Congressional Apportionment Amendment

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment (originally titled Article the First) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that addresses the number of seats in the House of Representatives. It was proposed by Congress on September 25, 1789, but was never ratified by the requisite number of state legislatures. As Congress did not set a time limit for its ratification, the Congressional Apportionment Amendment is still pending before the states. As of 2021, it is one of six unratified amendments.

In the 1st United States Congress, James Madison put together a package of constitutional amendments designed to address the concerns of Anti-Federalists, who were suspicious of federal power under the new constitution. The Congressional Apportionment Amendment is the only one of the twelve amendments passed by Congress which was never ratified; ten amendments were ratified as the Bill of Rights, while the other amendment (Article the Second) was ratified as the Twenty-seventh Amendment in 1992. A majority of the states did ratify the Congressional Apportion Amendment and, by the end of 1791, the amendment was just one state short of adoption. However, no state has ratified the amendment since 1792.

The amendment lays out a mathematical formula for determining the number of seats in the House of Representatives. It would initially have required one representative for every 30,000 constituents, with that number eventually climbing to one representative for every 50,000 constituents. However, there is some agreement that the last line contains a scrivener's error[1] (see Mathematical discrepancies). As the amendment was never passed, Congress has set the size of the House of Representatives by statute. Congress regularly increased the size of the House to account for population growth throughout the 19th century until it fixed the number of voting House members at 435 in 1911, where, aside from a temporary increase to 437 members from 1959 through 1962 after Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union, it has remained.

The population of the United States reached approximately 308.7 million in 2010 according to that year's nationwide census. Consequently, the number of representatives in the House could have grown to over 6,000 under the terms of this amendment.[2][3][4]