This semester, the Buckley Program held a college essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by Jeffrey Hendricks, a senior in Silliman College, won 1st place.
Political observers understand the difficulty of amending the U.S. Constitution. A two-thirds majority of both congressional houses must propose the amendment, or two-thirds of the states must request a convention. If the proposed amendment wins these supermajorities, three-quarters of the states must ratify the amendment. These high thresholds guarantee the necessity of bipartisan support. In the era of 50 states, the 89th Congress (January 1965 – January 1967) presented the only unified government with a House of 290 or more members of one party and a Senate with 67 or more members of the same party. 290 is two-thirds of 435; 67 is the first whole number larger than two-thirds of 100. Continue reading