The Formal and Informal Amendment Process Chapter 2 Constitution
Formal Amendments • 4 methods • All similar • 27 formal amendments over the last 226 years
Methods • 1st method • 26 of 27 happened this way • Proposed in congress by a 2/3s vote in both houses • Ratified by ¾ of the the state legislatures
Cont. • 2nd Method • 21st amendment was done this way • Proposed in congress by a 2/3s vote in both houses • Ratified by conventions held in ¾ of the states
Cont. • 3rd method • Proposed at a National Convention called by congress when requested by 2/3rds of the state legislatures • Ratified by ¾ of the the state legislatures
Cont. • 4th Method • Proposed at a National Convention called by congress when requested by 2/3rds of the state legislatures • Ratified by conventions held in ¾ of the states
Why? • Maintain the Federal character of the government • Proposals start at the national level and ratification is in the states. • Federalism • Will of the people • The president does not sign an amendment • This is not lawmaking – it is bigger – we are changing our philosophy about something.
Why the State Legislature? • States legislatures can ask the people in an advisory vote. • States can change their mind if they disapprove the first time
The Amendments • 10,000 proposed • 33 to the states • 27 approved
Notable Amendments • 1-10 Bill of Rights • 12 – Choosing the President, VP • 13,14,15 – Civil War Amendments • 16 – Income Tax • 17 – Senators – Popular Vote • 18 – 21 Prohibition – Repeal • 19 – Women’s Suffrage • 22 – Presidential Term Limits • 25 – Presidential Disability and Succession • 26 – Voting Age set at 18 yrs
The Informal Amendment Process • The process by which many changes have been made in the Constitution that have not led to changes in the document’s written words. • Five ways • Passing basic legislation • Actions of the President • Decisions made by the Supreme Court • Activities of Political Parties • Custom
Basic Legislation • Constitution is a basic skeleton • Congress has added the flesh (laws) that define the meanings in the Constitution • Creation of the Executive Branch and Judicial System
Executive Action • A presidents different interpretation of the Constitution and how he acts on that interpretation can create an informal amendment. • Executive order 9066 – Japanese Internment • Executive order 9981 – integration of the Armed Forces • Use of the armed forces • Executive Agreement – Foreign Treaties – Kyoto Protocol.
Court Decisions • The Supreme Court and lower courts can make decisions that either declare the unconstitutionality of something or create a legal precedent the can be followed thus modifying the constitution. • Brown v. Board of Education
Political Parties • The Constitution makes no mention of them • The Founders warned against them • They have come to dominate our political and governing processes • Candidates are nominated • Electoral College • The Legislative and Executive Branches are organized around them.
Custom • Unwritten customs can be as strong as written laws • Presidential Cabinet • Vice Presidential succession (25th in 1967) • No third term for President (22nd in 1951)