Fifty Shades of Republic | Part 3: constitutional amendment rules

Fruits and Votes

This post is part ofFifty Shades of Republic, a series of overviews of US political institutions at the state level

While the Federal Constitution is arguably the world’s oldest national constitution, the states were the ones that began the practice of having ‘written’ constitutions – entrenched laws with a higher status than regular laws, establishing the main features of the system of government. Since I’ve been doing some work on constitution amendment rules (of both national and US state constitutions) for my dissertation, I thought I’d do this topic next (it is also closely related to the topic of a podcast I am currently preparing for Leviathan’s Couch).

The amendment procedure has far-reaching effects. John Burgess, one of the 19th century pioneers of political science, argued it to be the most important part of a constitution. Constitutional amendment procedures entrench written constitutions, making them harder (or…

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