Top Ten Constitutional Amendments
By Daniel Rigney
We Americans are a nation of rankers. We rank everything imaginable, from major universities and athletic teams to Fortune 500 companies and numbers of Twitter followers. [Update: Gaga is still at #1, with Bieber trailing at #2. Obama, at #6, is winning in a landslide against Romney, many of whose followers seem to have arrived on Twitter suddenly and mysteriously.]
One widely-used method of cultural ranking in today’s world is the Google count. How many entries come up when we request exact matches of a given word or phrase?
Civic-minded as we are, we're naturally curious to know how the 27 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States might stack up against each other in a Google-count competition.
Our methodology is simple: to add alpha and numeric spellings of a given amendment (e.g., “first amendment” plus “1st amendment”) to arrive at a total count, so as to determine the relative prestige or popularity of each of the amendments.
Here for your enjoyment are the top ten amendments to the Constitution, in order of number of entries, according to no less an authority than the Internet:
1. First Amendment (19.8 million entries): Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, petition
2. Second Amendment (12.3): Right to bear arms
3. Fourteenth Amendment (4.6): Civil rights
4. Fourth Amendment (4.1): Search and arrest warrants
5. Fifth Amendment (2.9): Rights in criminal cases
6. Sixth Amendment (2.0) Rights to fair trial
7. Tenth Amendment (1.9): Powers retained by the states and the people
8. Thirteenth Amendment (1.6): Abolition of slavery
9. Nineteenth Amendment (1.6): Women’s suffrage
10. Eighth Amendment (1.1): Bonds, fines, punishments
[... a fact-based satire of our human propensity to rank, and a self-satire of top-ten lists like this one]
Source: Constitution of the United States of America (ACLU pocket edition)