What is Article 5 of the Constitution?
Article 5 of the United States Constitution is the article about how the United States Constitution can be changed. The only way to change the constitution is by adding an amendment.
How is Article 5 Broken Down?
While other Articles of the Constitution are broken down into sections and clauses, Article 5 of the United States Constitution is just one paragraph.
Text of Article 5 of the Constitution
The text of Article 5 is the following:
” The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate. ”
How Does Article 5 Let Congress Change the Constitution?
If Congress thinks it is necessary to change the Constitution, at least two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have to propose an Amendment to the Constitution. In order to do this, Congress has to call an Article 5 Convention or an Amendments Convention. During this process, the President of the United States cannot do anything to help or stop the process.
Ratifying an Amendment under Article 5
After an amendment is officially proposed, it must then be ratified, or approved on, by the legislatures of at least 75% of the states. Once enough of the states ratify the amendment, it becomes law in all of the states. Sometimes, a state will ratify an amendment that has been already passed as a symbol of how important the amendment is. For example, every state ratified the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery.
Even though Article 5 does not specifically say how long the state legislatures have to ratify an amendment, Congress can give a deadline if they want to.