Constitutional Disuse or Desuetude: The Case of Article V

54 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2014 Last revised: 26 Jan 2015

See all articles by Richard Albert

Richard Albert

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law; Yale University - Law School; University of Toronto - Faculty of Law; Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho; Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law

Date Written: March 1, 2014

Abstract

Article V of the United States Constitution is in decline and disuse. Studies of comparative formal amendment difficulty, the decelerating pace of Article V amendments, and the relative infrequency of Article V amendments in the modern era – the most recent having been ratified roughly one generation ago, and the next-most recent a generation earlier – confirm the impression that Article V’s federalist supermajority requirements make the United States Constitution one of the world’s most difficult to amend formally. The consequence of formal amendment difficulty has been to reroute political actors pursuing constitutional change from formal to informal amendment. The attendant decline and disuse of Article V as a vehicle for constitutional amendment suggests that Article V may itself have changed informally. In this Article, I explore whether Article V has been informally amended by constitutional desuetude.

Keywords: Constitutional Amendment, Formal Amendment, Informal Amendment, Article V, Amendment Difficulty

Suggested Citation

Albert, Richard, Constitutional Disuse or Desuetude: The Case of Article V (March 1, 2014). 94 Boston University Law Review 1029 (2014), Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 327, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2461510

Richard Albert (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://law.utexas.edu/faculty/richard-albert

Yale University - Law School

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University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho

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Colombia

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uexternado.edu.co/derecho/

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.idc.ac.il/en/schools/law/pages/home.aspx

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