The Relevance of Constitutional Amendments: A Response to David Strauss

36 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2002 Last revised: 2 May 2008

See all articles by Brannon P. Denning

Brannon P. Denning

Samford University - Cumberland School of Law

John R. Vile

Middle Tennessee State University - Department of Political Science

Abstract

David Strauss recently argued that constitutional amendments are irrelevant, in the sense that American constitutional law would look very much like it does today, even if the Constitution had been ratified without a formal amendment mechanism like that found in Article V. We argue that Professor Strauss's main claims - that amendments are often neither necessary nor sufficient for producing constitutional change - while true, do not support his irrelevancy thesis. Moreover, we argue that the few benefits of formal constitutional amendments that he does concede are unduly minimized; and that he has overlooked several other benefits of formal constitutional amendments, which we describe.

Keywords: Constitution, constitutional amendment, Article V, Article Five, constitutional interpretation, Strauss, amendment process

JEL Classification: K100

Suggested Citation

Denning, Brannon P. and Vile, John R., The Relevance of Constitutional Amendments: A Response to David Strauss. Tulane Law Review, Vol. 77, p. 247, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=319702

Brannon P. Denning (Contact Author)

Samford University - Cumberland School of Law ( email )

800 Lakeshore Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States
205-726-2413 (Phone)
205-726-4060 (Fax)

John R. Vile

Middle Tennessee State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

P.O. Box 20
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
United States
615-898-2708 (Phone)

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