Countdown to the usual post from the person that still has no idea how this works in 3...2...
posted on 02/28/2017 4:16:43 PM PST
I'll get my usual boilerplate posted early in the thread.
The amendatory process under Article V consists of three steps: Proposal, Disposal, and Ratification.
There are two ways to propose an amendment to the Constitution.
- The Congressional Method requires the House and Senate to pass an amendment by a two-thirds majority.
- The Amendments Convention Method requires the legislatures of two-thirds of the states to apply to Congress to call a Convention for Proposing Amendments. Once the two-thirds threshold is reached, Congress is required to set a time and place for the convention.
Article V gives Congress and an Amendments Convention exactly the same power to propose amendments, no more and no less.
Once Congress, or an Amendments Convention, proposes amendments, Congress must decide whether the states will ratify by the:
- State Legislature Method, or the
- State Ratifying Convention Method.
The State Ratifying Convention Method has only been used twice: once to ratify the Constitution, and once to ratify the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition.
Depending upon which ratification method is chosen by Congress, either the state legislatures vote up-or-down on the proposed amendment, or the voters elect a state ratifying convention to vote up-or-down. If three-quarters of the states vote to ratify, the amendment becomes part of the Constitution.
Article V contains two explicitly forbidden subjects and one implicitly forbidden subject.
- No amendment may be added to the Constitution concerning slavery or capitation taxes until 1808. Were well past that deadline.
- No amendment may be added to the Constitution to change the principle of equal representation in the Senate unless every state deprived of that right approves. If California wants five senators, every state must have five senators. To permit violation of this principle, every state would have to ratify the amendment, not just three-fourths.
- The Constitution of 1787 may not be abrogated and replaced with a new document. Article V only authorizes a convention for proposing amendments to this Constitution; therefore, the Constitution of 1787 is locked in place forever. Congress and an Amendments Convention have exactly the same Proposal power; therefore, neither Congress nor an Amendments Convention can start over. Both bodies can only propose amendments.
Frequently Asked Questions About a Convention of the States
Proposing Constitutional Amendments by a Convention of the States: A Handbook for State Lawmakers
State Initiation of Constitutional Amendments: A Guide for Lawyers and Legislative Drafters
posted on 02/28/2017 4:18:44 PM PST
("Who is John Galt?" by Billthedrill and Publius available at Amazon.)
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