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"The transmission of such a price-list does not amount to an offer to supply an unlimited quantity of the wine described at the price named, so that as soon as an order is given there is a binding contract to supply that quantity. If it were so, the merchant might find himself involved in any number of contractual obligations to supply wine of a particular description which he would be quite unable to carry out, his stock of wine of that description being necessarily limited. I entertain, I confess, a very clear opinion that the Solicitor-General was quite right in arguing the case on the assumption that no sales were made in this country." Lord Herschell Just over one hundred years ago the above ratio-decendi was given in what was at the time a case concerned with alleged back taxes owed by Grainger & Son. Grainger & Son henceforth referred to as G&S were British wine merchants who as a side venture passed on the price lists of a French wine producer to their customers. G&S received a commission on any orders placed with said producer and paid tax on this commission. Gough claimed that tax was payable on the whole value of these sales not just the commission element. Monsieur Roederer henceforth Mr R was a wine producer located in France. He decided whether to accept orders the orders gathered by G&S or not. The reason for this being that the wine was shipped out ahead of any payment being received and Mr R wanted to vett his customers credit worthiness. The wine was shipped directly to the customer in the UK from France. Most customers settled their accounts directly with Mr R. A few customers instead made payment to G&S who would pass on to Mr R any amounts in excess of the commission they happened to be owed. In summary the flows of events are: Mr R, located in France, sends price list to G&S in Britain G&S distribute price list Customer places, for want a better word, an order with G&S for wine produced by Mr R G&S forward order to Mr R Mr R dispatches wine to customer Mr R dispatches bill for said customers wine to G&S for onwards transmission G&S forward bill to customer Customer sends payment to Mr R "“ occasionally made to G&S who forward this to Mr R Mr R sends receipt to customer G&S pay tax on commission received G&S maintained that they entered no contracts regarding Mr R's wine. Gough held the converse view that G&S entered contracts themselves and thus sold Mr R's wine. Our starting point must be to define what a contract under English law is. The Jurists Bentham and Austin have laid down that the "two main essentials of a contract are these: first, a signification by the promising party of his intention to do the acts or to observe the forbearances which he promises to do or to observe. Secondly, a signification by the promise that he expects the promising party will fulfil the proffered promise." More precisely to form a contract under English law the following elements are required i a valid offer has been proffered by the first party to another party or parties ii the offer has been accepted unchanged by the second party or parties and this has been communicated to the offerer . iii there is an intention by all parties to create legal relations when they entered into the contract and the parties have the capacity to contract iv the promises made within the contract are for valuable executive consideration and v the terms of the contract are certain. Did Mr R make an offer through the medium of his price list. Looking in Mozley and Whiteley"s Law dictionary an offer is "An expression of readiness to do something e.g. to purchase or sell". Mr R is saying that he is willing to sell wine. Based on this definition initial opinion would say that the price list does constitute an offer. Continuing with this line of thought G&S acted in an agency capacity for Mr R making an offer to the customers they approached and receiving the acceptance of any order. If the customers accepted G&S's offer made via the medium of the price list then Mr R merely shipped directly from France. The bills for said wine were sent to G&S who would then forward them on to the British customer. These points all suggest that the sale was made in the UK by G&S. The listing of Mr R, in the Post Office London Directory, as trading from G&S's establishment further hints at an agency type arrangement. Much of the argument supporting the invitation to treat viewpoint is by drawing analogies with cases involving auctions such as Payne v. Cave 1789 and Harris v. Nickerson 1873 in which both concluded that bidders make an offer which the auctioneer is free to accept or not. The bidder's offer being retractable until accepted by the auctioneer . The pricelist could be seen as statement of the minimum price at which Mr R would bewilling to sell wine drawing analogies with Harvey v Facey 1893. Mr R's supply of wine in any year is finite and demand could outstrip supply leaving an impossible back log of orders all demanding specific performance. Mr R could possibly, though extremely doubtfully, claim the defence of frustration as the things contracted for no longer exist. Add to this Mr R's option to reject any order makes it appear that his price list is an invitation to treat as otherwise it would be an offer that is subject to revocation without notice. Acceptance of an offer has to be communicated. At the time of this case, 1896, the only readily available methods of communication for distant parties were the postal system or telegram. The postal rule would apply to any customers acceptance sent via these mediums and hence any revocation of the offer would be impossible The final item to consider is the peculiar concept of consideration to be found in the English legal system and those derived from it The 1677 Statute of Frauds made consideration vital in any contracts not made under seal. G&S received no consideration for the wine therefore they could not be a party to the contract. [Transfer of title occurred only between Mr R and the customer]. That occasionally the payments for the wine were made to G&S instead of directly to Mr R was held to be equivalent to Mr R, for the sole convenience of his customers, operating a British bank account to receive payments. Graiger v. Gough was one of the major cases in the creation of the principle of invitation to treat. In order to explore this principle more fully the case will be re-examined as it occurred today. Once again the starting point is was the price list an offer or merely a willingness to deal. There are a number of variants on an invitation to treat these are: pre-contractional negotiations , shop displays and finally advertisements. G&S's supply of the price list to potential customers is a form of direct marketing and falls under the last of these three categories. To be classed as a unilateral offer the price list would have to show some intention to be bound by pro-offering a tangible benefit, in excess of sales puff, that could be accepted by performance rather than communication . Is there any similarity to Bowerman v. ABTA 1995 or Carhill v. Carbolic Smokeball Company 1892. If the answer to this is a negative then the next step is to determine where the act of offer & acceptance occurs. In a face to face situation such as a shop the customer offers to buy goods by presenting them at the till and the shop either accepts or rejects this offer to buy. The goods on the shelves are merely invitations to treat in keeping with the findings of Fisher v. Bell and Pharmaceutical Society of GB v. Boots Cash Chemists. The views of this in America and the European Community are slightly different. Although it seems odd that a shop would not want to sell its stock the English legal system is designed to achieve consistency even if it has to distort the persons actual intent. This produces oddities such as Partridge v. Crittenden 1968 where a newspaper advert to sell wild birds was found to be an invitation to treat not an offer to sell so the defendant escaped prosecution under the Protection of Birds Act 1954 . A key point in the original Graniger v. Gough was where was the contract made. Today the location of the act of contracting can be different depending on the mode of acceptance. The postal rule puts acceptance at the place of posting. Where both parties use a telex or nowadays facsimile machine the Court of Appeal decided in the case of Entores Ltd v. Miles Far East Corporation 1955 that the contract was entered into when and where the acceptance was received. Lord Denning confirmed, obiter" that the same principles also apply to acceptances by telephone. Answering machines and voice mail are assumed to at maximum delay receipt of the acceptance till the next working day rather than grant them an agent status capable of entering contracts. Faulty hardware, lack of link & paper or sloppy business practice, such as not checking the fax for days, does not stop or delay the acceptance of an offer. Public holidays and weekends however do delay acceptance till the next working day. E-mail contrary to popular belief is not always an instant form of communication. An e-mail may pass through a number of third parties networks & servers and could quite possibly be considerably delayed. Also the recipient has to actively retrieve their e-mail from their service providers or works mail server. The Uniform Laws on International Sales Act 1967 sets out that the acceptance of an offer becomes effective at the moment the indication of assent reaches the offeror . But is the offer accepted in the country of the readers computer or where the email server is hosted? If a person picked up the contents of their phones answer machine in a country different to that which said machine was in, where was the contract made. Within closed networks or Electronic Data Interchange systems mail delivery is more reliable and it may be possible to tag the e-mails so they generate a receipt message upon reaching their destination and upon being read. The EDI Trading Partner Agreements will also outline when acceptance takes place and which countries laws apply. If Mr R had a website that could receive customer orders would it be an invitation to treat or an electronic contracting agent ? A non-interactive site just listing his wines would most certainly be classed as an advert. This question is under consideration by may of the worlds legal minds. Unfortunately the Argos £2.99 television and recent Kodak £100 digital camera incident never made it to court so there is no precedent. The Kodak site took the customers order and issued an order confirmation which the customer was asked to retain for warranty service. Consumers would believe that having placed their order and given their credit card details and been told that the £100 will be charged to their card along with receiving an acknowledgement ,that their purchase has been made. This "clickwrap contract" is what the law calls a "contract of adhesion" -- a contract you didn"t really bargain over in any way, but which was presented as more of a take-it-or-leave-it offer . Kodak made such a bad bargain that everyone wanted to take it The only case on web based retail sales so far is American where the court stated "such an automated, ministerial act cannot constitute an acceptance" which does little to resolve the issue. As international web based commerce increases, instances similar to Gough v. Granger will become more common. Will the concept of invitation to treat expand outside of legal systems based around Anglo-American common law bringing some consistency to the dynamics of offer & acceptance or will the EU idea of its an offer until the stock runs out be adopted.
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"The transmission of such a price-list does not amount to an offer to supply an unlimited quantity of the wine described at the price named, so that as soon as an order is given there is a binding contract to supply that quantity. If it were so, the merchant might find himself involved in any number of contractual obligations to supply wine of a particular description which he would be quite unable to carry out, his stock of wine of that description being necessarily limited. I entertain, I confess, a very clear opinion that the Solicitor-General was quite right in...
bad bargain that everyone wanted to take it

The only case on web based retail sales so far is American where the court stated "such an automated, ministerial act cannot constitute an acceptance" which does little to resolve the issue.

As international web based commerce increases, instances similar to Gough v. Granger will become more common. Will the concept of invitation to treat expand outside of legal systems based around Anglo-American common law bringing some consistency to the dynamics of offer & acceptance or will the EU idea of its an offer until the stock runs out be adopted.

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The American with Disabilities... The American with Disabilities Act ADA of 1990 is considered a civil rights act because without its passage, the liberties of those with disabilities would be seriously violated or ignored. One of the major findings cited by Congress, which led to the passage of this act was: "historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem," ADA of 1990, Titles I &V. The fact that this act did not pass until 1990 is a clear indication that national policy makers themselves, for too long, failed those with disabilities. Not modifying the laws to provide those with disabilities a chance to compete with the so-called "normal," and in the act help themselves, amounted to irresponsibility and negligence on the part of past congress. The negligence of policy makers had significantly contributed to the ills of those with disabilities. Policy makers made laws that categorized the people into one group, fundamentally ignoring those in the disabled community. By rating the normal and disabled people the same"”as if the normal and disabled community had the same capability level"”something was fundamentally wrong. This type of policy making, which ignored the physical limitations of some members of our society, created both physical and psychological barriers in the disabled community. An earlier passage of this act would have ridded the disabled with many of society's ills or discriminatory practices, but that did not happen. I will have to call this action or inaction an intolerable negligence by the lawmakers. It was this congressional negligence that further empowered some heartless individuals in the government and in other sectors of the society to violate the rights of the disabled, essentially doing so with impunity. By not passing a clear law that protected the disabled community soon enough, other government institutions, such as the judiciary, made questionable decisions and in the acts treated people with disabilities as outcasts, and called for a permanent elimination or eradication of some disabled people from the face of the earth. In a 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v Bell, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes thought it best for society to seek to avoid "being swamped with incompetence," Selected Readings/Disabled in America p.13. Holmes thought it was even "better for all the world, if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind," p.13. Thoughts and acts like these made it extra hard for the disabled to maximize their potential; they were unable to contribute or participate fully or fairly into their society. Instead of giving the disability community the tools it needed to function within the society and possibly curved it reliance on the normal, the disabled were seen as being a threat to society's survival. Take analogy into account, the law said there will be no discrimination in the workplace; however, the same law did not open the workplace doors to all. As a result, the normal got to the employers and got the jobs; the disabled, with their physical, mental and other barriers were confined at the entrance because there was no access to buildings of interest. This was an act of discrimination because no access to employment and other places of interest, whether intentionally or unconsciously, weeded out people and those with disabilities were the victims when this act of screening completed. We now know that "the disability rights movement grew primarily out of personal experiences and the recognition that current quality of life was inadequate,"p.24. Discriminatory acts as well as other impurities toward the disabled community brought out civil rights activists. "As the numbers of persons with disabilities grew, and as they, their parents, organizations, and professionals worked to improve their lives, the attitudes manifest in Buck v. Bell came under attack: persons with disabilities, too, deserved to be part of society," p.15. This is another reason why the ADA is considered a civil rights law. Those who fought to have this law passed were seeking the rights of the disabled to exist; to be full, acceptable members of the society. The wanted the disabled to have the same opportunities as others. They wanted those disabled who could work despite their disabilities to be employed. They sought appropriate considerations and accommodations for people whose level of capability is not the same as general populace. Even though the rights were to be achieved sometimes by modifying existing laws, they were not special rights. They were equal rights because the modifications provided a level playing field for all to function within the society. They were not looking for special rights; they were seeking equal opportunity rights for all people in the society, rights which the disabled did not have for several decades. Some members of the disabled community did not want to be baby-sitted; they wanted to get out and get jobs so they can take care for their families. It was not good for those people with disabilities whose conditions did not prevent them from having gainful employment to be held in hospitals, nursing homes or other disabled institutions. In fact this was not the pest way to care for them. "The potential of persons with disabilities could not be realized simply by trying to 'rehabilitate' the individual," p. 25. Empowering them to help themselves, as opposed to providing total care, was the best way. So, instead of blaming the disabled for their total reliance on society, the right groups demanded that society look at itself in the mirror, so to say. The fault was not the individual's. The society was clearly at fault for failing to provide the necessary tools for the disabled to acquire some level of independent living. So, the ADA is largely a civil rights law because it has made it possible for those with disabilities to have equal, fair and just opportunity to fully participate in their society. It makes it possible for the potential of the disabled to be realized. It has provided a level playing field on which the so-called normal and people with disabilities can compete for opportunities within the society.   

The American with Disabilities Act ADA of 1990 is considered a civil rights act because without its passage, the liberties of those with disabilities would be seriously violated or ignored. One of the major findings cited by Congress, which led to the passage of this act was: "historically,...

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To what extent and why is...To what extent and why is the constitution very difficult to amend? The Constitution of the United States is highly unique and unlike many written constitutions, it has remained fundamentally unaltered since its ratification in 1789, and continues to exert itself as major source of authority on the political stage in the US. In effect, the first ten amendments were part of the original Constitution Settlement, thus in the last two hundred years there have been only seventeen amendments. Hence the question continuously arises amongst political academics as to why the Constitution has undergone such little significant change, and still is abided by even in today's highly converse political climate. The aim of this discussion will be to unearth the roots that hold the US Constitution so securely embedded into the soil of American political culture. I shall begin by briefly accounting for the construction of the Constitution and explain the necessary history that may fit into the argument in terms of explaining how the framers intended the document to be treated by future Americans, and what necessary precautions they took in avoiding an unfavourable future for the country. I shall then explore the document itself and try to find elements that make the Constitution difficult to amend, whilst looking at the actual amendments that have been undertaken since the original ratification of the document itself in 1789. I shall present the evidence discovered and relate it to the discussion continuously throughout the analysis and then follow up with a conclusion on whether the essay has sufficiently proven the difficulty of amending the Constitution and to what extent it might be so. I shall commence by providing an historical overlook of the how the Constitution was formed, as without this, a further probe into the question would leave the argument without foundation. It must be noted how different the environment the constitution was born out of was from so many Western counterparts who also have a written constitution. To start with, the American Revolution was different to any other significant revolution of late as by definition it was not a revolution at all. This was mainly because the majority of the citizens in the thirteen colonies called themselves "true born Englishmen" and simply defied the monarchical power exercised over them McKay, 2001. Already this highlights the potential difference of the basis of American culture from that of its European relatives, which will further show in later discussion of the Constitution's framework just how difficult the Constitution is to amend. Not only was it the strict monarchical power implementing stringent laws upon the colonists that caused them to react, it was also the rapid spread of ideas and influences of esteemed social contract theorists such as Locke and Rousseau. They promoted the idea that men possessed certain inalienable rights which fused effortlessly with the colonial spirit of independence and liberty. It was this along with the desire for a federal system, the lack of a central government that intervened heavily into the affairs of its people, and the notion of representation that became the driving force of adopting the Constitution. Five years after the Declaration of Independence was signed by Continental Congress in 1776, the colonists successfully fought off the British and under the Articles of Confederation adopted a new system of government. It was, however, nothing more than a formal recognition of Continental Congress McKay, 2001. It was believed by many other major players in the world stage that such a system that was lacking a real leader, and that was in essence quite weak, would not endure the imminent problems facing the new nation. In Philadelphia, in the summer of 1785, fifty-five delegates arrived with the task of attempting to create a constitution for the United States. A key issue in the framing of the Constitution was the system of representative government. It was widely accepted that a representative government bears the banner of majority rule, whilst subsequently implying the existence of limits to democracy. Many academics today believe that Founding Fathers' acceptance of this was a huge strain on the existence of a democratic government. They were not without reason, though, it was tyranny of the majority that they feared. An elective despotism was not the government we fought for... Thomas Jefferson Federalism was also high on the agenda for the Founding Fathers; they were aware also, of the risk of concentrating too much power in any one branch of government and thus the separation of powers ensured that this would never happen. A system of checks and balances would be introduced to further reinforce the ideas of federalism and the separation of powers; an example of which is where in order for a bill to be passed both houses must approve it, and furthermore the President can veto it. Congress can then override that veto if a two-thirds majority votes accordingly. This is a clear example of the intentions the framers had of causing difficulty in changing the laws of the newly created nation. It must be noted however, that not all of the states were in accordance of the Constitution; intense opposition was encountered from the other six states where the Anti-Federalists feared a "federal colossus" Spaeth, 1991. After the eventual ratification of the document, ten amendments were immediately implemented to fulfil the promise to the Anti-Federalists by the Federalists to ensure the Constitution was more democratic, which, once ratified by the states in 1791, became the Bill of Rights. These originate not only from English and Colonial experience, but also from political experience and thought from the revolutionary and confederation periods. From the framing process, it has become apparent how carefully the Founding Fathers were treading. Although no cast iron evidence demonstrating the difficulty of amending the Constitution has yet been discussed, I have illustrated the attitude the framers had at the time of and before creating the Constitution which I believe helps solidly pave the way towards the subsequent area of discussion. It is necessary first, to explain how the constitution may be formally amended. It is article V that lays out the formal amendment process and it dictates: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on application of legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid"¦when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress The amendment process of the Constitution was intentionally rendered difficult. "Supermajorities" are what the Constitution effectively relies upon Ashbee, 1999. Ashbee explains that these supermajorities are a two thirds majority or a three fourths majority, unlike the conventional majority which can be anything over half the amount of the total. As the constitution has previously stated, an amendment must be proposed either by a two thirds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, or by a Constitutional Convention the likes of which has not happened since the actual framing of the constitution itself to which two thirds of the state legislatures would be required to convene. With a Constitutional Convention, however, there is the possibility that an entire restructuring of the government might occur. Cummings 1977 noted that Several Senators and legal scholars after the Republican Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois encouraged a Constitutional Convention to overturn the Supreme Court's "one person, one vote", believed that a Constitutional Convention could get out of hand and cause extensive changes in the construction of the federal government due to the fact that there is no standard for the agenda setting of a convention. This was also the case in 1985, when a convention to forbid the government from operating a deficit budget was 2 votes short. The framers, then, knowing possibly that this would be the most difficult method of Constitutional amendment, may well have felt that a serious change in government may sometimes be necessary, though it must be kept infrequent in order to maintain the stable government they had worked so hard for. After the proposal stage, the ratification stage needs to be completed in order for the amendment to be adopted by the constitution in full. To illustrate how difficult the ratification stage is to pass, the fact that other than the first ten amendments only 17 amendments have been ratified since the constitution itself was ratified over 215 years ago. To further reiterate the complex and stubborn nature of the amendment process, an amendment at ratification stage must then be approved by three fourths of the state legislatures in three fourths of the states, so an amendment can therefore be blocked by one fourth of the states plus one more, or thirteen states Dahl, 2002. After having investigated the formal amendment method stated in the Constitution itself, it has become evident that the Founding Fathers were clearly trying to avoid substantial changes being undertaken on the constitution. The method in which an amendment can be achieved somewhat guarantees that it is agreed to by a "supermajority" and as Congress at the time is not directly elected by the people is in theory a "qualified majority", thus ridding the framers of their fear of a tyranny by majority. The historical relevance of the Constitution, a detailed look into the actual amendment process as pointed out by the document itself and an insight into the reason why the Constitution was crafted the way it is have all been looked into in order that this discussion has created itself a strong grounding. I shall now begin to probe some of the arguments providing reasons as to why the Constitution is so difficult to amend. Firstly, the proposal of amendments has been a highly challenging task, the only method to date that has proven successful, has been that of receiving a two thirds majority from both the upper and lower houses of Congress. Hodder Williams 2003 believes the reason behind this is twofold. He explains firstly, that few years have existed in which any party have enjoyed a two thirds majority in both houses of Congress at the same time. Looking at the extremely close nature of the two-way party politics of the US political climate today, it is evident that this could never be a reality in the foreseeable future. The second reason that he believes may explain why the proposal of amendments have been so easily prevented is that American leaders of today feel that amendments should only be successful under very special circumstances. This historically proves sound, and within the success the Constitution has enjoyed is certainly a wise and prudent move from the leaders. However, as pointed out by Cummings 1977 earlier, a Constitutional Convention could lead to a mass reformation of the entire document, ridding it off all stability and could even perhaps lead to its downfall. A striking piece of evidence that solidifies the argument that the Constitution is difficult to amend is that of the highly disputed Equal Rights Amendment. Many academics McKay, 2002; Hodder-Williams, 2003; Ashbee 1999; Cummings 1977 have all used this as a tool to demonstrate the difficulty of formally amending the US Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment states that: Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex This amendment was initially given a seven year time period in which to be extended which was eventually extended a further three years. After its extension, insufficient states ratified and the amendment eventually fell. This amendment fell, it is said, as it was feared that women may have to take up combat positions in battle. It was a mere three short of ratification. Perhaps another reason for the difficulty of amendment is the ambiguity of the document itself. It must be noted that McKay 2001 felt that in order for a constitution to be successful and durable, it must not be too precise. He continues: "No constitution can elaborate the precise relationship between institutions and political forces; if it attempts to do so, it runs the danger of being ignored". Thus, in order for a constitution to remain valued, a certain flexibility and openness to varying interpretations must be retained, and the language used in the document must be cautiously and shrewdly implemented. The flexibility of the Constitution although written, can be equally as flexible to that of the unwritten British constitution which has survived and remained the "law of the land" for centuries Hodder-Williams, 2003. Following the notion of ambiguity is the idea of reinterpretation. It is widely believed that the constitution has a very different meaning and a massively different impact than it did when it was first ratified. This is because of the continual development of American society and its economy, rather than the wording of the Constitution. A major player in this argument according to many critics is the Supreme Court. Hodder-Williams 2003 explains: The simple answer is that the justices of the Supreme Court, in the process of dealing with cases brought to them, refine the meanings of particular phrases and words in a way which affects the political structure or the rights of individuals, as the case may be. In article I, section 8, the Constitution indicates several policy areas in which the power of Congress is required to operate. The fact of the matter is some grants of power are all but precise and require an answer from the Supreme Court, whereas some require none due to their clarity. It must be noted at this stage that the Supreme Court is "the highest court deciding litigation generated by disputes over the meaning of the constitution" Hodder-Williams, 2003. This exemplifies the fact that the Constitution, although written, is still open to reinterpretation and this reinterpretation is ultimately the decision of the Supreme Court. Dahl 2002 claims: "¦the authority of the Supreme Court to overrule laws and policies that, in its view, violate the Constitution has become a widely accepted part of our unwritten constitution since 1803, when the Supreme Court first claimed that authority The first amendment of the constitution is another area that commentators discuss concerning the Constitution. In terms of its interpretation, the provisions of the first amendment have been treated by the Supreme Court as more fundamental than other parts. They have been considered by a few justices to be virtually absolute, construing the amendments language literally Spaeth, 1991. Hodder-Williams 2003 says that the first amendment of the constitution in being the exact definition of an individual's rights starts: "Congress shall make no law"¦", but the following eight amendments commence in all but the same way. These assertions of rights were generally held to be constraints on the much feared power of the new central government. The Supreme Court is likely to remain the unelected policy-making body that it has been since 1803 Dahl, 2002. The actual amendments to the Constitution must also be addressed, as these will provide an insight into what sort of amendments, if any, do actually pass. The aforementioned first amendment limits the action of government and recognises liberties. When examining the constitution, it is clear that voting is a key issue, the Constitution has been amended four times to accommodate for a more democratic system of voting. Generally summed up, these amendments incorporated for new votes in terms of race the fifteenth, women the nineteenth, citizens of Washington DC the twenty third and over eighteens the twenty sixth. Another issue taking up centre stage on the Constitutional amendment agenda was rights. The extension of civil rights by abolishing slavery the thirteenth amendment, and the assertion that all citizens were entitled to the equal protection of the laws the fourteenth amendment additionally reinforce the idea that furthering the democratic element of the Constitution is a good reason for amendment. As discussed earlier, it is extremely difficult to amend the constitution formally; hence this proves that the advancement of democracy and the extension of civil rights are areas where the Constitution is willing to accommodate change. Having examined these crucial facts and having reached this point of the discussion, I feel that a conclusion is necessary. I shall firstly say that we must first look at the fact that the Constitution has survived so long without the wording being changed as a significant player in the difficult of amending it. If the system that is in place is performing satisfactorily, then why is there any need to change it? The framers certainly created a well structured and well thought out system, but there are certain elements that they could not have foreseen. Thus, there are areas in the Constitution where they have allowed for a continuously changing society. However, it is only significant changes such as the abolition of slavery and the allowing of women to vote for example, that have been able to actually become ratified. Many of the less significant, but still important changes in modern society, have simply been informally changed and reinterpreted through the judgements of the Supreme Court. This has proven the somewhat flexible nature of the document. However, it is only flexible within certain ideological and political boundaries. The justices of the Supreme Court, being the body that makes the adjustments to the modern day are, the select few that there are, ultimately responsible for the interpretation of the Constitution outside the formal amendment process. The Constitution is to a great extent, difficult to amend formally, but previous discussion shows that the informal and flexible interpretation of the Constitution is to a less extent, difficult to amend. However successful the American Constitutional system, it is unique and was set up, after all, in the need change. The country itself was established in unique circumstances, and the American Constitution will remain to be unique next to those of other Western democracies. I shall finish this discussion Robert Dahl noted in Scialabba, 2002: Among the countries most comparable to the United States"¦and where democratic institutions have long existed without breakdown, not one has adopted our American Constitutional system.   

To what extent and why is the constitution very difficult to amend? The Constitution of the United States is highly unique and unlike many written constitutions, it has remained fundamentally unaltered since its ratification in 1789, and continues to exert itself as major source of authority on the political...

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