Amending the Constitution

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Amending the Constitution

Advantages

  • Protects the Constitution from political whims- as it takes so long and is so difficult, it is hard to repeal it and thus deters people from changing it based on their own political goals and stops the next President from just repealing it.
  • Protects the Constitution from popular sentiments of the time- this means that something that is popular at the time, may not be later, and thus because it is so difficult to amend it deters from people changing the laws based on this sentiments. For example, the sentiment after 9/11 to introduce measures to restrict civil liberties of terrorists.
  • It works. 27 (techinicially only 17) have been able to get through the system and work, thus proving it is able to work.

Disadvantages

  • It takes too long- some state legislatures have up to seven years to decide, so this means that a proposed amendment may not happen for at least 10 years.
  • Some amendments are now null and void in today's society, and in part because of the lengthy process it is almost impossible to change it. For example, the 2nd Amendment, "the right to bear arms" is not completely applicable to today's society
  • Because of the long and difficult process, some amendments which are needed to protect the minorities fail often and this is, in turn, bad for these minorities. For example. the Equal Rights Amendment for women has often been proposed but not acted upon.

Evaluation

The process for amending the Constitution, although long and complicated, overall does a good job of protecting the US from political whims and popular sentiments. Further, if the system is taking too long you may be able to take this as a case to the Supreme Court, who are able to declare parts of the Constitution unconstitutional and thus avoid a long and messy system.

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