allows for further debate about proposed amendments lets some problems resolve

Allows for further debate about proposed amendments

This preview shows page 24 - 26 out of 33 pages.

allows for further debate about proposed amendments, lets some problems resolve themselves through other means, and focuses amendment processes on issues of lingering institutional concern. There is, of course, room for debate about the appropriate period of delay. In some minds, two years might be too long: the period might mean energy for constitutional reform always dissipates before anything gets done and might prevent a needed quick response to a very serious problem. For others, two years might be two short. Perhaps a four-year lag makes more sense because within that period of time elections (and other processes) might well resolve problems without the need for a constitutional amendment. 100 B. Possibilities of Reform Given the high degree of popular support for the Constitution (as described in Part I), it is fair to ask whether the proposal would ever result in a convention being called, the convention agreeing to 100. A different risk bears flagging. With periodic voting on whether to hold a constitutional convention, members of the government might form the view that a ‘no’ vote signals that the citizenry is satisfied, even happy, with the way in which the government is operating. Thus, the failure of the people to convene and adopt amendments to alter what the government is doing—to require a balanced budget, impose term limits upon members of Congress, protect new rights, overturn a Supreme Court decision—could be taken to mean that no reform is desired or needed. Accordingly, government, emboldened, might continue on its same course or perhaps act more boldly. Given that voters might be both dissatisfied with what the government is doing and reluctant (for other reasons) to proceed to a convention to adopt amendments, there is a risk of the availability of the convention process proposed in this article increasing the gap between what government does and what citizens want. In other words, right now, we can comfortably say, “We don’t like the way things are going but it is too hard to amend the Constitution to fix the problems.” If amendment is a realistic option and yet not exercised, fault for political deficiencies shifts squarely to the public and inaction on its part might easily be taken as acquiescence.
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2018] A MENDING THE A MENDMENT P ROCEDURES 139 amendments, and those amendments being ratified. Why, after all, would Americans proceed to a constitutional convention if they think so highly of their Constitution? Perhaps, then, the only benefit to the proposal is offering a means of constitutional change that in reality is never used. It is hard to know in advance whether and how the proposed mechanism for amendments would be deployed. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize that while in surveys Americans express high regard for the Constitution and a general resistance to changing it, there is also support for specific amendments. In other words, Americans do support particular reforms even while, in the abstract, they say they do not favor altering the Constitution.
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