Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Role of the States in the Amendment Process - Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government
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The Role of the States in the Amendment Process - James McClellan, Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government 
Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).
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The Role of the States in the Amendment Process
This brings us finally to Article V, which prescribes the method for amending the Constitution. Here the States play a crucial role because no formal change of the Constitution is possible without their assent. The States have the right under Article V to initiate amendments and approve their adoption. An amendment can be proposed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or by a national convention called by Congress at the request of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States. Every amendment added thus far to the Constitution, however, was proposed by Congress. The Constitution asserts that, in the event the States call for a convention, Congress “shall” do so. But there is no way to force Congress to act, and it would seem in this instance—as in many others—that the Framers relied upon the good faith of Congress for the observance of this requirement.
Once an amendment has been proposed, it must be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States or by a special convention of three-fourths of the States. Congress decides which method of ratification is to be used. Except for the Twenty-First Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth, every amendment has been ratified by the State legislatures.
From the foregoing discussion, it may be seen that the States occupy a commanding position respecting the amendment process. They have the final say on whether the Constitution shall be amended. In this respect, they exercise sovereignty over the nation. This not only affords them an opportunity to protect their interests, but also serves as an ultimate check on the powers of the Federal government. Some amendments, in fact, have nullified decisions of the Supreme Court. For these reasons Article V of the Constitution is regarded as the arch of federalism—the provision that strengthens the States and protects them from being swallowed up by the Federal government. The American republic is a democratic republic because it is based on government by the people. But the people govern through their States, not en masse. In this sense they share sovereignty with the States. The American republic is therefore both a democratic republic and a federal republic.