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Who Can Change the Constitution?
Volume 112, Program 43
Airdate: 7/4/2012
Original Airdate: 9/6/2006
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Like the power to make laws, the power to change the Constitution is limited by a set of specific guidelines. Join Mike Farris on Home School Heartbeat as he explains how, in this way, the Founders protected the people’s right to self-government.

Michael Farris:
The Founders specifically stated in the body of the Constitution that its provisions superseded any law that Congress might pass—the Constitution was the highest law of the land. The power to make this higher law—that is, to amend the Constitution—was carefully delegated in the text of the document as well. Article VII breaks this power into two phases: proposal and ratification.

Amendments to the Constitution can be proposed by either of the following methods. First, two-thirds of each house of Congress can vote to propose an amendment. Second, two-thirds of the state legislatures can call for a constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing amendments.

Once an amendment is proposed, it must be ratified in one of two ways. First, three-fourths of the state legislatures may vote to approve the proposed amendment. Second, special elections may be held in each state to choose delegates to ratification conventions, and then three-fourths of those conventions must vote to approve the proposed amendment.

All 27 amendments to the Constitution were proposed by Congress. We’ve never had a constitutional convention to propose amendments under Article VII. Most of these amendments have been ratified by state legislatures.

When the Supreme Court changes the meaning of the Constitution by one of their decisions, they are short-circuiting this entire process. It’s an act of tyranny. I’m Mike Farris.

Program Offer

If we’re going to be a free people, we’ve got to remain true to the Constitution. Mike Farris teaches the constitutional history and legal theory that are essential to American self-government in a DVD series, Constitutional Literacy with Michael Farris. Help preserve liberty—get Constitutionally literate.

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