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Some Proposed Amendments

The Constitution is a living and evolving document. One of the ways that the Constitution is changed is through the amendment process. It can be an arduous process, requiring agreement by many different segments of society and the government, and it does not always work out. But it is the only way to make a permanent change to the Constitution. Changes in interpretation are common as time progresses, but only by having actual text added can a change be called a part of the Constitution.

In every session of Congress, hundreds of constitutional amendments are proposed. Almost never do any of them become actual Amendments. In fact, almost never do any of them even get out of committee.

According to a study by C-SPAN, this is a count of the number of amendments proposed in each of the sessions of Congress in the 1990's:

It is interesting to see the types of things our legislators want to do the Constitution. Proposed amendments are a reflection of the mood of the nation, or of a subset of the population.

These lists are simple bullets, not detailed examinations of the proposed amendments, the bills that carried them, or the process they went through. If a further examination is desired, a search of the Thomas database can be done.

Please note that some proposed amendments are proposed over and over again in different sessions of Congress. For the sake of brevity, I have used the 102nd Congress as a "baseline" and each subsequent Congress has only new ideas for amendments listed. Also note that just because a proposed amendment is not listed in prior sessions does not mean it was not proposed in prior sessions.

109th Congress (2005-2006)

108th Congress (2003-2004)

107th Congress (2001-2002)

106th Congress (1999-2000)

105th Congress (1997-1998)

104th Congress (1995-1996)

103rd Congress (1993-1994)

102nd Congress (1991-1992)


As an example of the tenacity of some ideas, the desire to repeal the 22nd Amendment is a very popular one. Using the Thomas database, we searched all the way back to the 99th Congress, which started in 1985, for proposals to repeal the 22nd. In 2005, there was a great deal of discussion, and derision, of a new proposal to repeal the 22nd. But the derision, certainly, was unwarranted. Every Congress since the 99th has had at least one proposal with the sole intent of repealing the 22nd. Other proposed amendments to otherwise affect the 22nd, such as replacing the two-term limit with a single six-year term, extend back to at least 1979's 96th Congress, but were not included in this list.


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