Tuesday, 7 May 2019


To mark the ratification of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment to the US Constitution on this day back in 1992, we’re reprising the story of a college sophomore determined to vilify his case and made it his decades long mission to revive a tabled vote and see it through to passage and enactment, an inspiring and wonky story that illustrates the role that the resolve and passion of individuals play in government and policy.
 Intended to be incorporated into the Bill of Rights by drafter James Madison in 1789, among the first proposed but last adopted, the language states succinctly, “No law, varying the compensation or the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” In other words, a sitting Congress can’t vote on giving itself a pay-raise and has to defer matters to the next one. Proffering the idea that the pending amendment had no statute of limitations (period of prescription) curried our ambitious pupil not favour academically and a barely passing grade, but it gave him the motivation to turn his paper into a proof-of-concept campaign, which eventually put the amendment to a nationwide vote.