George W. Norris: U.S. Legislator from Nebraska
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"Lame Duck" Amendment

Lame Duck political cartoon
Lame Duck political cartoon.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society, RG3298-46-209

Senator Norris’ accomplishments during the years that he represented Nebraska in Washington, D.C. included writing the Twentieth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is also known as the "Lame Duck" amendment. He first proposed this amendment in 1923 and helped secure its passage in 1933.

A "lame duck" is someone who is about to leave office. Often, not much gets accomplished in the time between either losing the next election or announcing that he or she won’t be running again. Sometimes, other politicians practically ignore the "lame duck" official, making government very unproductive.

Lame Duck Amendment
20th Amendment ("Lame Duck") 1933

Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration

The Twentieth Amendment shortened the amount of time between the November election and when newly elected politicians took office. It called for the newly elected Congress to begin their work on the first Monday in January and the new President to be inaugurated about two weeks later.

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