Weber State students learn about amending the Constitution

As a part of Weber State’s participation in Constitution week, students gathered at the Wildcat Theater on Wednesday to learn more about the way the Constitution has changed since it was first written in 1787.

The American Democracy Project, in coordination with the League of Women Voters, put on the event to discuss the Constitution amendment process.

Weber State political science professors Leah Murray and Richard Price led the discussion and held an open forum afterwards for people to ask about amendments and how they are passed.

Murray and Price agreed that the document was not perfect when it was first written and that congress first had to learn from their actions and then make changes to the law.

“Things are different now, but we need to understand how to do it the way that would benefit the whole society.” Terri McCulloch, president of the LWV, said.

Murray, also a member of the League of Women Voters, explained that the organization was formed during the women’s suffrage movement. Today, the Weber County Chapter of the LWV is working on a 27 page study about amending the Constitution, which tied in to the topics discussed at the event.

“When the founding fathers wrote the Constitution, ideas about equality were very different. At the time, only men who owned land could vote,” said Linda Mitchell, another member of the League of Women Voters.

Students listened intently as Murray and Price explained the process of amending the Constitution. The two professors took turns explaining the concept of needing two-thirds of the vote in order to amend or ratify the Constitution.

Murray listed all 27 amendments to the Constitution and explained some of their importance in the history of the country. She explained the process and makeup of all the amendments, clarifying that the first twelve amendments were proposed and ratified in the first 20 years of the creation of the government.

“So I submit to you that it is possible to believe that the founders intended us to change our document more often than we have,” said Murray.

Murray also mentioned that most of the people who were included in the process of creating the document were still alive and a part of the process when the Constitution was first amended.

Kierstin Pitcher, a Weber State student, was in attendance at the discussion as well. She believes that America, as a whole, needs to be aware of the choices that are made when referring to the Constitution instead of just handing over all the decision making to congress.

“If we’re not happy with the government (and) we’re not happy with the way our country is, we can change it. It is possible,” said Kierstin.