Changes to the United States Constitution have the primary objectives of improving, correcting or revising the original Constitution approved in 1788 (Strauss 45). Article V of the US Constitution declares that an amendment is a part of the US Constitution. This paper describes and explains three ways that the US Constitution changes, which includes formal amendments, judicial interpretation and changing political practices.
Formal amendments take place when a congressperson suggests an amendment to the US Constitution, which must pass both houses by at least a two-third majority (Strauss 125). Therefore, formal amendments take the form of changes or additional tests that become part of the US Constitution. The proposal phase of formal amendments requires approval by a two-thirds supermajority vote by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Formal amendments can also take place through a joint resolution to amend the US Constitution. Ratification of amendments requires approval by three-fourths of state elected representatives or using ratifying conventions to approve the amendment in three-fourths of states (Strauss 125).
The second way that the US Constitution can change is through judicial interpretation, which takes place when the Supreme Court may interpret the US Constitution in order to change it. For instance, the Supreme Court can decide to broaden the scope of US Constitution or add new provisions through court interpretations in order to handle emerging court cases that are irresolvable using the existing state of the Constitution (Strauss 144). An example is the Roe vs. Wade case; the Supreme Court held that the ninth amendment privacy of protections is applicable to women’s right to abortion.
Changing political practices can also change the US Constitution, this because the manner in which the US Constitution sets up institutions leads to the emergence of new elements of the political system (Strauss 125). For instance, the political system comprises of a two-party system since because of the manner in which the Constitution establishes winner-take-all elections.
In conclusion, the US Constitution changes through formal amendments, judicial interpretation and changing political practices. Formal amendments require approval by a two-thirds supermajority vote by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Judicial interpretation takes place when the Supreme Court may interpret the US Constitution in order to change it.
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