Questions about the Constitution, Laws, the role of the SCOTUS, and the Amendment process?

I really don’t know much about this area and hope to learn from others. So here is how I understand it. The Constitution is how our nation is ultimately governed? Any and all laws must fit within the framework of the Constitution? If there is any concern about a law the SCOTUS will determine if the law is Constitutional? How am I doing so far?

Regarding the Amendment process, I don’t know much about it. Has anyone here studied this much?

Any and all real world examples are welcome!

To amend the Constitution there must be approval by a two thirds majority vote in both houses or ratified by 3/4 of the states. As you can see, changing the Constitution is quite difficult.

It sounds like you should do some research on your own.

I do that as well, although I find that a dialogue is helpful when trying to learn something new.

How is it determined when an Amendment is needed? Also who is “authorized” (not sure if that is the best word) to propose that there needs to be an Amendment?

That’s pretty much it, at a basic level.

An amendment is “needed” whenever someone wants to change the Constitution. Anyone is “authorized” to propose an amendment - but it’s very difficult to pass one.

So any American citizen can propose that the Constitution be amended?

A member of Congress introduces the amendment, two thirds of both houses pass it, 3/4 of states ratify it, boom it’s part of the constitution.

AND ratified by 3/4 of the states.

An interesting study of the amendment process and the difficulties they sometime face…

“Propose” is a constitutional term. Article V says only Congress or a Convention of states may propose amendments. After an amendment is proposed by a 2/3 vote of Congress or by a convention, it must be ratified by 3/4 of the states.

Not quite, there is a process for proposing an amendment and a process for ratification.


  1. 2/3’s of both houses,
  2. 2/3’s of State Legislatures can call for a convention.


  1. 3/4’s of the State Legislatures vote to ratify,
  2. 3/4’s of States by Convention.

Ratification - Congress gets to make the call on the method. To date, IIRC, there has never been an Amendment submitted to States for ratification by conventions, they have all been submitted to State Legislatures.


Anyone can “propose” and Amendment, approval of the proposal requires 2/3’s of each federal house or 3/4 of States to call for a convention (never been done so far).

If you have a proposal, you can contact your State Legislature or Federal Congress representatives with your idea.

(Of course they are not required to act on your request.)


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You have your conventions mixed up.
Article V speaks of two different type of conventions.

  1. A National convention requested by 2/3 of the states. Its function is to propose amendments.
  2. Ratifying conventions in each state. Congress may choose to have states ratify an amendment by individual state conventions rather than by the legislatures.
    The 21st amendment was ratified this way.

Again, I disagree with the claim that anyone can propose an amendment. Legally only Congress or National Convention can “propose” an amendment.
Anyone can suggest one.

Thanks for the correction on the 21st.


To date, Congress has considered over 11,000 amendments. It has passed 33 of them. 27 of those 33 have gone on to be ratified by 3/4 of the states. 6 have failed to be ratified.

Not a bad record over 229 years. Congress hasn’t spewed out a bunch of garbage.

No only congressmen and senators can write a proposed constitutional amendment (you could visit with your state representative and senators to see if they would introduce it).

So let’s say that enough members of Congress agree that the 2nd and 14th Amendments need to be amended (Is that even the correct way to say it?), and it gets through the whole process. Would we still have the 2nd and 14th Amendments but just reworded?

It literally depends on the amendment that they introduce. It’s like introducing a bill-it has actual language that gets voted on. If it passes the process, it’s then part of the constitution. For an example, look at the 18th and 21st amendment.

So the 21st Amendment completely repealed the 18th Amendment, correct?

So let’s say there was a new Amendment simply to clarify the wording in the 2nd Amendment to make sense today, in other words not a repeal. How would that look and work?