At this very moment, politicians are reading the United States Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives. The exercise is some sort of symbolic act, led by the newly Republican majority, but also including Democrats, lest they be called terrorists. The reading is “expected to last several hours.” You can stream the process here via C-SPAN. But for those following along at home, yes, in fact, they did miss something: the parts about slaves that make America look bad!
Via The Hill:
A Goodlatte aide explained that the Constitution will be read in its most modern, amended form. This will prevent lawmakers from having to recite politically uncomfortable portions, notably the provisions on the “three-fifths compromise” under which slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of taxation and representation.
That nasty part goes like this, emphasis ours:
Article I – The Legislative Branch Note
Section 2 – The House
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
And for those wondering, no, House members “will not be allowed to” ad-lib or editorialize. Who has the time for that?