Changing the Constitution by state action



A little known or at least little discussion on the power of the states to change our Constitution is covered under article V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

A number of states have started the process in conjunction with this article and is an important step to change the Constitution through the will of the people. The will of the people in terms of the legislation being passed and signed into law along with their regulations have been ignored for too long. The political climate in Washington needs to change and if Washington is not going to change then citizens and their elected officials can take action through this article to make changes happen.

Too many times government has passed laws and imposed regulations which have a negative impact on businesses and the economy at large. Government was created at the beginning of our country to be a support function for the citizens but today it is the people supporting the government. It is true that government needs funds to accomplish their responsibilities but those responsibilities seem to have grown larger than any individual could have imagined. While the funds are needed they are not spending what they have wisely and efficiently. Granted there are times when events happen which cause unplanned increases in costs such as weather events where government needs to support the citizens affected.

The action being taken by several states and it is hoped they will be joined in enough numbers to reach the required participation to change our Constitution. Changes created under article V cannot be overruled by Congress or the courts based on the language in the Constitution. It is not known at this point what proposed change or changes the states will generate. This article gives power back to citizens and their elected officials to make needed changes in the way government operates. Changes can be made to the culture of Congress by electing individuals this election year that will honor the Constitution. Either way it is up to voters to change the culture of Congress this election year or changing the Constitution though actions by state legislatures.

The only problem with the article V process is that appears the Constitution in several cases has been ignored. It is hoped that if changes are made to the Constitution through this article our elected officials will be hesitant to buck this display of public action or face losing their elected position. Article V clearly was placed in the Constitution to give power to the people to make changes in government operations either through the Constitution or replacing elected officials to make a difference. The current dysfunctional environment in Congress must stop and if enough states participate in this process it is hoped that our current elected officials will notice and change their ways. We can only hope that a strong message is sent to Congress through this process that the public has had enough of the status quo. It remains to be seen what changes will occur as a result of this process and our voting decisions this election year. It is going to be a year we may never forget. There will either be a drastic change in the direction of our country or we may continue on the current path. The choice is up to us as citizens and voters. We need to communicate with our state governments to at least consider the option for change under this article process.

The process involved with this article has specific requirements which must be met but it is something which needs to be taken given the current government/political culture. It is time for the citizens of this country through their elected state legislatures to send a strong signal the public has had enough. If the number of participants goes beyond the required minimum it may send a shock wave throughout the political system. States which do not take up such action may also find repercussions during their next election cycle. It is one thing to elect individuals it is quite another to put the fear into individuals elected to state legislatures. The message needs to be a strong one for joining the movement to make changes the public wants in our Constitution and the way government currently operates.

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11 comments

Larry Wall 2 years ago

Dennis:

Your observations are absolutely correct. The problem is that the state legislators do not want to disagree with their own delegation or with lawmakers who chair committees that have significant impact on particular states.

The last constitutional amendment I can recall getting any traction, was the Equal Rights Amendment. It failed because enough states did not vote for it within the time allowed. Attempts were made to extend the time limit. I opposed that and got cold stares from the women working in my office. My opposition was not to the amendment, but to trying the change the rules. When an amendment includes the word Equal, it was my thought it should have to obey the same rules. The amendment did little and most issues have been resolved with legislation, but discrimination does still exist for women, as well as for senior citizens, minorities and others.

Adopting amendments to the constitution can be tricky, because if we are not careful, an amendment could destroy some of the rights and privileges we take for granted. That does not mean we should never amend the Constitution. We just have to be careful.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 2 years ago Author

Thanks for your input and I agree with you that we need to be careful about amending the Constitution but in these times when Congress is not taking the steps it should be the people and their elected officials in the state legislatures need to step up to the plate and take the action Congress is not.


Larry Wall 2 years ago

I agreed. I am just not sure the states will ever want to go against their congressional delegations. Time will tell.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 2 years ago Author

Larry,

Thanks for your comments. In these times it is necessary for the public and their elected officials in the state legislatures to stand up for what is right. This involves actions to change our Constitution for the better.


Larry Wall 2 years ago

On that we are in full agreement.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 2 years ago Author

Thanks again Larry


Justin Earick profile image

Justin Earick 2 years ago from Tacoma, WA

Is there a way to limit the Article V (whats the word? power, standing, stance, relevance) ? I don't want folks claiming that pollution is speech (for instance) as a point of compromise for a 28th Amendment...


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 2 years ago Author

Under article V I do not believe there are any limits except that 38 states must agree on what change to make to the Constitution. The present feeling of the country I believe is leaning toward a more limited government rather than a bigger government.


Justin Earick profile image

Justin Earick 2 years ago from Tacoma, WA

I think this is the best/only way to fix congress - by bypassing them entirely. My only concern is that many states are run by red legislatures and governors, and I'm afraid what might come from it if we simply open up the constitution to their whims.

We want money out of politics - but what if they decide to criminalize abortion, open the entire country to fracking, state that pollution is speech, or eliminate the IRS and EPA instead?

There has to be a way to limit the scope of the convention...


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 2 years ago Author

Justin,

Thanks for commenting on my hub. I believe in the people of this country to do the right thing. There are many things which need changing and if Congress cannot or will not take the action the public through their legislatures can. Article V was put there for a reason.


Justin Earick profile image

Justin Earick 2 years ago from Tacoma, WA

What's the point of authoring a legitimately important hub, if you are easily confused by comments on said hub?

I said that I agree with both your problem and your solution (money in politics, and a 28th Amendment), but I'm concerned with the details.

Are you so thoroughly blinded with righteousness that you cannot answer the valid question of an ally?

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