A constitution is a written document embodying the fundamental states principles. Through the constitution, certain rights of people are guaranteed. It also establishes the conception and character of the United States government by prescribing the government’s duties, powers, and organization. Constitutional amendments are always anticipated. This is because the authors of the constitution are neither prescient nor infallible. Allowing constitutional change is a method of saluting democracy in any government, America being a democracy. These echoes the words of Thomas Jefferson of Each generation has the right of choosing for itself the form of government it feels is best suited for it and the government form that promotes happiness. Constitution limits the powers of leaders and the government (Thomas 34).
Four methods initiate constitutional amendment proposals and revision in the United States constitution. The methods are legislative proposal, popular initiative, constitutional convention, and constitutional commission.
The constitutional commission is a body that is responsible for collecting, reviewing of proposed drafts and recommendations to be considered in the development and making of a new constitution in a state. It takes all the ideas of the political parties, nongovernmental organizations, and governmental officials into consideration. They may focus on public consultation and civic education as a way of acquiring the broadest and widest ranges of opinions and ideas. These ideas from all these parties are put into consideration during constitution amendment.
Although they collect a wide range of ideas, the government and other powerful parties might be in control them manipulating them and the decisions that they make during amendments process. Using of commissions in making constitutional changes also results in delays and lengthening of the reform process. This might be because there might be differences present the parties in the commission and resolving whatever differences present might prove to be hectic.
Legislative proposal amendment process is usually initiated by the general assembly. This is, however, not guaranteed, but only three fifths or two thirds of all members of the house should adopt the act and submit it to the state qualified voters for rejection or ratification. That is to say that the amendment has to be approved by the super majority. The proposal has to be submitted in a manner that is acceptable and as prescribed by the convention. When the majority votes are cast to favor the revised constitution, it is made effective on the day selected (Thomas 34). This is a method that is permitted in all the fifty states, and it is the method advocates for 90 % of all the changes made to the constitution in the country. This method is mostly suited to revisions that are narrow in scope and has a disadvantage in that the revised clauses might easily conflict with the existing constitutional provisions. For a constitutional convention, the house of legislatures must vote in by two thirds in a bid to call for a constitutional convention.
The electorate then votes and calls the convention. The legislature is obliged to provide for the convention within the duration of six months after approval by the electorate. The members of the constitutional convention must be members of the electorate who are initially elected from districts (Thomas 37). Constitutional convention is different from initiatives and legislative proposals since it can be decided that the constitution is to review the whole document unlike the later where only some questions appear in the ballot.
Only eighteen states permit the citizens to initiate and ratify constitutional changes on their own. The popular initiative provides people with power to decide the political powers of the leaders. The petition is normally sent secretary of state office where it is verified confirming that the required voters number has signed. Through this initiative process, the legislature is by passed by the people. This method is also referred under the dual title of the referendum and initiative. It is promoted through agitation of the referendum leagues (Thomas 40). The scheme of people initiative include direct legislation which is the proposal of the laws, to be changed by the petition and the majority adopting them. Secondly veto of the people which is the submission by petition laws which are passed, by the legislative bodies the people for rejection or sanction. Third is the imperative mandate or recall. Legislative proposal is the most advocated by the public. The legislatures are elected by the general public, and their representation in the constitutional amendments is well trusted.
Also, this method is very fast in the passing of laws and amendments that should are urgently needed. Constitutional commission is the least popular among the American public. This is because it is most of the times manipulated by the government, and the general public representation is not enough in these commissions. The representatives of the general public that are in the commission are perceived as not well versed with the situations facing the country and the changes that the constitution requires.