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United States Constitutional Amendments

The US Constitution is a revolutionary law with elaborate procedures on its amendment. The two most commonly followed routes when amending the US Constitution are described in Article V. The first route requires an amendment to be endorsed by a vote by two-thirds of the members of Congress and ratified by at least three-fourths of all states in a convention or through a vote in the state legislature. The second route requires an amendment to the Constitution to be endorsed by at least three-fourths of all state legislatures through a convention and ratified by at least two-thirds of Congress through a vote. The two constitution amendment procedures exempt the executive arm of government led by the President, meaning that after the ratification procedures by the States have ended, a proposed amendment becomes law without requiring the President’s signature. The constitutional amendment process is a Congress and states-led initiative.

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Any amendment to the US must have the acquiescence of at least three-fourths of all states in the US. The group’s proposed amendment would require to be ratified by the 50 states through a convention or a vote in the state legislatures. The amendment will not require the amendment of states constitutions or any other states laws. Had these amendments been proposed before the Civil War, the process to amend the Constitution would have been complicated by the 15 Southern states that held slaves. Before the Civil War, any proposed amendment to the Constitution ran the risk of upsetting these Southern states who threatened to nullify federal law or secede from the Union. With amendments requiring 38 out of 50 states to ratify a Constitutional amendment for it to come into force, the 15 states were crucially important as their opposition meant the end of the amendment process without passing the proposals. Thus, my answer on the proposed amendment would fundamentally change if the proposed amendment were being done before the Civil War.

The proponents of the US Constitution described an elaborate procedure that must be followed to amend the Constitutional text. Formally known as the amenability of the Constitution doctrine, the procedure to amend the Constitution can be found in Article five of the same Constitution. Since the Constitution came into effect, only a handful of amendments have been passed, indicating how hard it is to get a consensus on a proposal to amend the Constitution. Article V describes two routes to amend the text of the Constitution. The first is a proposal that is voted for and supported by at least two-thirds of Congress. The second is a proposal supported by two-thirds of states in a convention. The 27 amendments that have so far been enacted have utilized the Congress route only.

If I were to pick a new constitutional amendment to pass, I would choose to amend the composition and structure of the electoral college to ensure the voters have the final say on who they elect as President. The first reason why I would choose to amend the electoral college law is that its composition is informed by a by-gone era that favored slave-holding States, and thus, it needs to be amended to reflect the new realities. The second reason is that the electoral college is flawed, as has in recent memory led to two negative election results where the loser won. An amendment to the electoral college law would, by definition and in practice, make the institution symbolic.

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