A Failed Attempt to Amend the Constitution

Topics: United States Constitution, Henry Louis Gates, Constitutional amendment Pages: 12 (3653 words) Published: December 6, 2010
A Failed Attempt to Amend the Constitution
Kristy Phillips
Instructor: Brandy Robinson
HIS 303: The US Constitution
February 22, 2010

A Failed Attempt to Amend the Constitution

There are essentially two ways spelled out in the Constitution for how to propose an amendment. The first method is for a bill to pass both houses of the legislature, by a two-thirds majority in each. Once the bill has passed both houses, it goes on to the states. This is the route taken by all current amendments. Because of some long outstanding amendments, such as the 27th, Congress will normally put a time limit (typically seven years) for the bill to be approved as an amendment (for example, see the 21st and 22nd). The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions.There has been many attempts to change the information. There have been many failed attempts to change the process.

Throughout the history of the Constitution, 27 changes have been made through the Amendment process. Amendments are not easy to pass, and several amendments have been proposed over time, but which failed to pass the second hurdle - acceptance by the states. Some did not pass because of the language of the bill that passed the Congress, have no expiration date and are still pending ratification. Others have built-in expiration dates. Over 10,000 Constitutional amendments have been proposed in Congress since 1789; in a typical Congressional year in the last several decades, between 100 and 200 are proposed. Most of these proposals never get out of Congressional committee much less get passed by the Congress. Backers of some amendments have attempted the alternative method mentioned in Article Five, but no proposal of this sort has ever gotten far enough to be considered by all the state legislatures. The process for Informal Amendment is the processes by which changes are made that do not change the words. They are basic legislation, laws spelling out details of provisions left sketchy by the Constitution, and laws “interpreting” the Constitution. When ratifying the constitution the following rules apply: Only 21st Amendment has used ratifying Conventions, major vote ok, but 7 states require more, are conventions better than legislature?, can a State change its mind, what is the time limit? Because any amendment can be blocked by a mere thirteen states withholding approval, amendments don't come easy.  In fact, only 27 amendments have been ratified since the Constitution became effective, and ten of those ratifications occurred almost immediately--as the Bill of Rights.  The very difficulty of amending the Constitution greatly increases the importance of Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Constitution, because reversal of the Court's decision by amendment is unlikely except in cases when the public's disagreement is intense and close to unanimous.

Reference:
(2006). MODEL STATE RESOLUTION: CALLING ON CONGRESS TO PROPOSE AN AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, PURSUANT TO ARTICLE V, ESTABLISHING THAT A RIGHT TO ABORTION IS NOT CONFERRED BY THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. Texas Review of Law & Politics, 10(2), 355-356. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database

(1996). THE FAITH TO CHANGE: RECONCILING THE OATH TO UPHOLD WITH THE POWER TO AMEND. Harvard Law Review, 109(7), 1746. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Devins, N. (2009). How Planned Parenthood v. Casey (Pretty Much) Settled the Abortion Wars. Yale Law Journal, 118(7), 1318-1354. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

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