August 27, 2012
The Framers of the Constitution knew their creation was not perfect and future generations would want to make changes, so they added an amendment process. They made the process easier than having a revolution, but hard enough to really have to think about what is being done. The authority to amend the United States Constitution is written in Article V of the Constitution. The Constitution allows an amendment to be proposed by Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. To enact an amendment Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution. The President does not have a role in the amendment process so the joint resolution does not go to the White House for a signature or approval like a Bill would. The original document gets sent straight to the Office of Federal Register (OFR) for processing and publication. The OFR adds history notes to the document and publishes it into slip law format. A slip law is a bill or constitutional amendment resolution printed individually in its approved form after being enacted into law or submitted to voters. The OFR produces an information package for the States which includes: formal “red-line” copies of the joint resolution, copies of the resolution in law format, and the statutory procedure for ratification under 1 U.S.C. 106b. A letter of notification goes out to each Governor along with the information packet. The Governors then submit the amendment to their state legislatures. The State then ratifies the proposed Amendment (or not), and sends the action to the OFR. A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the states. (“The Constitutional...