In another thread, FDD posted this (emphasis mine):
Francis Di Domizio wrote:snoqueen wrote:Women couldn't vote in national elections until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920. So, if our original constitution implied a right to vote, that right in actuality extended to less than half the population in the beginning and was not affirmatively stated.
More evidence the original form of the constitution was imperfect and incomplete and has needed updating from time to time.
Woman's suffrage didn't come about through a change in the legal interpretation of the Constitution but by drafting and ratifying an amendment to change it's meaning. Despite the large numbers supporting new gun control legislation, no similar push has been made to amend the second. Are gun control activists unwilling to go through that process or just realize that support for that type of change just isn't there yet?
This gave me a thought -- how likely are we to see a constitutional amendment on anything in the foreseeable future? I have a hard time seeing that happen anytime soon, for a few reasons:
1. The last one ratified was the 27th, and it is fairly inconsequential in most Americans' day-to-day lives (congressional pay raises). The last one you can point to affecting you directly was the 26th (18 years old to vote), and that was in 71. Assuming you have to be a teenager to be aware enough of the process, nobody under the age of 60 or so has been engaged in the ratification of a substantive amendment. Maybe a fairly large chunk of the population doesn't see it as something you can do, because they've never seen it done?
(Of course, there have been a few failed ones since then (Equal Rights and voting rights for DC residents), but change the age from ~60 to ~50, and the same argument applies.)
2. This works in concert with 1. The rhetoric describing the Constitution and its framers has taken on real religious undertones recently. While the specific words don't get used, it is not an uncommon mindset to deify Washington, Jefferson, etc. In that vein, the Constitution is treated as an immutable, perfect document handed down by a metaphysical creator, rather than words penned by mortals. The same voters and legislators who would have to put in the effort to change the Constitution would never think of amending the Bible.
3. Given the partisan battle lines drawn today, are we ever going to see something that enough people would agree on? The bar to amend is set high (and it should be), and we can't get simple votes on judicial nominees.
I dunno, I hadn't really though about this at all until 10 minutes ago, so maybe there is something obvious I'm missing. Are there any fundamental issues today an amendment could solve? I suspect abolishing the electoral college could have huge popular support, with the right PR. Given that one of the country's two main political parties would thereafter never win a national election, I doubt it would ever have the support at the congressional level it would need. (And this has been proposed and died at least once.)
So whaddya say, TDPF? What do YOU think?