2 The Constitution In effect for over 200 years Longest (by far) of any constitution in the world todayWhy has it lasted so long?The United States Constitution of today is, and at the same time is not, the document of
3 FORMAL AMENDMENT PROCESS Our constitution provides for its own amendmentsAmendment—changes in its written wordsArticle V sets out two methods for the proposal and two methods for ratification of constitutional amendments.
4 Amendment Method 1An Amendment may be proposed by a 2/3 vote in each house of CongressThe Amendment was also need to be ratified by ¾ of the state legislaturesToday 38 states would have to agree26 of 27 amendments were approved this way
5 Amendment Method 2 An amendment may be proposed by Congress The amendment would need to be ratified by conventions, called for the purpose of amendment, in ¾ of the states.Only the XXIst Amendment (repeal of prohibition) has been ratified this wayDelegates to the conventions would better reflect public opinion than state legislators
6 Amendment Method 3An amendment may be proposed by a national convention, called by Congress, at the request of 2/3 of the state legislatures (today 34 states)The amendment must then be ratified by ¾ of the state legislatures.
7 Amendment Method 4An amendment may be proposed by a national conventionThe amendment then must be ratified by ¾ of the States.The original Constitution was adopted in much the same way.
8 Federalism and Popular Sovereignty The amendment process reflects federalismThe amendment is proposed at the national level and is ratified at the state level.Some have criticized the practice of sending amendments to the state legislature instead of a ratifying convention because it could permit a constitutional change without a clear-cut expression by the people.
9 US Supreme Court ruled in “Hawke v US Supreme Court ruled in “Hawke v. Smith” (1920) that states cannot require an amendment proposed by Congress to be approved by a vote of the people of the State before it can be ratified by the State legislature.However, a state legislature can call for an advisory vote by the people before it acts. (“Kimble v. Swackhamer” 1978)
10 Proposed AmendmentsOnly 1 restriction on the subjects proposed for amendment to the US Constitution.Article V declares that “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate”.When both houses of Congress pass a resolution calling for an amendment, the President doesn’t have to sign it because the Congress is not legislating (making a law)
11 Proposed AmendmentsStates can initially reject a proposed amendment and then agree to it later.However, once a state has approved an amendment, the action is final.There have been nearly 15, 000 joint resolutions calling for amendments.Only 33 have been sent to the statesOnly 27 have been ratified.Congress can place “a reasonable time limit” on proposed amendments (Dillon v. Gloss 1921)Usually the time limit is 7 years.
12 The 27 AmendmentsChart p. 76 listed amendments and how long it took to ratify each.The Bill of RightsFirst 10 amendments were added less than 3 years after the Constitution went into effect.The later amendments grew out of some particular, and often interesting set of circumstances
13 Some Interesting Amendments XIIth Amendment—added after the Electoral College failed to produce a winner in the Presidential race of Jefferson won after a long bitter fight in the House of Representatives.XIIIth Amendment—abolished slavery in the USAXIVth Amendment—All people born in the USA are citizens of the country and the state they live in.XVth Amendment—The right to vote cannot be denied on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
14 More Interesting Amendments XVIIIth Amendment—Nation-wide prohibition of alcoholXXIst Amendment—Repealed XVIIIth Amendment (Prohibition lasted < 14 years)XXIInd Amendment—Limits the service of the President to two 4-year termsXXVIth Amendment—Lowered the voting age to 18“Old enough to fight, old enough to vote”
15 More Interesting Amendment XXVth Amendment—Presidential SuccessionXXVIIth AmendmentProposed September 25, 1789 as part of the Bill of RightsRatified May 7, 1992 (203 years later)Stated that any pay raise Congress approved for itself couldn’t take effect until an election had occurred
16 LET’S REVIEW…1) Describe four possible methods of amending the Constitution? (slides 4-7)2) Describe three freedoms of the Bill of Rights? Belief and expression; freedom and security of the person; fair and equal treatment3) Why does the Constitution provide that both houses of Congress must agree to a proposal of an amendment?
17 LET’S REVIEW…Amendments should reflect the will of all the people. If only one house was required, all the people would not be represented.THE END