Originally Posted by Bob Maxey
The Constitution should never be thought of (and therefore it is not) as a "living, breathing document." As soon as you do, it becomes a worthless, dead document. That is the beauty of the document; it holds up even in today's world.
This is why it is so hard to change. The founders made it very, very hard to change for a good reason.
If people want a change, it can be changed, but that takes lots of effort. This is a good thing. Do we want the Constitution to be easy to change?
So no, it is not and should never be thought of as a living, breathing document.
FYI: To Propose Amendments
"In the U.S. Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate approve by a two-thirds supermajority vote, a joint resolution amending the Constitution. Amendments so approved do not require the signature of the President of the United States and are sent directly to the states for ratification.
Two-thirds of the state legislatures ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments. (This method has never been used.)
To Ratify Amendments
Three-fourths of the state legislatures approve it, or ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states approve it. This method has been used only once -- to ratify the 21st Amendment -- repealing Prohibition."
Ok.. apologies to anyone who thinks that i've taken this discussion off topic. If anyone DOES think that, and wants me to stop, all you need to do is say the word and i'll drop this line of discussion here (and we'll do it elsewhere if anyone is interested).
right... and back to the conversation.
Although amending or changing the constitution does require the major formalties, that you outlined, it can be argued that the constitution IS a 'living document' in the sense that its interpretation changes over time.
Certainly the Supreme Court sees its function in that light.
Originally Posted by Supreme Court of the United States
]The complex role of the Supreme Court in this system derives from its authority to invalidate legislation or executive actions which, in the Court's considered judgment, conflict with the Constitution. This power of "judicial review" has given the Court a crucial responsibility in assuring individual rights, as well as in maintaining a "living Constitution" whose broad provisions are continually applied to complicated new situations.
taken from http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/constitutional.aspx
my emphasis in bold...
Obvious examples include changes in what is considered to by the population as a "cruel and unusall" punishment in the 18th century compared to the 21st, along with changes in the separation of "church and state". I'm sure you can think of lot other (and better) examples.
The constitution has remained the same, but its interpretation has changed dramatically...