Perfecting the Constitution

Perfecting the Constitution

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He who can change the Constitution controls the Constitution. So who does control the Constitution? The answer has always been: a€œthe people.a€ The people control the Constitution via the Article V amending process outlined in the Constitution itself. Changes can only be made through Article V and its formal procedures. Article V has always provided a means of perfecting the Constitution in an explicit, democratically authentic, prudent, and deliberative manner. In addition to changing the Constitution Article V also allowed the people to perfect and preserve their Constitution at the same time. In recent years Article V has come under attack by influential legal scholars who criticize it for being too difficult, undemocratic, and too formal. Such scholars advocate for ignoring Article V in favor of elite adaptation of the Constitution or popular amendment through national referendums. In making their case, critics also assume that Article V is an unimportant and expendable part of the Constitutional structure. One notable scholar called the Constitution a€œimbecilica€ because of Article V. This book shows that, to the contrary, Article V is a unique and powerful extension of the American tradition of written constitutionalism. It was a logical extension of American constitutional development and it was a powerful tool used by the Federalists to argue for ratification of the new Constitution. Since then it has served as a means of a€œperfectinga€ the US Constitution for over 200 years via a wide range of amendments. Contrary to contemporary critics, the historical evidence shows Article V to be a vital element in the Constitutional architecture, not an expendable or ancillary piece. This book defends Article V against critics by showing that it is neither too difficult, undemocratic, nor too formal. Furthermore, a positive case is made that Article V remains the most clear and powerful way to register the sovereign desires of the American public with regard to alterations of their fundamental law. In the end, Article V is an essential bulwark to maintaining a written Constitution that secures the rights of the people against both elites and themselves.For example, in the introduction to a leading collection of essays on constitutional amendment, the editor Sanford Levinson confirms this essential challenge to Article V: a central focus ... Everyone concedes that Article V sets out a way by which the Constitution can be changed. ... For these scholars, there is little to no difference between Article Va#39;s formal democratic deliberative procedures versus mereanbsp;...

Title:Perfecting the Constitution
Author:Darren Patrick Guerra
Publisher:Lexington Books - 2013-06-10


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