Following the January 2016 meeting, the League of Women
Voters board announced a new position outlining considerations
for evaluating constitutional amendment proposals.
State Leagues can use this new position, as well as
the new position calling for safeguards to govern the constitutional
convention process, to address the ongoing debates
in many legislatures regarding constitutional conventions,
in particular as they related to the Balanced Budget
THE LEAGUE’S POSITION
The League of Women Voters will only support a proposed
amendment to the U.S. Constitution if it advances
and conforms to a LWVUS position.
In addition, the League believes the following should
be considered in identifying an appropriate and wellcrafted
- Whether the public policy objective addresses matters
of such acute and abiding importance that the
fundamental charter of our nation must be
changed. Amendments are changes to a document
that provides stability to our system and should be
undertaken to address extreme problems or longterm
- Whether the amendment as written would be effective
in achieving its policy objective. Amendments
that may be unenforceable, miss the objective, or
have unintended consequences may not achieve the
- Whether the amendment would either make our
political system more democratic or protect individual
rights. Most adopted amendments have
sought to make our system more representative or
to protect the rights of minorities.
- Whether the public policy objective can be
achieved by a legislative or political approach that
is less difficult than a constitutional amendment.
In order to expend resources wisely, it is important
to consider whether legislation or political action is
more likely to succeed than an amendment.
- Whether the public policy objective is more suited
to a constitutional and general approach than to a
statutory and detailed approach. It is important to
consider whether the goal can best be achieved by
an overall value statement, which will be interpreted
by the courts, or with specific statutory detail
to resolve important issues and reduce ambiguity.
Statement of Position on Evaluating Constitutional
Amendment Proposals, as Announced by National Board,