Contemporary Questions Surrounding the Constitutional Amending Process

By John R. Vile | Go to book overview

student and later an aide to a Texas legislator, who made its ratification his calling. The necessary number of states finally ratified on May 8, 1992, and the amendment received congressional approval despite the long hiatus between proposal and ratification which called into question the idea of contemporary consensus specified in Dillon v. Gloss. 114

Like earlier controversies over the Fourteenth Amendment, the unsuccessful Child Labor Amendment, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, and the unused constitutional convention mechanism of Article V, this controversy indicates the need for fresh thinking and renewed attention to the key which is capable of unlocking the Constitution. 115 That is the primary purpose of this book.


NOTES
1.
The Political Writings of James Harrington, ed. by Charles Blitzer ( Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1955), p. 41.
2.
See Edward S. Corwin, The "Higher Law" Background of American Constitutional Law ( Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1965), pp. 84-88.
3.
For reflections on the current state of comparative constitutionalism, see Donald L. Robinson, "The Comparative Study of Constitutions: Suggestions for Organizing the Inquiry," PS: Political Science and Politics 25 ( June 1992), pp. 272- 80.
4.
Michael Kammen reports that some individuals have held the belief that the Constitution is "divinely inspired." See A Machine that Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture ( New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987), p. 225. A woman traveling abroad in 1840 is said to have referred to "our own glorious Constitution (whose every article should be held as sacred and unchangeable as were the laws of the Persian and the Mede)." See Kammen, "The Problem of Constitutionalism in American Culture," Expansion of Bicentennial Lecture on Constitutionalism in America, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas, 1985, p. 1.
5.
Mark A. Grabner, "Our (Im)Perfect Constitution," Review of Politics 51 (Winter 1989), pp. 86-106.
6.
Words taken from the Preamble, U.S. Constitution. There are a large number of good accounts of the deliberations of the U.S. Constitutional Convention. See, among others, Clinton Rossiter, 1787: The Grand Convention ( New York: W. W. Norton, 1966); Carl Van Doren, The Great Rehearsal ( New York: Viking Press, 1948); William Peters, A More Perfect Union ( New York: Crown Publishers, 1987); Catherine D. Bowen, Miracle at Philadelphia ( Boston: Little, Brown, 1966); Max Farrand , The Framing of the Constitution of the United States ( New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1913); and William L. Miller, The Business of May Next: James Madison & the Founding ( Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1992). For the best primary accounts of the convention, which include James Madison's meticulous notes, see Max Farrand, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, 5 vols. ( New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966).
7.
For an elaboration of this theme, see Edmond Cahn, "An American Contribution," Supreme Court and Supreme Law, ed. Edmond Cahn ( Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1954).

-11-

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