Gregory Watson has been employed in the Texas Legislature from 1982 to present. He currently works for a member of the Harris County delegation to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1982, Watson started the momentum behind the unusual ratification process of the Twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. He is described as the "National Coordinator of the Political Movement to Ratify the 27th Amendment" in the case of ''Schaffer, et al. v. Clinton, et al.'' (later styled as ''Schaffer v. O'Neill''), litigated in the federal courts of the United States.
==Watson's involvement with the 27th Amendment==
In 1982, while researching the proposed—but not ratified—Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution (ERA) of a decade earlier for a paper in a government class that he was taking at the University of Texas at Austin, Watson came across documentation of another unratified constitutional amendment which Congress had presented to America's state lawmakers. This other proposal, dating back to the 1st Congress in 1789, had been authored by James Madison, then a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Madison's proposal would delay congressional pay raises until the electorate got a chance to respond. The one-sentence constitutional amendment reads:
Intrigued, Watson switched the subject of his paper from the ERA to the 1789 proposal and researched what was a still-pending constitutional amendment, despite 192 years having elapsed. Watson's paper argued that—unlike the ERA—the 1789 amendment had no deadline within which the nation's state legislatures must have acted upon it and that it ''could'' belatedly become part of the U.S. Constitution. His report further recommended—on policy grounds—that the amendment ''should'' be ratified, as delaying changes of congressional salary would be beneficial against corruption. His instructor, Sharon Waite, gave Watson a 'C' on the paper, explaining that he had failed to make a convincing case that the amendment was still subject to being approved by the state legislatures nearly two centuries later and that the topic was irrelevant to modern government. In short, she said, his thesis was "unrealistic".〔Stephen E. Frantzich, ''Citizen Democracy: Political Activists in a Cynical Age,'' (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), pp. 12-14;(27: Congressional pay raises )〕
Undeterred, Watson set out to secure the amendment's incorporation into the Federal Constitution. Early in 1982, he undertook a letter-writing campaign to strategically targeted states. Initial reaction was swift. The first result was ratification by Maine lawmakers (April 1983), followed by ratification in the Colorado General Assembly (April 1984). Over the course of ten years, the legislatures of more and more states were persuaded to ratify Madison's original proposal. On May 19, 1992, the Archivist of the United States certified that the amendment's ratification was completed, with the legislatures of more than 38 states ratifying it.〔''Congressional Record'' of the 102nd Congress, Volume 138 - Part 9, May 19, 1992, p. 11656.〕 On May 20, 1992, both houses of Congress adopted resolutions agreeing with the Archivist's conclusion. (Subsequently, it came to light that in 1792 the Kentucky General Assembly had ratified all 12 original articles of amendments during that state's initial month of statehood.)〔Kentucky Original Acts of 1792, Chapter XVII, pp. 25-27. This book is in the Kentucky State Law Library〕
Stephen Frantzich, a Political Science professor at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, tracked down Sharon Waite, but by then she had no recollection of Watson, or of many students in her lecture classes at the University of Texas, each with some 300 students. Frantzich researched Watson's campaign further, and made "the stepfather of the 27th Amendment" the subject of the first chapter in his book, ''Citizen Democracy: Political Activists in a Cynical Age'' (1999, 2004, 2008).〔Frantzich, ''Citien Democracy,'' p. 14; http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/dean/20020927.html John Dean, ''The Telling Tale of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment: A Sleeping Amendment Concerning Congressional Compensation Is Later Revived''〕
In later years, Watson joined a lawsuit filed by former Republican U.S. Representative Bob Schaffer of Colorado, and others, in an attempt to reverse automatic mid-term, cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) pay raises for members of Congress. The lawsuit was rejected by two federal courts. The United States Supreme Court refused certiorari because Congressman Schaffer could not establish sufficient proof that he was personally harmed by automatic yearly COLA pay raises.
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