Here’s a “did you know”: there are a number of stlll-pending amendments to the US Constitution floating about. ‘Tis true; there are 4 amendments out there that only need the necessary number of states to ratify them to make them a part of the US Constitution. In order of proposal date…
- Congressional Apportionment Amendment
Article the first…After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.
- Titles of Nobility Amendment
If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.
- Corwin Amendment
No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
- Child Labor Amendment
Section 1. The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age.
Section 2. The power of the several States is unimpaired by this article except that the operation of State laws shall be suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to legislation enacted by the Congress.
All four of these amendments are without “expiration dates”, and thus they will always be pending state approval. (There have been other amendments that have been approved by the federal government, and sent to state legislatures for approval, that have failed to gain the number of approvals required to become law before a cutoff date specified in the law.)
The first amendment is not terribly interesting, other than the fact that if passed, the House could have 6,000 members. Yikes. The third was clearly designed to prevent the federal government from interfering in slavery. The fourth is mostly interesting because it was proposed by a Republican from Ohio – Israel Moore Foster. Imagine that – a Republican who supported restricting the “rights” of corporations to abuse people. That would not go over well with most of the right-wing blogs in Ohio right now.
The second, however, has a little more meat to it. As you should be aware, the US Constitution already has a prohibition against American holding foreign titles. Article I, Section 9:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
Almost identical, with one big difference – TONA specifies a punishment, and it is severe: the removal of citizenship. This is notable for several reasons, the primary being that under current US law the government is forbidden from stripping citizenship once granted, provided the citizen in question did not intend to give up their citizenship voluntarily. (In other words, if the government wishes to revoke citizenship, they must be able to prove that the disqualifying act was carried out with the intent of surrendering citizenship.) In simpler words – accept a foreign title, and kiss your citizenship goodbye.
There is a major “out” – Congress can grant approvals. But the immediate list of people “in trouble” is impressive, and includes Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Colin Powell, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Strom Thurmond, George Patton, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and many others who were either knighted or received other honors from foreign governments. Additionally, all American Monsignors, Bishops, and Cardinals would lose their citizenship.
Ohio has already ratified the amendment; 26 more states would need to do so (beyond the 12 who have already ratified it) to put the Amendment into the Constitution.