The difficulty in amending the constitution

Text[ edit ] The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. Twenty-seven of these amendments have been ratified and are now part of the Constitution. The first ten amendments were adopted and ratified simultaneously and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. Six amendments adopted by Congress and sent to the states have not been ratified by the required number of states and are not part of the Constitution.

The difficulty in amending the constitution

The most recent formal amendment in the United States was ratified over a generation ago inand next-most recent was passed twenty years earlier. The difficulty of formal amendment in the United States derives from textual, structural and political sources.

Textually, the requirements for formal amendment are particularly onerous: But the Constitution of Canada may be even more difficult to amend.

4 Responses

I show that the sources of amendment difficulty in Canada are both conventional and not, and that they derive from not only textual, structural and political sources but also from judicial interpretation, parliamentary and provincial as well as territorial statutes, and also arguably by constitutional convention.

Canada has five formal amendment procedures, each designated for amendments to specific provisions or principles.

Third, Parliament and one or some but not all of the provinces may pass an amendment by simple majorities in their respective legislatures to amend something concerning a particular province, a grouping of provinces or a region of Canada.

And finally, fifth, the unanimity rule requires Parliament and each of the provincial legislatures to consent to an amendment.

Sometimes the constitutional text is clear about which amendment procedure applies. This ambiguity about which amendment rule applies may itself be a source of amendment difficulty too. Parliamentary laws, like the Regional Veto Law and the Clarity Act, as well as provincial and territorial laws requiring a referendum or plebiscite before legislators can vote to ratify an amendment proposal.

Arguably a new constitutional convention that now requires a national consultative referendum to follow the precedent set in the Charlottetown Accord referendum.

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I then develop the argument that these extra-textual sources of formal amendment difficulty threaten to weaken democracy in Canada and also to undermine the very purpose of having a codified constitution with formal amendment rules.

I am currently working on a follow-up paper in which I build a more fulsome case about informal changes to formal amendment rules elsewhere in the democratic world. It is instead that we need to look beyond text-based analyses of amendment difficulty in order to understand the full measure of constraints that apply to political actors seeking to formally amend their constitution.

Blog, June 16,at:Fellow-Citizens of the United States: In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President before he enters on the execution of.

The difficulty in amending the constitution

A constitutional amendment is a modification of the constitution of a nation or state. In many jurisdictions the text of the constitution itself is altered; in others the text is not changed, but the amendments change its effect.

Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine

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.

Abraham Lincoln (12 February – 15 April ) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March until his assassination in April Initially entering politics as a Whig, he became a member of the US congress from Illinois, and later the first Republican president, leading Union forces throughout the moral, constitutional, political and military crises of the.

Teach students about the development and role of the Constitution of the United States. After reviewing background information, students will study different sections of the Constitutuion through a research activity and create an essay that considers what the country would be like without the Constitution.

[] The dispute in Ex parte Attorney-General arose out of the terms of the Namibian Constitution which provide that there should be an Attorney-General and a Prosecutor-General.

The Attorney-General is a political appointment and holds office at the discretion of the President without any security of tenure.

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