Constitutional Amendment Process

amendment

amendment, in law, alteration of the provisions of a legal document. The term usually refers to the alteration of a statute or a constitution, but it is also applied in parliamentary law to proposed changes to a bill or motion under consideration, and in judicial procedure to the correction of errors. A statute may be amended by the passage of an act that is identified specifically as an amendment to it or by a new statute that renders some of its provisions nugatory. Written constitutions, however, for the most part must be amended by an exactly prescribed procedure. The Constitution of the United States, as provided in Article 5, may be amended when two thirds of each house of Congress approves a proposed amendment (approval by the president is not required), and three fourths of the states thereafter ratify it, sometimes within a set period. Congress decides whether state ratification shall be by vote of the legislatures or by popularly elected conventions. Only in the case of the Twenty-first Amendment (repealing prohibition) has the convention system been used. In many U.S. states, a proposed amendment to the state constitution must be submitted to the voters in a referendum.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Constitutional Amending Process in American Political Thought
John R. Vile.
Praeger Publishers, 1992
Contemporary Questions Surrounding the Constitutional Amending Process
John R. Vile.
Praeger Publishers, 1993
Responding to Imperfection: The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Amendment
Sanford Levinson.
Princeton University Press, 1995
Why ERA Failed: Politics, Women's Rights, and the Amending Process of the Constitution
Mary Frances Berry.
Indiana University Press, 1988
Constitutional Change in the United States: A Comparative Study of the Role of Constitutional Amendments, Judicial Interpretations, and Legislative and Executive Actions
John R. Vile.
Praeger Publishers, 1994
The Political Implications of Amending Clauses
Levinson, Sanford.
Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 1996
Stopping Time: The Pro-Slavery and "Irrevocable" Thirteenth Amendment
Bryant, A. Christopher.
Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 2, Spring 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Voter Knowledge and Constitutional Change: Assessing the New Deal Experience
Somin, Ilya.
William and Mary Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 2, December 2003
Rewriting the United States Constitution: An Examination of Proposals from Reconstruction to the Present
John R. Vile.
Praeger, 1991
The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers
John R. Vile.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Articles IV, V, VI, and VII: Federalism, the Amending Process, Miscellaneous Matter, and Ratification"
A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments
John R. Vile.
Praeger, 1997 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Articles V-VII: The Amending Provision and Miscellaneous Matters"
The Day After: Do We Need a "Twenty-Eighth Amendment?"
Grossman, Joel B.; Yalof, David A.
Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 17, No. 1, Spring 2000
Treating the Pen and the Sword as Constitutional Equals: How and Why the Supreme Court Should Apply Its First Amendment Expertise to the Great Second Amendment Debate
Browne, David G.
William and Mary Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 5, April 2003
Failed Amendments to the Constitution - A Look at the Various Crusades to Introduce Amendments That Failed
Keller, Morton.
The World and I, Vol. 18, No. 2, February 2003
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