The Twentieth Amendment (Amendment XX) to the United States Constitution moved the beginning and ending of the terms of the president and vice president from March 4 to January 20, and of members of Congress from March 4 to January 3. It also has provisions that determine what is to be done when there is no president-elect. The Twentieth Amendment was adopted on January 23, 1933.
The amendment was designed largely to limit the "lame duck" period, the period served by Congress and the president after an election but before the end of the terms of those who were not re-elected. Indirectly, the amendment requires the incoming Congress, rather than the outgoing Congress, to hold a contingent election in the event that no individual wins a majority of the electoral vote in a presidential election. The amendment also establishes procedures in the case that a president-elect dies, is not chosen, or otherwise fails to qualify prior to the start of a new presidential term.
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.
Article I, Section 4, Clause 2 of the Constitution states that Congress must meet at least once per year, on the first Monday in December, though Congress could by law set another date and the president could summon special sessions. The original text of the Constitution set a duration for the terms of federal elected officials, but not the specific dates on which those terms would begin or end.
In September 1788, after the necessary nine states had ratified the Constitution, the Congress of the Confederation set March 4, 1789, as the date "for commencing proceedings" of the newly reorganized government. Despite the fact that the new Congress and presidential administration did not begin operation until April, March 4 was deemed to be the beginning of the newly elected officials' terms of office, and thus of the terms of their successors. The Constitution did not specify a date for federal elections, but by the time of the second presidential election in 1792, Congress had passed a law requiring presidential electors to be chosen during November or early December. By 1845, this was narrowed to a single day, in early November. Congressional elections were generally held on the same day.
The result of these scheduling decisions was that there was a long, four-month lame duck period between the election and inauguration of the president. For Congress, the situation was perhaps even more awkward. Because Article I, Section 4, Clause 2 mandated a Congressional meeting every December, after the election but before Congressional terms of office had expired, a lame duck session was required by the Constitution in even-numbered years; the next session wasn't required until the next December, meaning that new members of Congress might not begin their work until more than a year after they had been elected. Special sessions sometimes met earlier in the year, but this never became a regular practice, despite the Constitution allowing for it. In practice, Congress usually met in a long session beginning in Decembers of odd-numbered years, and in a short lame duck session in December of even-numbered years. The long lame duck period might have been a practical necessity at the end of the 18th century, when any newly elected official might require several months to put his affairs in order and then undertake an arduous journey from his home to the national capital, but it eventually had the effect of impeding the functioning of government in the modern age. From the early 19th century onward, it also meant that a lame duck Congress and presidential administration would fail to adequately respond to a significant national crisis in a timely manner. Each institution could do this on the theory that at best, a lame duck Congress or administration had neither the time nor the mandate to tackle problems, whereas the incoming administration or Congress would have both the time, and a fresh electoral mandate, to examine and address the problems that the nation faced. These problems very likely would have been at the center of the debate of the just completed election cycle.
This dilemma was seen most notably in 1861 and 1933, after the elections of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, respectively, plus the newly elected Senators and Representatives. Under the Constitution at the time, these presidents had to wait four months before they and the incoming Congresses could deal with the secession of Southern states and the Great Depression respectively.
In 1916, during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson devised an unorthodox plan to avoid a lame duck presidency and allow his Republican opponent Charles Evans Hughes to assume presidential powers immediately if Hughes had won the election. In that case, Wilson planned to appoint Hughes as Secretary of State, at the time first in line to act as President in the event of a simultaneous vacancy in the offices of president and vice president. President Wilson and Vice President Thomas R. Marshall would have then both resigned. The plan was never implemented because Wilson was narrowly re-elected.
The Twentieth Amendment,
Section 1 of the Twentieth Amendment prescribes January 20, at noon, as the start-finish date for the four-year term of both the President and Vice President. Previously March 4, the new date shortened the period between election day in November and Inauguration Day by about six weeks, accelerating the pace of the transfer of presidential power from the out-going president to his successor. By changing the date on which presidential terms end and begin, Section 1 has superseded the Twelfth Amendment's reference to March 4 as the date by which the House of Representatives must—under circumstances where no candidate won an absolute majority of votes for president in the Electoral College—conduct a contingent presidential election. Section 1 also specifies January 3, at noon, as the start-finish date for the terms of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives; the previous date had also been March 4.
Section 2 moves the yearly start date of congressional sessions from the first Monday in December, as mandated by Article I, Section 4, Clause 2, to noon on January 3 of the same year. This change eliminated the extended lame duck congressional sessions. As a result of this change, if the Electoral College vote has not resulted in the election of either a president or vice president, the incoming Congress, as opposed to the outgoing one, would have to do so, following the process articulated in the Twelfth Amendment.
Section 3 further refines the earlier mentioned Twelfth Amendment provision by declaring that if the president-elect dies before Inauguration Day, the vice president-elect will be sworn in as president on that day and serve for the full four-year term to which that person was elected; it further states that if on Inauguration Day a president-elect has not yet been chosen, or if the president-elect fails to qualify, the vice president-elect would become Acting President on Inauguration Day until a president-elect is chosen or the president-elect qualifies. Section 3 also authorizes Congress to determine who should be acting president if a new president and vice president have not been chosen by Inauguration Day. Acting on this authority, Congress added "failure to qualify" as a possible condition for presidential succession in the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. Previously silent on this point, the lack of guidance nearly caused a constitutional crisis on a couple of occasions: when the House of Representatives seemed unable to break the deadlocked election of 1800 and when Congress seemed unable to resolve the disputed 1876 election.
On February 15, 1933, twenty-three days after the amendment was adopted, President-elect Roosevelt was the target of an assassination attempt by Giuseppe Zangara. Roosevelt was not injured, but had the attempt been successful, Vice President-elect John Nance Garner would have become president on March 4, 1933 pursuant to Section 3.
Section 4 permits Congress to pass a law that clarifies what should occur if either the House of Representatives must elect the president and one of the candidates from whom it may choose dies, or the Senate must elect the vice president and one of the candidates from whom it may choose dies. Congress has never enacted such a statute.
Section 5 delayed Sections 1 and 2 taking effect until the first October 15 following the amendment's ratification. As it was adopted on January 23, 1933, Section 1 shortened the terms of representatives elected to the 73rd Congress (1933–35), as well as those of senators elected for terms ending in 1935, 1937, and 1939, by 60 days. Section 5 also resulted in the 73rd Congress not being required to meet until January 3, 1934. The first Congress to open its first session on the new date was the 74th Congress in 1935. The first presidential and vice presidential terms to begin on the date appointed by the Twentieth Amendment were the second terms of President Roosevelt and Vice President Garner, on January 20, 1937. Section 1 had shortened the first term of both (1933–37) by 43 days. Garner thus served as vice-president for two full terms, but he did not serve a full eight years (March 4, 1933–January 20, 1941).
was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1933rd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 933rd year of the 2nd millennium, the 33rd year of the 20th century, and the 4th year of the 1930s decade.1933 in the United States
Events from the year 1933 in the United States.1937
was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1937th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 937th year of the 2nd millennium, the 37th year of the 20th century, and the 8th year of the 1930s decade.72nd United States Congress
The Seventy-second United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1931, to March 4, 1933, during the last two years of Herbert Hoover's presidency. The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Thirteenth Decennial Census of the United States in 1910. The Senate had a Republican majority. The House started with a very slim Republican majority, but by the time it first met in December 1931, the Democrats had gained a majority through special elections.73rd United States Congress
The seventy-third United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1933, to January 3, 1935, during the first two years of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. Because of the newly ratified 20th Amendment, the duration of this Congress, along with the term of office of those elected to it, was shortened by the interval between January 3 and March 4, 1935 (61 days). The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Fifteenth Census of the United States in 1930. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.Adjournment
In parliamentary procedure, an adjournment ends a meeting. It could be done using a motion to adjourn.
A time for another meeting could be set using the motion to fix the time to which to adjourn. This motion establishes an adjourned meeting.
To adjourn to another time or place defines suspended proceedings until a later stated time or place.First 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency
The first 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency began on January 20, 2009, the day Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. The first 100 days of a presidential term took on symbolic significance during Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term in office, and the period is considered a benchmark to measure the early success of a president. The 100th day of his presidency was April 29, 2009. Obama stated that he should not be judged by his first hundred days: "The first hundred days is going to be important, but it’s probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference."Obama began to formally create his presidential footprint during his first 100 days. Obama quickly began attempting to foster support for his economic stimulus package, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The bill passed in the House on January 28, 2009, by a 244–188 vote, and it passed in the Senate on February 10 by a 61–37 margin.Obama's accomplishments during the first 100 days included signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 relaxing the statute of limitations for equal-pay lawsuits; signing into law the expanded State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP); winning approval of a congressional budget resolution that put Congress on record as dedicated to dealing with major health care reform legislation in 2009; implementing new ethics guidelines designed to significantly curtail the influence of lobbyists on the executive branch; breaking from the Bush administration on a number of policy fronts, except for Iraq, in which he followed through on Bush's Iraq withdrawal of U.S. troops; supporting the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity; and lifting the 7½-year ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. He also ordered the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in Cuba, though it remains open, as well as lifted some travel and money restrictions to the island.At the end of the first 100 days 65% of Americans approved of how Obama was doing and 29% disapproved. According to Gallup's First quarter survey in April, President Obama received a 63% approval rating. Gallup began tracking presidential approval ratings of the first quarters since Eisenhower in 1953. President Kennedy received the highest in April 1961 with a 74% rating. Obama's 63% is the fourth highest and the highest since President Carter with a 69%. President Reagan's first quarter had 60% approval in 1981, President George H.W. Bush with 57% in 1989, President Clinton with 55% in 1993, and President George W. Bush with 58% in 2001.George W. Norris
George William Norris (July 11, 1861 – September 2, 1944) was a politician from the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. He served five terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican, from 1903 until 1913, and five terms in the United States Senate, from 1913 until 1943, four terms as a Republican and the final term as an independent. Norris was defeated for reelection in 1942.
Norris was a leader of progressive and liberal causes in Congress. He is best known for his intense crusades against what he characterized as "wrong and evil", his liberalism, his insurgency against party leaders, his isolationist foreign policy, his support for labor unions, and especially for creating the Tennessee Valley Authority. President Franklin Roosevelt called him "the very perfect, gentle knight of American progressive ideals," and this has been the theme of all of his biographers. A 1957 advisory panel of 160 scholars recommended that Norris was the top choice for the five best Senators in U.S. history.Lame duck
A lame duck situation generally refers to a time frame between a decision and its implementation.
It may also refer to:
Lame duck (politics), an elected official who is approaching the end of his or her tenure, and especially an official whose successor has already been elected
Lame duck session, a legislative session that takes place after an election but before newly elected members are seated
Lame duck (game design), a player in a game who cannot win, yet remains in the game
Lame Ducks (TV series), a British sitcom
Lame Duck Amendment, an informal name for the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Lame duck season, in professional sports, a season prior to or during which a team has announced its intent to relocate to another metropolitan area but will remain in its existing home until the next year. Examples include:1995 Cleveland Browns season, in which the team's reorganization in Baltimore was announced midway through
1996 Houston Oilers season, in which the team's move to Tennessee was announced beforehandList of Presidents of the United States
The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States, indirectly elected to a four-year term by the people through the Electoral College. The officeholder leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Since the office was established in 1789, 44 men have served as president. The first, George Washington, won a unanimous vote of the Electoral College. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms in office (the only president to have done so) and is therefore counted as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States; the 45th and current president is Donald Trump (since January 20, 2017). There are currently four living former presidents. The most recent former president to die was George H. W. Bush on November 30, 2018.
The presidency of William Henry Harrison, who died 31 days after taking office in 1841, was the shortest in American history. Franklin D. Roosevelt served the longest, over twelve years, before dying early in his fourth term in 1945. He is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. Since the ratification of the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1951, no person may be elected president more than twice and no one who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected may be elected more than once.Of those who have served as the nation's president, four died in office of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin D. Roosevelt), four were assassinated (Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy), and one resigned (Richard Nixon, facing impeachment). John Tyler was the first vice president to assume the presidency during a presidential term, and set the precedent that a vice president who does so becomes the fully functioning president with his own presidency, as opposed to a caretaker president. The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution put Tyler's precedent into law in 1967. It also established a mechanism by which an intra-term vacancy in the vice presidency could be filled. Richard Nixon was the first president to fill a vacancy under this provision when he selected Gerald Ford for the office following Spiro Agnew's resignation in 1973. The following year, Ford became the second to do so when he chose Nelson Rockefeller to succeed him after he acceded to the presidency. As no mechanism existed for filling an intra-term vacancy in the vice presidency prior to 1967, the office was left vacant until filled through the next ensuing presidential election.
Throughout most of its history, American politics has been dominated by political parties. The Constitution is silent on the issue of political parties, and at the time it came into force in 1789, there were no parties. Soon after the 1st Congress convened, factions began rallying around dominant Washington Administration officials, such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Greatly concerned about the capacity of political parties to destroy the fragile unity holding the nation together, Washington remained unaffiliated with any political faction or party throughout his eight-year presidency. He was, and remains, the only U.S. president never affiliated with a political party. Since Washington, every president has been affiliated with a political party at the time they assumed office.List of United States Congresses
This is a list of the United States Congresses, including their beginnings, endings, and the dates of their sessions. Each Congress lasts for two years and begins on January 3 of odd years.
Before the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which fixed Congressional dates, the dates on which a Congress ended was either March 3 or March 4.List of Vice Presidents of the United States
There have been 48 vice presidents of the United States since the office came into existence in 1789. Originally, the vice president was the person who received the second most votes for president in the Electoral College. However, in the election of 1800 a tie in the electoral college between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr led to the selection of the president by the House of Representatives. To prevent such an event from happening again, the Twelfth Amendment was added to the Constitution, creating the current system where electors cast a separate ballot for the vice presidency.The vice president is the first person in the presidential line of succession and assumes that presidency if the president dies, resigns, or is impeached and removed from office. Nine vice presidents have ascended to the presidency in this way: eight (John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson) through the president's death and one (Gerald Ford) through the president's resignation. In addition, the vice president serves as the president of the Senate and may choose to cast a tie-breaking vote on decisions made by the Senate. Vice presidents have exercised this latter power to varying extents over the years.Prior to adoption of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, an intra-term vacancy in the office of the vice president could not be filled until the next post-election inauguration. Several such vacancies occurred—seven vice presidents died, one resigned and eight succeeded to the presidency. This amendment allowed for a vacancy to be filled through appointment by the president and confirmation by both chambers of the Congress. Since its ratification, the vice presidency has been vacant twice (both in the context of scandals surrounding the Nixon administration) and was filled both times through this process, namely in 1973 following Spiro Agnew's resignation, and again in 1974 after Gerald Ford succeeded to the presidency. The amendment also established a procedure whereby a vice president may, if the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office, temporarily assume the powers and duties of the office as acting president. George H. W. Bush did so once on July 13, 1985. Dick Cheney did so twice on June 29, 2002 and on July 21, 2007.
The persons who have served as vice president were born in or primarily affiliated with 27 states plus the District of Columbia. New York has produced the most of any state as eight have been born there and three others considered it their home state. Most vice presidents have been in their 50s or 60s and had political experience prior to assuming the office. The youngest person to become vice president was John C. Breckinridge at 36 years of age while the oldest was Alben W. Barkley at 71 years of age. Two vice presidents—George Clinton and John C. Calhoun—served under more than one president.
There are currently five living former vice presidents. The most recent former vice president to die was George H. W. Bush on November 30, 2018.President's Room
The President's Room is one of the most ornate rooms in the United States Capitol, richly adorned with fresco paintings by Italian artist Constantino Brumidi. The room was completed in 1859 as part of the Capitol's vast extension, which added new Senate and House wings and the new cast-iron dome.Second inauguration of Barack Obama
The second inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States, marked the commencement of the second term of Barack Obama as President and Joe Biden as Vice President. A private swearing-in ceremony took place on Sunday, January 20, 2013 in the Blue Room of the White House. A public inauguration ceremony took place on Monday, January 21, 2013, at the United States Capitol building.
The inauguration theme was "Faith in America's Future", a phrase that draws upon the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the completion of the Capitol dome in 1863. The theme also stressed the "perseverance and unity" of the United States and echoed the "Forward" theme used in the closing months of Obama's reelection campaign. The inaugural events held in Washington, D.C. from January 19 to 21, 2013 included concerts, a national day of community service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the swearing-in ceremony, luncheon and parade, inaugural balls, and the interfaith inaugural prayer service. The presidential oath was administered to Obama during his swearing-in ceremony on January 20 and 21, 2013 by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts.
In his second inauguration address, Obama proclaimed that "while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth". He called for laws to combat climate change, enactment of immigration reform and gun control. Obama stated that more progress was needed on human rights and civil rights (including racial minority rights, women's rights, and LGBT rights). He vowed to promote democracy abroad and stated that the United States must "be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice" around the world. Additionally, the president vowed to keep existing alliances strong, emphasized the economic recovery and the end of wars, and stated that "no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation". During the speech, Obama linked the Seneca Falls Convention, Selma to Montgomery marches and Stonewall riots.
Approximately one million people attended the inauguration, and millions more watched from around the world.Timeline of the Herbert Hoover presidency
The presidency of Herbert Hoover began on March 4, 1929, and ended on March 4, 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as 32nd President of the United States.Twentieth Amendment
The Twentieth Amendment may refer to the:
Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1933), established some details of presidential succession and of the beginning and ending of the terms of elected federal officials
Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland (1999), provided constitutional recognition of local government
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