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Is The US Constitution Too Rigid To Be Effective?

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Introduction

Is The US Constitution Too Rigid To Be Effective? The United States Constitution has served as a vital framework for the government and as a guarantee of the individual freedoms of US citizens since 1788, but from its creation, people have had ideas on how to improve this fundamental document. The vast majority of these ideas have been unsuccessful due to the rigid nature of the Constitution and the lengthy process involved when trying to amend it. Whether or not the inflexible nature of the constitution is an advantage or disadvantage is debatable as there are arguments that suggest the Constitution is made ineffective since it is so hard to change but also points arguing otherwise. Within 18 months of the Constitutions creation, the Bill of Rights was passed, adding 10 amendments to the brand new document. From 1789 to 1992, the Constitution was amended 27 times, and through judicial review, the meaning of various parts of the Constitution has changed many times. ...read more.

Middle

This method has been used only once; to ratify the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition. The Supreme Court has also stated that ratification must be within "some reasonable time after the proposal." Beginning with the 18th amendment, it has been customary for Congress to set a definite period for ratification. In the case of the 18th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd amendments, the period set was 7 years, but there has been no determination as to just how long a "reasonable time" might extend. This long period of time taken to get proposals through the systems in place and time taken to ratify means that proposals rarely make any headway and the moment of their need has often passed by the time they are through Congress. This suggests that the system is too rigid to be effective as the time taken to get things done is ridiculous and often defeats the purpose of the amendment. Another problem with the inflexibility of the Constitution is due to the way it sets out how checks and balances operate. ...read more.

Conclusion

It can be argued that Americans have done well and that their constitution has been successful in both protecting their rights as well as providing the backbone for the 'beacon on the hill' nation that the US has become. The long amendment process has been able to prevent short-term political changes and instead people can rely on the Supreme Court to change their interpretation to match the times, allowing the Constitution to remain up to date. For example the Roper vs. Simmons in which the Supreme Court decided that there should be no death penalty for under 18's and deemed it unconstitutional to do so. The vagueness of the Constitution seems to combat its rigidness, as it is so vague that it can have many different interpretations, which, as mentioned earlier, allow the Supreme Court to keep it up to date with modern interpretation. This also allows different states to hold laws different to their neighbouring states such as policies on same sex marriages, capital punishment and gun laws. This means that states can accommodate the different needs of their people through initiatives/referendums. ...read more.

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