Constitutional Amendment Process


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© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Constitutional Amendment Process: Selected full-text books and articles

The Political Implications of Amending Clauses By Levinson, Sanford Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 1996
Stopping Time: The Pro-Slavery and "Irrevocable" Thirteenth Amendment By Bryant, A. Christopher Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 2, Spring 2003
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 By Somin, Ilya William and Mary Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 2, December 2003
The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers By 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 By 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?" By Grossman, Joel B.; Yalof, David A Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 17, No. 1, Spring 2000
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