Bowie, Crow and Amendments

Changes David BowieThis post is part of a 2012 monthly series of posts on the topic of the U.S. Constitution.

In his 1971 hit single, “Changes,” Brit David Bowie sang about the changes artists often confront while reinventing themselves and their crafts.  Besides Bowie, countless other singers and singer-songwriters over the years have focused on the concept of change.  In 2010, Robin Raven highlighted 10 modern songs about change in the online article, “10 Best Songs About Change,” and Bowie’s “Changes” made the list.

You may know something about evolving as an individual, but are you familiar with the process for changing the U.S. Constitution?  Do you know which of the seven Articles within the Constitution deals with changing the document?

Article Five describes how the Constitution may be amended and how Amendments to the Constitution can be proposed and ratified.

According to Article Five, there are only two ways in which an Amendment may be proposed.  Changes can be proposed either by:  1- two-thirds votes of both houses of the U.S. Congress or 2- a national convention requested by legislatures of at least two-thirds of U.S. states.  According to Wikipedia, “All of the ratified and unratified amendments” have been proposed by the first method.”

Article Five also identifies two ways in which proposed Amendments may be ratified.  The two ways to ratify an Amendment are: 1- ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states and 2-ratification by state conventions of three-fourths of the states.  According to Wikipedia, “only the Twenty-first Amendment” has used the second method.

Wikipedia highlights that U.S. Representatives and Senators typically propose up to 200 amendments during each year, but “most amendments never get out of Congressional committees.”  In fact, only 27 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been ratified to date.  And, did you know that the Twenty-seventh Amendment was ratified in 1993 and 203 years after originally being submitted to the states for ratification?

Without doubt, in crafting Article Five, our Founding Fathers made sure that changing our Constitution would not be an easy task.

What about the changes that you’ve made in your life to date?  Have you applied the same sort of conservative, serious “Constitutional” approach when making significant life changes?  Have you made quick or slow important life decisions?

And, would you agree with singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow that “a change would do you good?

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