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  • When it was ratified in 1789,

    譯者: Helen Lin 審譯者: Max Chern

  • the U.S. Constitution didn't just institute a government by the people.

    當在 1789 年被批准時,

  • It provided a way for the people to alter the constitution itself.


  • And yet, of the nearly 11,000 amendments proposed in the centuries since,

    它也提供人民方法 可以修改憲法本身。

  • only 27 have succeeded as of 2016.

    然而數世紀以來, 將近 11,000 件提出的修正案,

  • So what is it that makes the Constitution so hard to change?

    截至 2016 年,只有 27 件獲得成功。

  • In short, its creators.


  • The founders of the United States were trying to create a unified country


  • from thirteen different colonies,

    美國創立者試圖將十三個不同殖民地 統一成一個國家,

  • which needed assurance that their agreements couldn't be easily undone.

    這須要確保他們的協定 不能輕易地被毀。

  • So here's what they decided.


  • For an amendment to even be proposed,


  • it must receive a two-thirds vote of approval

    就須在國會的參眾兩院 獲得 2/3 投票同意,

  • in both houses of Congress,

    或是來自 2/3 州議會的請求 召開全國會議,

  • or a request from two-thirds of state legislatures


  • to call a national convention,


  • and that's just the first step.

    修正案必須得到全部州的 3/4 認可,

  • To actually change the Constitution,

    要做到這點, 各州可在其議會投票表決這修正案,

  • the amendment must be ratified by three-quarters of all states.

    或是由選民選出代表 舉行各州的批准大會。

  • To do this, each state can either have its legislature vote on the amendment,


  • or it can hold a separate ratification convention


  • with delegates elected by voters.

    大多數其他民主國家 每隔幾年就會通過修正案,

  • The result of such high thresholds

    反過來看,美國從 1992 年起 未通過任何一案。

  • is that, today, the American Constitution is quite static.

    此刻,你可能會訝異 修正案到底怎麼通過的。

  • Most other democracies pass amendments every couple of years.

    前十個修正案,所謂的 權利法案(the Bill of Rights),

  • The U.S., on the other hand, hasn't passed one since 1992.

    包括一些美國最著名的自由 ──

  • At this point, you may wonder how any amendments managed to pass at all.


  • The first ten, known as the Bill of Rights,


  • includes some of America's most well-known freedoms,


  • such as the freedom of speech,


  • and the right to a fair trial.

    數年後,第十三修正案 ── 廢除奴隸制度,

  • These were passed all at once


  • to resolve some conflicts from the original Constitutional Convention.


  • Years later, the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery,

    當國家愈來愈大且更複雜時, 批准修正案也變得愈困難。

  • as well as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments,

    第一件提出的修正案 ──

  • only passed after a bloody civil war.


  • Ratifying amendments has also become harder

    於 1790 年代接近批准的邊緣,

  • as the country has grown larger and more diverse.


  • The first ever proposed amendment,

    達到 3/4 門檻需要的數目也增加,

  • a formula to assign congressional representatives,


  • was on the verge of ratification in the 1790s.

    今天,有許多 建議修正案 (suggested amendments),

  • However, as more and more states joined the union,


  • the number needed to reach the three-quarter mark increased as well,


  • leaving it unratified to this day.

    或甚至廢除 美國憲法第二修正案。

  • Today, there are many suggested amendments,

    有許多案雖獲得有力支持, 但通過的可能性極小。

  • including outlawing the burning of the flag,

    自內戰以來, 今日的美國人呈政治極端兩極化,

  • limiting congressional terms,


  • or even repealing the Second Amendment.

    事實上,前任最高法院大法官 安東寧•斯卡利亞

  • While many enjoy strong support, their likelihood of passing is slim.

    曾經計算過 由於美國的「代表制」的政府體制,

  • Americans today are the most politically polarized since the Civil War,

    少到只需 2% 的人口數 就能凍結一件修正案。

  • making it nearly impossible to reach a broad consensus.

    當然,最簡單的方法 就是讓憲法較易修正,

  • In fact, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia


  • once calculated that due to America's representative system of government,


  • it could take as little as 2% of the total population to block an amendment.

    然而,歷史性的進展 主要來自美國最高法院,

  • Of course, the simplest solution would be to make the Constitution easier to amend


  • by lowering the thresholds required for proposal and ratification.


  • That, however, would require its own amendment.

    不過考慮到 最高法院大法官並非民選,

  • Instead, historical progress has mainly come from the U.S. Supreme Court,


  • which has expanded its interpretation of existing constitutional laws


  • to keep up with the times.

    有趣的是創立者他們自己 可能很早就預見這個問題,

  • Considering that Supreme Court justices are unelected

    一封給 詹姆斯•麥迪遜 的信,

  • and serve for life once appointed,

    湯瑪斯•傑佛遜寫道 法律每 19 年就應該失效,

  • this is far from the most democratic option.


  • Interestingly, the founders themselves may have foreseen this problem early on.


  • In a letter to James Madison,


  • Thomas Jefferson wrote that laws should expire every 19 years


  • rather than having to be changed or repealed


  • since every political process is full of obstacles


  • that distort the will of the people.


  • Although he believed

    翻譯:Helen Lin

  • that the basic principles of the Constitution would endure,

  • he stressed that the Earth belongs to the living,

  • and not to the dead.

When it was ratified in 1789,

譯者: Helen Lin 審譯者: Max Chern


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B1 中級 中文 TED-Ed 修正案 憲法 門檻 美國 最高法院

美國憲法為什麼這麼難修改?- Peter Paccone (Why is the US Constitution so hard to amend? - Peter Paccone)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日