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Constitutional FAQ Answer #124

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Q124. "If a proposed amendment violates the Constitution, should the Supreme Court be able to block its ratification?"

A. With only one exception, an amendment to the Constitution cannot, by definition, violate the Constitution. Think it through: assume for a moment that an amendment to remove freedom of speech was ratified by the states. The amendment violates the concept of free speech embodied in the 1st Amendment, for sure. A law doing the same thing would be unconstitutional. However, since we are not talking about a law, but instead an amendment, the effect would be to negate or nullify the free speech protections. The new amendment, as a duly ratified amendment, becomes a part of the Constitution. The Supreme Court would have no power to remove the amendment, and would, in fact, have to abide by it.

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