What It Means to Ratification

What It Means to Ratification

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What It Means to Ratification

The core “check” applied to the Constitutional Amendment
process provided by Article Five is the process of ratification.  The key
element of ratification is that it gives the states direct influence over the
implementation of a Constitutional change or
Amendment. 
In every form of federal law, states have, at best an indirect means of
influencing policy. 

Federal statutes are decided by Congress, whose members are
elected on the
State level, but while in office, operate
without direct oversight o
ver the State
governments.  Federal administrative laws are proposed by agencies
empowered by Congress, giving states even less influence over that process. Due
to the overall importance of Constitutional
Amendments,
which are the laws by which all other laws in the country must answer to, the
states are allowed to play the vital role in the ratification of these
laws. 

What ratification specifically is the means by
which a proposed
Amendment is legislated into being.  It
is similar to the President signing a bill into law or vetoing it, save that
the Congress lacks the power to override a
State
rejection of an Amendment.  Ratification works as such: when an
Amendment
(changes to the Constitution do not always have to take the form of an
Amendment,
which is a codicil to the document itself, but they have always taken this
form) is proposed by either a two-thirds vote of both the Senate and the House
of Representatives or a specially convened Constitutional Convention (which has
never actually happened under Article Five), then it goes to the states for
approval. 

For an Amendment to be approved, or ratified, it must
pass by a three
-fourths vote in all individual State
legislatures.  By current standards, that means all but twelve states have
to approve the
Amendment. 

If it passes in the legislatures of three-fourths of all
states, then it is ratified.  If it does not, the proposal remains active
for a seven
year
period, during which legislatures are allowed to vote and re-vote for
ratification if they so choose.  After this seven
year
period, the
Amendment
is officially supposed to “die.” There have been instances where
Congress has tried to extend the period for a bill, but the legitimacy of this
practice has been questioned, and has still yet to face
 judicial
review
.  

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