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A 28th Amendment

Democracy and Constitutional Change

How different this country would be if we had a 28th Amendment which read: "An amendment approved by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of this Constitution." Three-fourths of the states, if they desired, would then be able to change the Constitution without the approval of Congress and without a convention. This simple change would fundamentally alter American democracy. The people would be encouraged to come up with new solutions to our problems. Certainly we would have term limits and balanced budget amendments. We probably would not have federal judges supervising law enforcement and running state schools, prisons, and mental institutions. Nor would we have the unelected Supreme Court determining basic social and economic doctrine. Under the 28th Amendment, we could restore basic principles of federalism and return to a government which better reflects the values of the governed.

The merits of various proposed constitutional amendments are widely debated, but there is little talk about the amending process itself. That process, however, more than the substance of any proposed amendment, defines the nature of our democracy. Our democracy is one in which the people ultimately must determine the power and authority of the federal government. It follows that the people need to be able to amend the Constitution without—as presently required—first...

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