Proposing Constitutional Amendments By Convention
Winkley, Judith Manning
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The Constitution of the United States provides two methods for proposing amendments to it, in Article V. The first allows the Congress to initiate amendments on a vote of two-thirds of both houses. This method has been used, and the resulting amendment ratified twenty- six times. The second method has never been used. The state legislatures may petition Congress to call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. Should such applications be received from two-thirds of the several states, Congress shall call such a convention. Such an exploration of the provision for calling an amendatory convention is important. Should we suddenly be confronted with, either the desire to amend the Constitution in this manner, or the valid accumulation of thirty-four applications from state legislatures, it would be well to understand the background of the convention provision, and the alternatives available on the questions we must ask. The questions should be answered, or at least studied, before the convention is successfully called so that the nation may know what to expect from it or what to avoid in approaching it. It is important in our society that we study and answer the questions of a potential problem before it arises while there is still a chance to deal with it without the added pressure of impending crisis. Providing for future problems, when possible, is extremely important and possibly more effective than trying to study a topic, answer the questions, and solve problems when one is faced with the urgent problem itself. This is by no means an authoritative document on the subject. It is an educational study for students of Constitutional law and political science, and for all who are interested in the possibilities of a modern day constitutional convention.If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email email@example.com to request access to this SIP.