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The Constitution  In effect for over 200 years  Longest (by far) of any constitution in the world today  Why has it lasted so long?  The United States.

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Presentation on theme: "The Constitution  In effect for over 200 years  Longest (by far) of any constitution in the world today  Why has it lasted so long?  The United States."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The Constitution  In effect for over 200 years  Longest (by far) of any constitution in the world today  Why has it lasted so long?  The United States Constitution of today is, and at the same time is not, the document of 1787.

3 FORMAL AMENDMENT PROCESS  Our constitution provides for its own amendments  Amendment—changes in its written words  Article V sets out two methods for the proposal and two methods for ratification of constitutional amendments.

4 Amendment Method 1  An Amendment may be proposed by a 2/3 vote in each house of Congress  The Amendment was also need to be ratified by ¾ of the state legislatures  Today 38 states would have to agree  26 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 way  Delegates to the conventions would better reflect public opinion than state legislators

6 Amendment Method 3  An 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 4  An amendment may be proposed by a national convention  The 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 federalism  The 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. 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 Amendments  Only 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 Amendments  States 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 states  Only 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 Amendments  Chart p. 76 listed amendments and how long it took to ratify each.  The Bill of Rights  First 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 USA  XIVth 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 alcohol  XXIst Amendment—Repealed XVIIIth Amendment (Prohibition lasted < 14 years)  XXIInd Amendment—Limits the service of the President to two 4-year terms  XXVIth Amendment—Lowered the voting age to 18  “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote”

15 More Interesting Amendment  XXVth Amendment—Presidential Succession  XXVIIth Amendment  Proposed September 25, 1789 as part of the Bill of Rights  Ratified 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 treatment  3) 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


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