Monday, December 26, 2005

The Bill of Rights, Updated

You probably once knew (and have since forgotten) that there were 12 amendments in Bill of Rights, as originally proposed. Here's the story, in brief:
On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States . . . proposed to the state legislatures 12 amendments to the Constitution that met arguments most frequently advanced against it. The first two proposed amendments, which concerned the number of constituents for each Representative and the compensation of Congressmen, were not ratified. Articles 3 to 12, however, ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.
Lo and behold, the Bill of Rights actually comprises 11 amendments -- not 10, but 11. How's that? The original Second Amendment was ratified 13 years ago:

Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

That'll help you sleep better at night, no?