Livermore V. Waite - Opinion


The constitution can be changed in two methods, a revision to the constitution by delegates in a convention with the purpose of revising the entire document, in which the limitations are set only by the United States Constitution.

The second is by adoption by the people of more limited amendments that have been passed two-third majority of the legislature.

The court provided a definition under Article XVIII of an amendment and a revision:

The very term "constitution" implies an instrument of a permanent and abiding nature, and the provisions contained therein for its revision indicate the will of the people that the underlying principles upon which it rests, as well as the substantial entirety of the instrument, shall be of a like permanent and abiding nature. On the other hand, the significance of the term "amendment" implies such an addition or change within the lines of the original instrument as will effect an improvement, or better carry out the purpose for which it was framed.

The court decided that by making the amendment conditional pending the approval was of the new location of the capital by the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, their votes superseded the vote of the people, and that in effect, the vote of the people would was simply a manner in which to send it to a higher power for approval. This amendment would not become operational on popular approval, but on conditions not specified there. This meant that the proposition was not passed in accordance with either method in the Constitution for amendment or revision, therefore rendering it unconstitutional.

Read more about this topic:  Livermore V. Waite

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