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Congress messes up Constitution reading

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The House of Representatives managed to muck up reading the Constitution Thursday, dropping 115 words in Articles IV and V during the nearly 90-minute recitation on the House floor.

Lawmakers later went back and read the omitted parts on the floor to make sure they are included in the Congressional Record.

The error appeared to happen in the handoff of reading between Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska Republican.

The dropped words are in addition to the parts organizers intentionally omitted, such as prohibition or the infamous “three-fifths” clause relating to the counting of black slaves in state population totals for purposes of representation. Republicans said since later amendments to the Constitution changed those parts, there was no reason to read them.

The parts inadvertently dropped from the initial reading began in Article IV and carried over to Article V. The omitted passages read:

“Section. 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States.” 

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About the Author
David Eldridge

David Eldridge

David Eldridge joined The Washington Times in 1999 and over the next seven years helped lead the paper's coverage of regional politics and government, Sept. 11, and the sniper attacks of 2002. In 2006, he was named managing editor of the paper's website. He came to The Times from the Telegraph in North Platte, Neb., where he served as executive ...

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