An amendment is a change or addition to a text, such as a law, a contract, or a constitution. Amendments can be made by different methods, depending on the type and source of the text. In this article, we will explore some common examples of amendments and how they are proposed and ratified.
Amendments to the US Constitution
The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land and the framework for the federal government. It was written in 1787 and ratified by nine states in 1788. Since then, it has been amended 27 times to reflect the changing needs and values of the nation. The first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were added in 1791 to protect the rights and liberties of the people from the federal government. The most recent amendment, the 27th, was ratified in 1992 and deals with congressional pay.
Article V of the Constitution outlines the two ways that amendments can be proposed and ratified. The first method is by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress, which is how all 27 amendments have been proposed so far. The second method is by a national convention called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of the state legislatures, which has never been used. Once an amendment is proposed by either method, it must be ratified by three-fourths of the states (38 out of 50) within a specified time limit, usually seven years. The states can ratify an amendment either by their legislatures or by special ratifying conventions, depending on what Congress decides.
Amendments to Laws
Laws are rules that are enacted by a legislative body, such as Congress or a state legislature. Laws can be amended by the same body that enacted them, or by a higher authority, such as a court or a constitutional amendment. Amendments to laws can be made for various reasons, such as to clarify, update, correct, or repeal them.
For example, Congress can amend a federal law by passing a new bill that changes or adds to the existing law. The bill must go through the same process as any other bill: it must be introduced, debated, voted on, and signed by the president (or overridden by a two-thirds vote of Congress if vetoed). Alternatively, Congress can amend a federal law by passing a joint resolution that proposes a constitutional amendment that affects the law. For instance, the 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors, which effectively amended all federal laws related to alcohol.
Amendments to Contracts
A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that outlines their rights and obligations. Contracts can be amended by mutual consent of the parties involved, or by operation of law in certain circumstances. Amendments to contracts can be made for various reasons, such as to reflect changed conditions, to correct errors, or to modify terms.
For example, two parties can amend a contract by signing a written document that specifies what changes they agree to make to the original contract. This document is called an amendment or an addendum. Alternatively, two parties can amend a contract by performing actions that imply their consent to change the original contract. This is called an implied amendment or a novation. For instance, if one party pays more than what was agreed in the contract and the other party accepts it without objection, they may have impliedly amended the contract to reflect the new payment amount.
Amendment Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster
AMENDMENT | English meaning – Cambridge Dictionary
List of amendments to the United States Constitution – Wikipedia