Amending the Constitution Essay
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Step 1: Which route do you choose? The route I chose was Congress route. Smart start!
Why? You remembered that, historically, constitutional amendments have never been initiated at national conventions, even though that is one of the two possible methods outlined in Article V. Your decision to use the route that has proved successful in the past increases the odds of your effort succeeding. Question #2: House or Senate First?
Step 2: Which route do you choose? The route I chose was the House First.
Why? You have two distinct advantages in the House that you don’t have in the Senate: (1) you are a senior and respected member, and (2) a block of House members already supports the amendment. If you succeed in the House, your odds of also succeeding in the Senate are increased because the House vote may convince many skeptical senators. Question # 3: Negotiations in the House
Step 3: Whose support will you go after? Good move!
Why? Fiscal conservatives aren’t overjoyed with your decision, because leaving in the two-thirds language will still allow the government the option to run a deficit.
But, they still want some kind of amendment that will make running a deficit more difficult for the government. Moderates, on the other hand, are happy that you’ve sided with them. The result is that the bill passes in the House by a comfortable margin, with only a small block of the most ardent fiscal conservatives voting against it. Question #4: A Court Challenge
Step 4: What is your response? Good choice!
Why? As your supporters thought, the suit is thrown out. The judge rules that it is without merit. Having wasted no time on the suit, you are ready to begin working on the Senate to pass your proposal. Question #5: Negotiations in the Senate
Step 5: What is your response? Smart move!
Why? The president gives a forceful speech in support of the proposed amendment and within three weeks the bill passes in the Senate. You’ve achieved your goal of succeeding at stage one of the process. Now you’ve got to turn your attention to getting two-thirds of the states to ratify the amendment, and that could take years. Your work is cut out for you, but you’ve made it farther than most! You Are Proposing a Constitutional Amendment (cont.)
Conclusion Amending the U.S. Constitution is not easy. Remember, only 27 amendments to the Constitution have been ratified, while over 10,000 have been proposed. One reason there are so few amendments is that the writers of the Constitution made it very difficult to amend it. The two-stage process established by Article V sets the bar high and ensures that any amendments are supported throughout the land before they are added to the Constitution. Based on what you’ve learned in this simulation, consider the following: * Are there any issues right now that you think have enough support throughout the country to become constitutional amendments? * What is the primary benefit to having a constitution that is so difficult to amend? * What is the primary problem with having a constitution that is so difficult to amend?
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