Constitutional amendments may be proposed and ratified, or approved, in two ways:
A two-thirds vote in the house and senate
Two-thirds of the states petition, or appeal to, Congress to call a convention.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, 32 state legislature petitioned Congress for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment.
Congress has to methods for obtaining state approval when an amendment is proposed:
The legislature in three-fourths of the states can ratify an amendment.
The states hold special conventions and need three-fourths of the conventions to approve it
Congress set a rule that says there is a time limit-seven years- for states to ratify an amendment.
There are two indirect ways to adapt the Constitution for changing times
Changes through law
For example, Article I gives Congress the power to “lay and collect taxes” but does not spell out the practical details.
Passing tax laws is one way Congress has expanded the scope of its power.
Changes through practices
For example, Article II says the Congress may impeach, or accuse, federal officials and remove them from office, but is vague on the types of crimes.
Interpreting Article II is one way Congress can adapt the Constitution.
The Actions of presidents have affected the interpretation of the Constitution.
Modern presidents often conduct foreign affairs by executive agreement—agreements between heads of states—instead of the treaty process specified in the Constitution.
Through judicial review, the Supreme Court plays a key role in interpreting the meaning of words and phrases in the Constitution.
Those who support judicial restraint believe that the Court should avoid taking initiative on social and political issues.
Those who support judicial activism believe that the Court should actively help settle difficult social and political questions.
The Constitution can be changed informally through