elected in 1861 to deal with the succession of the southern states. Likewise, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his new congress couldn't deal with the Great Depression problems for four months after they were elected. 

The Lame Duck Amendment changed all that. In the past, presidents began their new terms of office in March. The 20th amendment moved the president's Inaugural Day to January. This allowed for a shorter gap of time in electoral sessions thus ensuring the Lame Duck congress members couldn't hold up the president and the new congress. 

The 20th Amendment
Section 1. The terms of the President and 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 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 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.

Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Section 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. Very interesting tidbit of history! I found you on LinkedIn, and this is a great blog. I'll follow you on Networked Blogs, I hope you get a chance to check me out!

    1. Thank you! I will do so. So nice to meet you.