Most disputed amendment?

Is it the second?

Disputed in what sense? There are certainly more cases and discussion and debate regarding the first; though no one is saying we should repeal it.

FWIW, I nominate the 17th as the amendment that should be disputed.

I would say the Fourteenth Amendment. It’s the one by which the Supreme Court has gradually extended the application of almost all of the Bill of Rights to the states, and has also been the basis for equal protection analysis against the actions of the states. Lots of debate about whether the interpretation goes beyond what the drafters of the Amendment intended.

By contrast, although there is considerable heat and fury around the Second Amendment, by its nature it doesn’t affect a lot of people in real life, as indicated by the relative scarcity of the cases considering it, compared to the other amendments.

As for the First Amendment, there’s no doubt that it generates a great deal of controversial decisions, for example around school prayer, displays of religious symbols on muncipal property at Christmas time, and so on. However, if the Fourteenth Amendment didn’t exist, the First Amendment wouldn’t apply to municipalities/public schools/state governments, so those First Amendment claims wouldn’t even exist. But for the Fourteenth, the First would only apply to the federal government, and for example, Judge Roy Moore of Alabama could have displayed the Ten Commandments in a state courthouse without violating the federal Constitution. (Whether the display would have infringed the state constitution is a separate question.)

The Tenth Amendment doesn’t seem to get much respect these days, but I don’t know if it is ‘disputed’ so much as ‘flat-out ignored’.

Disputed? First or Second, I would say.


I think the lleast diputed would have to be the third. You just don’t hear about very many quartering controversies any more.

John MacMullin seems to think the 17th Amendment is responsible for the dreaded Big Government, and repealing it would result in more decentralized power.

I nominate the Eighteenth Amendment. It was the only one to be repealed.

Perhaps the 28th?

And why, exactly, do we need more decentralized power?

Huh. I’ve never heard that one before. And frankly, I must say it’s kind of ridiculous. It’s one thing to say that the federal government has too much power, and that more powers should be reserved for the states. But how the hell is having U.S. Senators appointed by state legislatures rather than by the people going to fix that? The people elect the members of the state legislature. All repealing the 17th amendment would do is to add back in the middle man. It’s not taking power away from the federal government, it’s taking power away from the people! I fail to see how that benefits anyone.

Also, the argument that it would solve the issue of campaign finance reform by eliminating campaigns is just plain silly. Why not just scrap democracy completely then? Eliminating the problems with elections by no longer holding elections at all is not a reasonable solution.

Better still we should abolish the Senate entirely and devolve all its powers and functions on the House of Representatives. The Senate is a relic of an 18th-Century political compromise with no value or relevance in contemporary America.

Frankly I quite like the senate. I have no preference whether they are elected by the people or by proxies i.e. the state legislature.

What’s to like about it? What’s it good for?

It’s good for stopping things. It tends to be less partisan and more “gentlemanly” than the House. (For a few reasons. The terms are longer, so reelection becomes less of a concern. Also, it’s smaller, so there are stronger personal relationships between the senators. And, since senators have to be elected by their entire state, while that’s often not true in the House, that sort of pushes them to the middle) Also, the unlimited debate and filibuster possibility mean that it’s a lot easier to bury a bill that doesn’t have at least some bipartisan support.

So, I don’t think the Senate is just a useless relic. It’s a moderating force.

[QUOTE=Captain Amazing]
It’s good for stopping things.QUOTE]

Bear in mind that whatever makes it more difficult to enact legislation also makes it more difficult to repeal legislation.

If you wanted reduce the power & size of the federal government, you would want to repeal the 16th Amendment, not the 17th. Without the income tax, the Fed would have a lot less money to do anything with.


Yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. After all, there are some laws that we’re better off not repealing.

I agree with Captain Amazing’s view that the Senate is useful as a moderating force. I personally fail safer with the Congress working a little too slowly and with a little too much gridlock than I would if it worked too quickly and hastily.

feel safer, rather.

Nope. Do you honestly think if the 50 States were completely autonomous today and decided to form a Federation or Union that it would NOT require something like the Senate to make it happen? You think you’d get RI or ND or AL to join a union with CA on a strictly proportional representation model? No way in a million years. You simply cannot expect sovereign states to join into a larger whole without preserving some aspects of their sovereignty. Not in the 18th century, nor in the 21st.