READ the 20th Amendment: New Republican Senators Violating US Constitution

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for constitution.jpgA handful of newly elected Republican US Senators have written to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid trying to undo the Constitutional authority of other elected incumbent US Senators.
That’s right. Even the so-called strict constitutionalist Rand Paul is engaged in lobbying that would impose illegal burdens on incumbent elected representatives violating the word and spirit of the United States Constitution.
According to the 20th Amendment to the US Constitution, the respective terms of US Senators and US Representatives ends at noon on January 3rd.

AMENDMENT XX
Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.
Note: Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified 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 In addition, a portion of the 12th amendment was superseded by section 3.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.

Senators “elect” Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL)** have written to Senator Reid stating, as reported by Joshua Rogin:

On Election Day we were elected to represent the constituents of our respective states in the Senate. Out of respect for our states’ voters, we believe it would be improper for the Senate to consider the New START Treaty or any other treaty in a lame duck session prior to January 3, 2011.

Too bad guys!
You are not yet elected and the incumbent Senators seating in seats they “won” previously have ALL the powers embedded in their positions until 12 noon, January 3rd.
Your efforts to impose your will beforehand are extralegal, irresponsible, and unconstitutional.
Rand Paul — you owe many of your supporters a note of regret for having agreed to sign on to this letter giving your strict Constitutionalist views.
Rob Portman — an old friend, and someone I respect for his sensible Republican pragmatism — you too should know better than try to disrupt the operations of our government before your time has clicked in. De-sign this letter please.
Roy Blunt — this was clever, but you know it was wrong. Dial down please.
Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio** — don’t follow the leader so quickly.
This is an inappropriate request of Reid, and the US Senate should move post haste to whatever issues its elected body agrees to move to — including the START Treaty.
– Steve Clemons
** Editor’s Note: The original piece by Joshua Rogin included the name Senator Mark Kirk as one of the signers of the letter and did not include Marco Rubio. I do not know if Mark Kirk removed his name or never agreed to sign — but good for him in either case. I have added Senator Marco Rubio to the list.

Comments

42 comments on “READ the 20th Amendment: New Republican Senators Violating US Constitution

  1. Don Bacon says:

    I’m on a roll.
    TSA confiscates heavily-armed soldiers’ nail-clippers
    http://tinyurl.com/2dgkf5m

    Reply

  2. Don Bacon says:

    Don’t Touch My Junk (the TSA Hustle) by Michael Adams
    http://tinyurl.com/2bhcpn3

    Reply

  3. Don Bacon says:

    “Its true, the terrorists HAVE won. In collusion with Washington DC. I don’t even recognize this country anymore. What have we become?”
    My woman was driving the freeway ten miles from the Mex border in her little Miata yesterday. At a Border Patrol checkpoint the dog sniffed something. She had to pull into secondary and get out of the car, while the dog sniffed all around the car, inside the main compartment and inside the trunk. (Neither of us uses or transports anyone who does nor any narcotics. Marijuana use is legal in the state, with an easily obtained prescription.)
    Finally she was waved on. The armed agent standing by her remarked that if the dog had alerted more strongly then its handler might have gone further with the inspection. Cut open the upholstery? Who knows what could happen in this new police state we live in.
    One has been able to drive in Europe from one country to another and not even slow down. Even in Mexico they don’t have dogs at auto checkpoints. Even at these BP checkpoints they wave through large RVs and semis — only to pick on “little old ladies.” (don’t tell her)
    I suppose retina and rectal exams will be next, head to tail. Thanks, Obama, for giving in to the crazies.

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So now, if you refuse the patdown or the x-ray, you can’t leave, and if you attempt to do so you will be detained, possibly arrested, subjected to fines up to $11,000.00, and “considered a possible terrorist” until you are cleared.
    Its true, the terrorists HAVE won. In collusion with Washington DC.
    I don’t even recognize this country anymore. What have we become?

    Reply

  5. Dirk says:

    I forgot to add that the GOP also wants to:
    * Repeal or re-interpret the 14th Amendment to disallow birth right citizenship.
    * They want to misinterpret the 10th Amendment to repeal or at least exempt their states from the Health Care Reform.

    Reply

  6. Dirk says:

    Steve,
    It’s kind of surprising to see you express concern about GOP infringements against the 20th Amendment. In the last several years these “stalwart defenders” of the Constitution have worked hard to:
    * Attack provisions of the 1st Amendment by relegating protesters to designated “free speech zones”.
    * Basically repealed the 4th Amendment by revoking citizens right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure via the “Patriot Act”.
    * Repealed the 5th Amendment protection of “life, liberty or due process” by allowing US citizens to be held in military gulags, and now allowing assassination.
    * The desire to repeal the 17th Amendment to ensure that business interests can coerce Congress to elect business friendly Senators instead of the current direct elections.
    I think it’s time people start to recognize that the GOP are really not big defenders of the Constitution in any way, shape or form.

    Reply

  7. philmon says:

    Sorry. W.S. has it exactly right. What is unconstitutional about a letter expressing concern?
    Point me to a law they have broken. Point me to anything, anything at all, in the Constitution or in Law, that says that anyone, regardless of position, can’t write a letter to Congress telling it they don’t think something is a good idea.
    They have no power to, and they are claiming no power to — force what they have requested. Asking someone not to do what they may have a constitutional right to do is NOT unconstitutional. As a matter of fact, as W.S. stated, it is constitutionally protected by the first amendment.
    All this bluster over “no respect for the Constitution” over this is just that. Mindless, hand-wringing, psuedo-intellectual, knee-jerk bluster.
    Oh, wait. It’s coming from the left. Big surprise there.

    Reply

  8. Magic Dog says:

    Oh come on. Everyone knows that the Republicans, including (and especially) their Tea Party wing, have no principles, only talking points.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “propaganda = lying”
    You mean like this…..????
    http://www.truth-out.org/the-iaea-and-fraudulent-iranian-nuclear-documents65241
    Exclusive Report: Evidence of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program May Be Fraudulent
    Thursday 18 November 2010
    by: Gareth Porter, t r u t h o u t | Report
    Since 2007, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – with the support of the United States, Israel and European allies UK, France and Germany – has been demanding that Iran explain a set of purported internal documents portraying a covert Iranian military program of research and development of nuclear weapons. The “laptop documents,” supposedly obtained from a stolen Iranian computer by an unknown source and given to US intelligence in 2004, include a series of drawings of a missile re-entry vehicle that appears to be an effort to accommodate a nuclear weapon, as well as reports on high explosives testing for what appeared to be a detonator for a nuclear weapon.
    In one report after another, the IAEA has suggested that Iran has failed to cooperate with its inquiry into that alleged research, and that the agency, therefore, cannot verify that it has not diverted nuclear material to military purposes.
    That issue remains central to US policy toward Iran. The Obama administration says there can be no diplomatic negotiations with Iran unless Iran satisfies the IAEA fully in regard to the allegations derived from the documents that it had covert nuclear weapons program.
    That position is based on the premise that the intelligence documents that Iran has been asked to explain are genuine. The evidence now available, however, indicates that they are fabrications.
    continues…….

    Reply

  10. DonS says:

    propaganda = lying

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    non-hater,
    Thanks for the far better fact checking than what I did!
    It’s not so much that nadine “lies” as it is that she gets her information from right wing sources. Whenever you pick only partisan sources, and you don’t do the extra fact checking that those sources demand, and you read merely within a bubble, you end up thinking your bubble is accurate as it always reinforces itself.
    The internet is great for fact checkers, but it’s also great for the like-minded who dream up conspiracies without doing the basic fact checking they need to be doing.
    Since the background thinking is already that evrything is partisan and the dems are crooked, there’s no need to check state election laws to confirm the conspiracy.
    Of course, fact checking challenges a lot of silly thinking.

    Reply

  12. non-hater says:

    “Senator-elect Kirk could have been sworn in the day after the election, except for this mystery pattern that only seems to affect Republican office-holders in Democrat-controlled states.”
    Good to see you are still spreading lies. I like consistency.
    2010 Illinois election schedule amended 8/23/2010:
    http://www.elections.il.gov/DocDisplay.aspx?Doc=Downloads/ElectionInformation/PDF/2010Calendar.pdf&Title=2010%20Election%20And%20Campaign%20Finance%20Calendar%20%28Amended%208/23/2010%29
    English language translation:
    http://www.elections.il.gov/downloads/electioninformation/pdf/Special%20US%20Senate%20Certification.pdf
    There’s no mystery why Illinois hasn’t certified the Senate results. Like I said, nadine prefers to spread lies instead of figuring out the truth.

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    “11/15/2010
    Charleston, WV

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    questions, the Senate is already in session, and Manchin and Coons are there, but Kirk isn’t. So explain how that constitutes “faster”? Should we be grateful they plan to let him into the lame duck at all? Nothing prevented them from swearing him in the day after the election!
    Meanwhile, the lame duck Senate is busy…
    The Senate just voted cloture on s510 today, the “Food Safety Act” – sounds so innocuous, yes? In reality it is a regulatory blank check handed to the FDA which will permit them to close any and all small food producer in this country. Another huge bill hidden under reams of legalize mush which will favor the crony capitalists over the small producers, because the crony capitalists can comply with the regs (or get a waiver) and the small producers can’t.

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    From a Tribune blog:
    “David Druker, spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…nadine is correct….”
    Well, even Nadine can stumble into the truth occassionally. After all, we all make mistakes.
    But don’t worry Steve, I can assure you, it won’t prove to be a habit.

    Reply

  17. ghost of DakotabornKansan says:

    quoth DakotabornKansan:

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    Sam, just like Senators Coons and Manchin, Senator-elect Kirk is filling out the unfinished term of Barack Obama. Otherwise he would be sworn in Jan 3rd with other new Senators. Senator-elect Kirk could have been sworn in the day after the election, except for this mystery pattern that only seems to affect Republican office-holders in Democrat-controlled states.

    Reply

  19. Sam Clemens says:

    Non-hater — nadine is correct Coons and Mancin were seated the day after the election.
    However…
    Nadine — you need to do more research. Coons and Mancin were seated the day after the election because they are filling in the unfinished terms of seated senators. Biden and Byrd respectively.

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    It took several weeks for Senator Brown to be sworn in. Senator Kirk won’t be sworn in until Nov 29. Senators Coons and Manchin have already been sworn in.
    Fact.
    You guys seem to have a big, big problem with acknowledging inconvenient facts.

    Reply

  21. DonS says:

    “You’d just rather spread lies than look it up. ” Got that exactly right; took the words right out of my mouth non-hater. It’s really rather prosaic in it’s essence and, as I recall, is much at the convenience of the Senator-elect. But, you know, anything for a contention, lest we become too socialistic, or totalitarian, or something. When you’ve got no credibility, you’ve got nothing to lose.

    Reply

  22. non-hater says:

    “Curious, how Democrats can be sworn in within days but it takes weeks for Republicans. It’s a mystery, this pattern.”
    No, it’s not. You’d just rather spread lies than look it up.

    Reply

  23. DonS says:

    “Out of respect for our states’ voters, we believe it would be improper for the Senate to consider the New START Treaty or any other treaty in a lame duck session prior to January 3, 2011.” (from ‘the letter)
    The Congressional ‘opposition’ has used every procedural tactic it can to thwart progress — most blatant example is pushing all senate votes to filibuster-proof levels. But now these folks feel slighted because somehow they view a lame duck session as procedurally tainted. Give me a break.
    “Indeed, no bilateral strategic arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union or Russia has ever been ratified during a lame duck session.” (from ‘the letter”)
    Big effing deal; a factoid to end all factoids. Like this shouldn’t even be a contentious issue, but a no brainer common sense ratification that make sense on all levels, except of course to the ‘shut down government’ mindset. These folks really do think they are the annointed.

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    Steve, this is a far-fetched post. Nobody is claiming that the lame-duck Senators are no longer in office; only that a certain amount of respect towards the wishes of the voters should be shown. Which is not against any interpretation of the Constitution, literal or figural.
    To quote Bob Schieffer, “Is that the best you’ve got?”

    Reply

  25. DonS says:

    “Proponents of this treaty, aware that today’s Senate is likely to support the agreement in higher numbers without our participation . . .” (from ‘the letter’)
    So Pundit, do you find it equally hilarious, even assuming your conjecture about Rubio is correct, that Rubio himself would have signed onto a letter that misrepresented this “basic fact” as pertains to himself?
    Teabaggers have been throwing around “unconstitutional this” and “unconstitutional that”, along with many right wingers generally. Mostly these protestations amount to just hot air. But does that matter in the era of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and their ilk?
    Really pretty small minded to try to nail Steve Clemons to the wall for a legitimate point. But I assume you yourself must be a constitutional scholar and are just so offended.

    Reply

  26. nadine says:

    Marco Rubio won’t be sworn in until January. Senators Manchin and Coons were sworn in the day after the election; however, Senator Kirk won’t be sworn in until the end of November.
    Curious, how Democrats can be sworn in within days but it takes weeks for Republicans. It’s a mystery, this pattern.

    Reply

  27. Pundit says:

    Both Marco Rubio and Mark Kirk were elected to unexpired terms, so they start before January 3. I find it hilarious that you missed this basic fact.

    Reply

  28. Steve Clemons says:

    Joe — have a good day.
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Just curious, Joe, to which party are you considering Steve a “partisan tool”?
    Ain’t read his essays and opinions much, have you?
    And if you’re gonna be obnoxious, can you at least be somewhat creative about it? I’ll give ya an online course, but it’ll set ya back $500.00 for the semester.

    Reply

  30. Steve Clemons says:

    Joe – Incoming Senators asking incumbent Senators to forfeit the responsibilities to the citizens who elected them is wrong. For Rand Paul to make such a constant focus on strict reads of the Constitution, he knows that. Cut the name calling or you are banned. Thanks much for playing,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  31. jjm says:

    The Republicans have just one thing going for them: they are
    consummate bullies and have ZERO respect for LAW. Their only
    code, their only coin, and their only language is the language of
    brute POWER.
    Democrats keep faulting Obama for not being such an odious
    creature. I, for one, am proud and relieved he is not.

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    A cool post from democracyarsenal.(extract follows)
    This move reminded us of a zombie football movie. Lugar is the star player on Team Ratify, backed by strong players from the neocon bench — Max Boot and Bob Kagan.
    On the other side, angry coach Heritage Foundation is yelling from the sidelines. Neocons John Yoo and John Bolton are the sassy cheerleaders, rooting on Father of the Fringe Jim DeMint and Bushie Paula Desutter as they throw blocks for Jon Kyl, who just went from being the QB to the football.
    Team Ratify has the entire US military on its side — and will emerge victorious, but not without a few missing limbs come the next fight. We’re ready for the sequel: Defense Spending: GOP Zombies’ Revenge.
    Brought to you by Heather Hurlburt, Sara DuBois and Kelsey Hartigan. //(end)
    It may not be perfect and it may be messy but it’s all good — democracy in action as a relief from the covert actions of Team Obama — for example SecState Clinton meeting for seven hours with Netanyahu and not reporting a word on what they discussed and agreed to, forcing us to get the news from Jerusalem on the F35 giveaway.
    Let freedom ring and all the voices be heard.

    Reply

  33. W.S. says:

    Unconstitutional? That’s quite a stretch in this case. It’s not like
    they are attempting to exercise any kind of Constitutional
    authority– rather they are petitioning an elected official and
    telling him that they don’t think it would be wise for the Senate
    to consider that issue in light of the results of the election. If
    Reid holds a vote tomorrow, what is their recourse? Nothing…
    If writing a letter is unconstitutional, just what should they do
    that would be considered Constitutional? If the remedy is to
    prevent them from writing a letter to Senator Reid, then you’ve
    clearly deprived them of their 1st Amendment Rights.
    I don’t think that holding up this treaty is necessarily a good
    idea, but accusing incoming Senators of acting against the
    Constitution (when they clearly have not) is not a particularly
    good idea either.
    Steve, I think a bit of work is needed on this post. Good luck
    however in trying to get the Senate to see the importance of
    START.

    Reply

  34. A2 says:

    Steve! Excellent post as always! Keep up the great work!

    Reply

  35. Don Bacon says:

    Here’s Rep. Ron Paul unleashing on how Obama’s administration is taking away our rights instead of protecting them as the Constitution requires.
    http://tinyurl.com/2cc9qyv

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We all keep hoping he’ll find his voice…”
    Well, if he does, it’ll be a falsetto, the sweet high notes of a eunich.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “US Constitution”
    Huh??? The what??? It hit the shredder a long time ago, Steve.
    A little late, buddy.

    Reply

  38. Steve Clemons says:

    007 — maybe some time for some fancy rum drinks?
    Keep me in loop on this one. You know you are the one with the
    license to…
    hugs, steve

    Reply

  39. 007 says:

    So right, Steve.
    007

    Reply

  40. DonS says:

    Thank you, Steve, for having some passion on this issue. It is truly insane that some minimal step, so sane, can be turned into another confrontational political issue — the underlying reality and sanity be damned. Just because it can, and we all now its all about the politics, not the ‘reality’, what ever that is.
    And where indeed is the absent, and increasingly loathesome, O-man? We all keep hoping he’ll find his voice, not wanting to see the evidence before our eyes that he already has.

    Reply

  41. Don Bacon says:

    Part of the problem is that Obama the Communicator doesn’t communicate. His promise of open government, like many of his promises, was bogus.
    So others take over and fill the vacuum with their own messages, and then the chances are that the Dems and Harry Reid will cave, again, because of silence at the top.
    Obama’s last Weekly Address, November 13, 2010, didn’t mention START. I guess it wasn’t important.
    There is no mention of START on the White House website front page. The last entry on the White House website was April 8, 2010: (excerpts of statement and treaty follow)
    Finally, this day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia — the two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world

    Reply

  42. questions says:

    Aw, come on!
    They aren’t, you know, “literally” literalists. They are figuratively literalists.
    Basically, the Constitution means what they FEEL it to mean, and not what it “means.”
    Funny how the more interpretation theory you know, the more you end up with a kind of close reading, and the more you claim you’re a literalist, the less careful you are in your reading.
    Wasn’t it Colbert’s writers who couldn’t find the word “gun” in the Constitution?!

    Reply

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