(Episode 42) Hashtag Petty: The 27th Amendment (and Season Finale!)
This episode, we discuss the 27th Amendment, which reads:
"No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened."
AKA, nobody gets a raise until the voters agree you've earned one.
This Amendment is unique in that it took 200 years to ratify. The original idea was passed by two-thirds of both houses in 1789 - that's right . . . with the group of amendments which ultimately became the Bill of Rights. Congressional pay was a big issue at the Constitutional Convention because the Founders wanted to keep the opportunity open to all (rich and poor), but they also wanted to ensure that public office didn't attract those engaged in "selfish pursuits." Madison proposed the compromise that ultimately became the 27th Amendment. However, it was only ratified by 6 states initially.
There were a couple attempts in history to revive this amendment, but the real success came from Gregory Watson. Greg was a sophomore at the University of Texas and had to write a paper about government process. While reading a book about the Constitution, he came across a list of amendments that had never been ratified. He wrote about congressional pay . . . and got a C. Cue #petty : the campaign to pass the 27th Amendment.
Join us for our last conversation of the Season, where we talk about the legend of our dear Watson, what really are Congressional salaries, and dispel a few myths you may have seen lurking on social media.