Amending Our Ways | National Review

Amending Our Ways | National Review

Sarah Isgur’s proposal to make it easier to amend the Constitution, which David Harsanyi criticizes, raises an interesting question: Why have Americans gotten so much slower at passing amendments? I suspect the rise of judicial activism has made amendments more infrequent, for two reasons: They became less necessary, as the courts would change the Constitution without the fuss and bother of the formal amendment process; and they became more dangerous, since amendments would (at least in many cases) hand judges more material with which to be creative.

The Equal Rights Amendment illustrates both points: Much of its substance ended up getting adopted by the courts even as it failed to be ratified, and it failed to be ratified after an opposition campaign that stressed the judicial mischief it could set off.

Ramesh Ponnuru is the editor of National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.