The Other Way to Amend the Constitution: The Article V. Constitutional Convention Amendment Process. - Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy

The Other Way to Amend the Constitution: The Article V. Constitutional Convention Amendment Process.

By Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy

  • Release Date: 2007-06-22
  • Genre: Law
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The Other Way to Amend the Constitution: The Article V. Constitutional Convention Amendment Process. Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

I. INTRODUCTION The Constitution specifies two different ways for amendments to the Constitution to be proposed. The first method allows Congress to propose amendments when such amendments are approved by at least a two-thirds vote in both houses. (1) The States can then ratify the proposed amendments. The second method is less familiar to most people, as it has never been used. This method requires Congress to call a constitutional convention to propose amendments when two-thirds of the States apply for such a convention. (2) Many questions exist about the use of this amendment process. May the convention's scope be limited to certain subject matters? If so, who may limit it? How are state applications to be tallied--separately by subject matter or cumulatively, regardless of their subject matter? What is the relevance of the convention method of proposing amendments? Why should it ever be used? Some of these uncertainties about the convention have most likely contributed to states' reluctance to use the method. Yet, as of 1993, almost 400 convention applications had been submitted to Congress by the States since 1789. (3) This Note will attempt to explore the history of the Convention Clause in Article V and answer some of the questions about its use.

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